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  • Bathing and Domination in the Early Modern Atlantic World

    Casey Walsh

    Chapter from the book: Walsh, C. 2018. Virtuous Waters: Mineral Springs, Bathing, and Infrastructure in Mexico.


    At the close of the Reconquista, ascendant Christians in Spain attacked Jewish and Arab institutions and practices of bathing, especially the hammam (sweatbath) driving the bath out of sight in the sixteenth century. Conquering Spaniards brought this deep hostility toward bathing to bear on the American sweatbath (temazcal), which was an important site for social, therapeutic, sexual, and religious activities. Despite this effort, by 1700, immersion bathing and the temazcal were widely used among all social groups for the efficacy of their waters. This chapter shows how this colonial-period water culture was shaped by hierarchical fields of power, notions of bodily difference, and inequality in access and property.

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    Walsh, C. 2018. Bathing and Domination in the Early Modern Atlantic World. In: Walsh, C, Virtuous Waters. California: University of California Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1525/luminos.48.b

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    Published on March 9, 2018