The book focuses on the different ways male authorities, as well as female subjects, conceived the female body as deeply connected to notions of what constituted a useful or deviant citizen within the Viceroyalty. Using eighteenth-century legal documents, illustrated chronicles, religious texts, and newspapers, Meléndez explores in depth the representation of the female body in periods of political, economic, and religious transformation to determine how it was conceived within certain contexts.
Deviant and Useful Citizens presents a highly complex society that relied on representations of utility and productivity to understand the female body, as it reveals the surprisingly large stake that colonial authorities had in defining the status of women during a crucial time in South American history.
Melendez's book is definitely interesting, creatively researched, and clearly written.
"The writing is clear despite the complexity of the subject and should appeal to Andeanists, colonialists, and women and gender scholars."
--Hispanic American Historical Review
"Melendez offers important information about and insight into issues about women and gender in eighteenth-century Peru"
--Magali Carrera, University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, author of Imagining Identity in New Spain ~Magali Carrera