Event—Scholarly Seminars

Ellie Walsh, Governors State University


Intelligent Christian Citizenship”: Protestantism and the Public Sphere in Early Twentieth-Century Puerto Rico, Ellie Walsh

Mainland-based Protestant missionaries eagerly supported the Americanization of Puerto Rico that immediately followed United States occupation in 1898. This paper argues that Puerto Ricans’ participation in Protestant organizations produced new social actors, new spaces for public debate, and new political networks. It further argues that complexities of gender and nationalism shaped this growing public sphere’s dynamics. For example, women’s participation in public debates asserted a gender egalitarianism that transgressed idealized Puerto Rican and Protestant gender norms. Additionally, Puerto Rican church-workers’ participation in conferences helped construct an insular identity that did not precisely align with Americanizers’ understanding of the mainland-Island relationship.

Respondent: Malachy McCarthy, Claretian Missionary Archives, USA and Canada