In the long nineteenth century, Argentine and Cuban reformers invited white women from the United States to train teachers as replacements for their countries’ supposedly unfit mothers. Imperial Educación examines representations of mixed-race Afro-descended mothers in literary and educational texts from the Americas during an era in which governing elites were invested in reproducing European cultural values in their countries’ citizens.

Thomas Genova analyzes the racialized figure of the republican mother in nineteenth-century literary texts in North and South America and the Caribbean, highlighting the ways in which these works question the capacity of Afro-descended women to raise good republican citizens for the newly formed New World nation-states. Considering the work of canonical and noncanonical authors alike, Genova asks how the allegory of the national family—omnipresent in the nationalist discourses of the Americas—reconciles itself to the race hierarchies upon which New World slave and postslavery societies are built. This innovative study is the first book to consider the hemispheric relations between race, republican motherhood, and public education by triangulating the nation-building processes of Cuba and Argentina through U.S. empire.

New World Studies

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