A Flock Divided: Race, Religion, and Politics in Mexico, 1749-1857

A Flock Divided: Race, Religion, and Politics in Mexico, 1749-1857

By: Matthew D. O'Hara (author)Paperback

Special OrderSpecial Order item not currently available. We'll try and order for you.


Catholicism, as it developed in colonial Mexico, helped to create a broad and remarkably inclusive community of Christian subjects, while it also divided that community into countless smaller flocks. Taking this contradiction as a starting point, Matthew D. O'Hara describes how religious thought and practice shaped Mexico's popular politics. As he shows, religion facilitated the emergence of new social categories and modes of belonging in which individuals-initially subjects of the Spanish crown, but later citizens and other residents of republican Mexico-found both significant opportunities for improving their place in society and major constraints on their ways of thinking and behaving. O'Hara focuses on interactions between church authorities and parishioners from the late-colonial era into the early-national period, first in Mexico City and later in the surrounding countryside. Paying particular attention to disputes regarding caste status, the category of "Indian," and the ownership of property, he demonstrates that religious collectivities from neighborhood parishes to informal devotions served as complex but effective means of political organization for plebeians and peasants. At the same time, longstanding religious practices and ideas made colonial social identities linger into the decades following independence, well after republican leaders formally abolished the caste system that classified individuals according to racial and ethnic criteria. These institutional and cultural legacies would be profound, since they raised fundamental questions about political inclusion and exclusion precisely when Mexico was trying to envision and realize new forms of political community. The modes of belonging and organizing created by colonialism provided openings for popular mobilization, but they were always stalked by their origins as tools of hierarchy and marginalization.

About Author

Matthew D. O'Hara is Assistant Professor of History at the University of California, Santa Cruz.


Acknowledgments ix Introduction: The Children of Rebekah 1 Part I. Institutions and Ideas 1. Geographies of Buildings, Bodies, and Souls 17 2. An Eighteenth-Century Great Debate 55 Part II. Reform and Reaction 3. Stone, Mortar, and Memory 91 4. Invisible Religion 123 Part III. Piety and Politics 5. Spiritual Capital 159 6. Miserables and Citizens 185 Conclusion. The Struggle of Jacob and Esau 221 Notes 239 Bibliography 281 Index 303

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9780822346395
  • Format: Paperback
  • Number Of Pages: 336
  • ID: 9780822346395
  • ISBN10: 0822346397

Delivery Information

  • Saver Delivery: Yes
  • 1st Class Delivery: Yes
  • Courier Delivery: Yes
  • Store Delivery: Yes

Prices are for internet purchases only. Prices and availability in WHSmith Stores may vary significantly