Rights Without Rites: Concubines in the Post-Colony

Fall 2023 Center Grant Recipient

Lean Sweeney (History)

Lean Sweeney’s Individual Faculty Research grant from the CGII supports archival research looking at late nineteenth century uses of informal, marriage-like relationships to navigate changing economic contexts and divorce and inheritance laws in Mexico and Guatemala.  Using as a starting point the case of an unmarried mother who used the help of a British third-party arbiter to demand payment from the Mexican and Guatemalan governments for the death of her partner in a border war, the article also considers the role of European diplomats, migrants and entrepreneurs in shaping the post-colonial practice, and legal implications of informal family-making in Mexico and Guatemala.