Intimate Economies: The Monetization of Ayoreo Women's Sexuality in the Mennonite Colonies of Paraguay's Chaco Region

Paola Canova, Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology and Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies, University of Texas, Austin.

Colloquium, SAR Boardroom

Wednesday, July 8, 2015, 12:00–1:00 pm, Free

Paola CanovaPaola CanovaPhoto courtesy of Juan Carlos Duarte.

Locals in Filadelfia, the urban center of the Mennonite Colonies in western Paraguay, see the public presence of indigenous Ayoreo “sex workers” as a moral stain and a major social problem. In this presentation Dr. Canova discusses the meanings of these monetized sexual liaisons in the context of Ayoreo engagement with Christianity and the market economy to explore how they have shaped the cultural production of gender and sexuality as well as notions of exchange and the commoditization of bodies. She shows how the monetization of women's sexuality is not perceived as morally fraught by Ayoreo as it continues to be embedded in customary systems of exchange, which have survived despite five decades of intense Christianization.

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