Each of the book's five chapters evokes a colonial Mexican cultural and intellectual sphere: the library, anatomy and medicine, spirituality, classical learning, and publishing and printing. Using an array of literary texts and historical documents and alongside secondary historical and critical materials, the author Stephanie Kirk demonstrates how Sor Juana used her poetry and other works to inscribe herself within the discourses associated with these cultural institutions and discursive spheres and thus challenge the male exclusivity of their precepts and precincts. Kirk illustrates how Sor Juana subverted the masculine character of erudition, writing herself into an all-male community of scholars. From there, Sor Juana clearly questions the gender politics at play in her exclusion, and undermines what seems to be the inextricable link previously forged between masculinity and institutional knowledge. Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz and the Gender Politics of Knowledge in Colonial Mexico opens up new readings of her texts through the lens of cultural and intellectual history and material culture in order to shed light on the production of knowledge in the seventeenth-century colonial Mexican society of which she was both a product and an anomaly.
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