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Historian publishes book on indigenous women in colonial Peru

Author: Arts and Letters


Karen Graubart, associate professor of history at the University of Notre Dame, examines the roles played by indigenous women in the early years of Spanish colonization of Peru in a new book published by Stanford University Press.

In “With Our Labor and Sweat: Indigenous Women and the Formation of Colonial Society in Peru, 1550-1700,” Graubart discusses changes in the working lives of the women and how their identity as “Indians” as well as women was shaped in a multicultural society. The book examines how the early colonial period witnessed a dramatic upheaval in the women’s lives, from their utilization of colonial law to seek restitution, to their creation of urban dress styles that reflected their new positions as consumers and as producers under Spanish rule.

Graubart provides a thorough picture of this transformational period by using wills and other notarial and legal documents and analyzing migration from rural to urban areas.

A new member of the Notre Dame faculty, Graubart most recently was an assistant professor of history at Cornell University and served as a visiting lecturer at the University of Massachusetts. She currently is working on a study of inter-confessional and inter-ethnic relations between Seville, Spain, and Lima, Peru, in the 15th and 16th centuries.

Contact: Karen Graubart, 574-631-0377,

Originally published by Shannon Chapla at on August 31, 2007.