Analyzing a wide variety of late-nineteenth-century sources, Sex, Skulls, and Citizens: Gender and Racial Science in Argentina (1860-1910)
(Vanderbilt University Press, 2020) argues that Argentine scientific projects of the era were not just racial encounters, but were also conditioned by sexual relationships in all their messy, physical reality.
The writers studied here (an eclectic group of scientists, anthropologists, and novelists, including Estanislao Zeballos, Lucio and Eduarda Mansilla, Ramón Lista, and Florence Dixie reflect on Indigenous sexual practices, analyze the advisability and effects of interracial sex, and use the language of desire to narrate encounters with Indigenous peoples as they try to scientifically pinpoint Argentina's racial identity and future potential.
Kerr's reach extends into history of science, literary studies, and history of anthropology, illuminating a scholarly time and place in which the lines betwixt were much blurrier, if they existed at all.
Ashley E. Kerr
is Assistant Professor of Spanish and Latin American Studies at the University of Idaho.
Candela Marini is an Assistant Professor of Cultural Studies and Spanish at MSOE University. You can tweet her and suggest books at @MariniCandela