Toward Spiritual Motherhood and Racial Affirmation: Whiteness and Mexico’s Upper-Class Católicas, 1937-38
This paper examines how, during the late 1930s, Mexico’s upper-class laywomen used Catholic magazines and religious pedagogical materials to construct a collective sense of whiteness grounded in racial paternalism. It analyzes moralization campaigns geared toward indigenous domestic workers and demonstrates how elite women used the language of morality, religious orthodoxy, and spiritual “motherhood” to develop a uniquely “feminine” white identity. By adopting racialized perceptions of Catholic social action, Mexican católicas affirmed their power within the domestic sphere. At the same time, they used the unspoken language of race to assert themselves as spiritual agents before the Church.
Respondent: Maggie Elmore, Sam Houston State University
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About the Religion and Culture in the Americas Seminar Series
The Religion and Culture in the Americas Seminar explores topics in religion and culture including social history, biography, cultural studies, visual and material culture, urban studies, and the history of ideas. We are interested in how religious belief has affected society, rather than creedal or theological focused studies. Seminars are conversational and free and open to faculty, graduate students, and members of the public, who register in advance to request papers.