chapter  8
27 Pages

Constituting the Subject: Race, Gender, and Nation in the Early Nineteenth Century

BySusan Kirkpatrick

This chapter focuses on the liberal discourse that justified and motivated Spain's uneven journey toward a liberal state and explores how it drew the lines of exclusion noted by Carolina Coronado when she declares that women were not part of the nation. Unlike the constitutional discourse of the early nineteenth century, which focused on race as the most troubling difference among national subjects, the difference that preoccupies midcentury literary representation is gender. The divergent positions adopted by delegates on the issue of race reflected multiple political tensions. The political national subject is less characterized, more abstract, and this remains true of all the succeeding constitutions. In dona Ines the nature and the powers of the feminine subject of postabsolutist Spanish society are set forth—not in the language of political theory or argumentation, but in the language of imagination, poetry, and symbolic performance.