In this lesson, students will identify the main events in the life of Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz and analyze how the historical context shaped her life. Students will discuss women’s ability to make decisions in colonial Mexico through Sor Juana’s biography, her poem, You Foolish Men, and artwork inspired by her. This is Lesson 4 of the Women in Colonial Latin America unit.
Date Range: 1648-1695
Grade Levels: 9-12
Course Subject(s): Latin American Studies; Women & Gender Studies; World History Studies
Topic(s): Colonialism; Gender; Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz; Women; Religion; Literature; Art
Teaching Time Frame: 1 day (90 minute lesson)
- How did women navigate the complexity of gender in colonial Mexico within the Catholic Church?
- Why did women become nuns in colonial Mexico?
- What were some of the benefits and challenges of religious life?
- What access did women have to “freedom of speech”?
- Name the main events in the life of Sor Juana and identify the historical context when these events occurred.
- Analyze poetry and infer information about its author.
- Interpret a work of art and provide support for their views.
- Create a poem to explain their ideas on the life of women in 17th-century Mexico
Relevant Teaching Standards
- World History
- (c)-(7)-(A) – The student understands the causes and impact of increased global interaction from 1450 to 1750. The student is expected to analyze the causes of European expansion from 1450 to 1750.
- (c)-(7)-(B) – Explain the impact of the Columbian Exchange.
- D2.Geo.6.9-12. Evaluate the impact of human settlement activities on the environmental and cultural characteristics of specific places and regions.
- D2.His.1.9-12. Evaluate how historical events and developments were shaped by unique circumstances of time and place as well as broader historical contexts.
- D2.His.11.9-12. Critique the usefulness of historical sources for a specific historical inquiry based on their maker, date, place of origin, intended audience, and purpose.
Creator(s): Cinthia S. Salinas, Department Chair, Department of Curriculum and Instruction & Maria Jose Ramirez, Graduate Student, Department of Curriculum and Instruction
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