Indigenous Lovers and Villainous Scientists: Rewriting Nineteenth-Century Ideas of Race in Argentine Romance Novels

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Here's the abstract:

This essay looks at three bestselling historical romance novels-Florencia Bonelli's Indias blancas (2005), its sequel, Indias blancas: La vuelta del Ranquel (2005), and Gloria Casañas's La maestra de la laguna (2010)-that intertwine these concerns with erotic love. I argue that while the novela rosa is a fertile space for popularizing the critique of scientific racism and its associated practices, the apparent inclusion of the Amerindian disguises a neocolonial project of reaffirmation of centuries-old hierarchical racial relations. The twentyfirst-century Argentine romance novels are just as whitewashed as the original foundational fictions that they presume to rectify.

The three novels I study are set in the late-nineteenth century, include heroines of European descent, mestizo heroes, villainous scientists who threaten the romantic relationship, and happy endings marked by marriage and the birth of a child. In Indias blancas, set in 1871, wealthy and white Laura falls in love with Nahueltruz Guor, the son of the cacique of the Ranquel Indians. Their love grows clandestinely until their secret affair is discovered by the jealous Coronel Racedo, resulting in the desperate flight of Nahueltruz and Laura's forced marriage to a family friend.