19th Century ‘Public Women’ Registry in Mexico City

María Esparza Rodríguez, PhD Candidate (Spanish, Italian & Portuguese)

I plan to visit the National Public Health archive and the Hemeroteca Nacional de Mexico in Mexico City in order to review the registry of “public women,” a term which was used to refer to prostitutes. The book, created in 1865 by Emperor Maximilian of Habsburg, was used to police women and prevent the spread of venereal diseases. Because my dissertation focuses on the politics of illness, madness, disability and sexuality in contemporary Mexican and Mexican American literature and culture, access to the registry and the historical archive at the Hemeroteca would be critical to the completion of those chapters of my dissertation that deal with the regulations and pathologization of women in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in Mexico.