Lecture with Nanovic Graduate Fellow Valeria Mora-Hernandez: "Another Lecture on Lockdowns: Enclosure and Domestic Violence in María de Zayas’s 'Innocence Punished' (1647)"


Location: Online

Valeria Mora Hernandez, Ph.D.


Another Lecture on Lockdowns: Enclosure and Domestic Violence in María de Zayas’s Innocence Punished (1647)

Since March of 2020, multiple academic and non-academic sources have looked back to sources from the late-Medieval period for advice on how to better navigate the lockdowns required by the novel Coronavirus. Many of these sources, however, have forgotten to mention one of the many issues that comes with confinement: domestic violence. Seventeenth-century Spanish writer, María de Zayas y Sotomayor, however, understood confinement and domestic violence as a response to another sort of disease: women’s dishonoring. This lecture explores the connections between enclosure and domestic violence in Zayas’s fifth disenchantment, Innocence Punished, which was published in 1647 as part of her collection Second Part of the Soirée and Decorous Entertainment. In this story, the protagonist not only suffers isolation as a way to protect her chastity but she is also immured after this measure fails and she has been raped on multiple occasions while her husband is away. In my reading of this novel, I argue that Zayas’s story portraits the failures of confinement and domestic space as a method to preserve women’s chastity and protect them from violence. As for all the women who experienced an increase in domestic violence cases during 2020, Zayas’s disenchantment shows that the major dangers can often be found at home. 

Valeria Mora-Hernández completed her Ph.D. in Spanish in April, 2021. Her doctoral dissertation focuses on the connections between violence and the process of constructing self-identity in texts by authors such as Cervantes, Zayas and Quevedo. Dr. Mora-Hernández's research is a response, an attempt to understand violence in contemporary Spain by looking at its past through the representations of violence and identity in Early Modern Spanish Literature. Her research also provides an opportunity to reflect on topics such as marriage, gender, and body representations in both Early Modern and contemporary Spain. During the Fall 2020, she is teaching a new course inspired by her doctoral research titled: Gender, Identity and Violence (ROSP30726). She obtained her bachelor’s and master's degrees in Hispanic literature and linguistics from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. 

The lecture is free and open to all.  Online registration is required.

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Originally published at nanovic.nd.edu.