In 1980, with the Sandinistas newly in power, tailor and pig farmer Bernardo Martinez witnesses an extraordinary thing: an otherworldly glow about the statue of the Virgin Mary in the church where he works as sacristán. Soon the Holy Virgin appears. She tells Bernardo to forget his money problems and fear of ridicule and spread her message of peace and faith to his neighbors. Though a work of fiction, Bernardo and the Virgin is based on actual events in Bernardo Martinez's life. The visitation of the Virgin Mary at Cuapa, Nicaragua, remains one of the few such events accepted by the Roman Catholic Church in the last sixty years.
Silvio Sirias' sweeping novel tells many stories: that of a humble man touched by the transcendent; that same man as a devout boy denied the priesthood because of poverty; and those in his orbit, past and present. It is also the stormy epic of Nicaragua through the long Somoza years to the Sandinista revolution. Sirias' beautiful language mixes English with Spanish and details of dusty village life with wondrous images of Catholic mysticism. His portrayal of the rich recent past of Central America resonates with the experiences of both the natives and the thriving communities of Nicaraguans, Salvadorans, and others putting down roots in the United States.
Cuba’s patron saint, the Virgin of Charity of El Cobre, also called Cachita, is a potent symbol of Cuban national identity. Jalane D. Schmidt shows how groups as diverse as Indians and African slaves, Spanish colonial officials, Cuban independence soldiers, Catholic authorities and laypeople, intellectuals, journalists and artists, practitioners of spiritism and Santería, activists, politicians, and revolutionaries each have constructed and disputed the meanings of the Virgin. Schmidt examines the occasions from 1936 to 2012 when the Virgin's beloved, original brown-skinned effigy was removed from her national shrine in the majority black- and mixed-race mountaintop village of El Cobre and brought into Cuba's cities. There, devotees venerated and followed Cachita's image through urban streets, amassing at large-scale public ceremonies in her honor that promoted competing claims about Cuban religion, race, and political ideology. Schmidt compares these religious rituals to other contemporaneous Cuban street events, including carnival, protests, and revolutionary rallies, where organizers stage performances of contested definitions of Cubanness. Schmidt provides a comprehensive treatment of Cuban religions, history, and culture, interpreted through the prism of Cachita.
Over the past ten years, more than 4,000 people have died while crossing the Arizona desert to find jobs, join families, or start new lives. Other migrants tell of the corpses they pass—bodies that are never recovered or counted.
Crossing With the Virgin collects stories heard from migrants about these treacherous treks—firsthand accounts told to volunteers for the Samaritans, a humanitarian group that seeks to prevent such unnecessary deaths by providing these travelers with medical aid, water, and food. Other books have dealt with border crossing; this is the first to share stories of immigrant suffering at its worst told by migrants encountered on desert trails.
The Samaritans write about their encounters to show what takes place on a daily basis along the border: confrontations with Border Patrol agents at checkpoints reminiscent of wartime; children who die in their parents’ desperate bid to reunite families; migrants terrorized by bandits; and hovering ghost-like above nearly every crossing, the ever-present threat of death.
These thirty-nine stories are about the migrants, but they also tell how each individual author became involved with this work. As such, they offer not only a window into the migrants’ plight but also a look at the challenges faced by volunteers in sometimes compromising situations—and at their own humanizing process.
Crossing With the Virgin raises important questions about underlying assumptions and basic operations of border enforcement, helping readers see past political positions to view migrants as human beings. It will touch your heart as surely as it reassures you that there are people who still care about their fellow man.
When the fighting of the Mexican Revolution died down in 1920, the national government faced the daunting task of building a cohesive nation. It had to establish control over a disparate and needy population and prepare the country for global economic competition. As part of this effort, the government enlisted the energy of artists and intellectuals in cultivating a distinctly Mexican identity. It devised a project for the incorporation of indigenous peoples and oversaw a vast, innovative program in the arts. The Eagle and the Virgin examines the massive nation-building project Mexico undertook between 1920 and 1940.
Contributors explore the nation-building efforts of the government, artists, entrepreneurs, and social movements; their contradictory, often conflicting intersection; and their inevitably transnational nature. Scholars of political and social history, communications, and art history describe the creation of national symbols, myths, histories, and heroes to inspire patriotism and transform workers and peasants into efficient, productive, gendered subjects. They analyze the aesthetics of nation building made visible in murals, music, and architecture; investigate state projects to promote health, anticlericalism, and education; and consider the role of mass communications, such as cinema and radio, and the impact of road building. They discuss how national identity was forged among social groups, specifically political Catholics, industrial workers, middle-class women, and indigenous communities. Most important, the volume weighs in on debates about the tension between the eagle (the modernizing secular state) and the Virgin of Guadalupe (the Catholic defense of faith and morality). It argues that despite bitter, violent conflict, the symbolic repertoire created to promote national identity and memory making eventually proved capacious enough to allow the eagle and the virgin to coexist peacefully.
Contributors. Adrian Bantjes, Katherine Bliss, María Teresa Fernández, Joy Elizabeth Hayes, Joanne Hershfield, Stephen E. Lewis, Claudio Lomnitz, Rick A. López, Sarah M. Lowe, Jean Meyer, James Oles, Patrice Olsen, Desmond Rochfort, Michael Snodgrass, Mary Kay Vaughan, Marco Velázquez, Wendy Waters, Adriana Zavala
Surrounded by the peaks of the Andean cordillera, the deep blue waters of Lake Titicaca have long provided refreshment and nourishment to the people who live along its shores. From prehistoric times, the Andean peoples have held Titicaca to be a sacred place, the source from which all life originated and the site where the divine manifests its presence. In this interdisciplinary study, Verónica Salles-Reese explores how Andean myths of cosmic and ethnic origins centered on Lake Titicaca evolved from pre-Inca times to the enthronement of the Virgin of Copacabana in 1583. She begins by describing the myths of the Kolla (pre-Inca) people and shows how their Inca conquerors attempted to establish legitimacy by reconciling their myths of cosmic and ethnic origin with the Kolla myths. She also shows how a similar pattern occurred when the Inca were conquered in turn by the Spanish. This research explains why Lake Titicaca continues to occupy a central place in Andean thought despite the major cultural disruptions that have characterized the region’s history. This book will be a touchstone in the field of Colonial literature and an important reference for Andean religious and intellectual history.
Penny Schine Gold provides a bold analysis of key literary and artistic images of women in the Middle Ages and the relationship between these images and the actual experience of women. She argues that the complex interactions between men and women as expressed in both image and experience reflect a common pattern of ambivalence and contradiction. Thus, women are seen as both helpful and harmful, powerful and submissive, and the actuality of women's experience encompasses women in control and controlled, autonomous and dependent.
Vividly recreating the rich texture of medieval life, Gold effectively and eloquently goes beyond a simple equation of social context and representation. In the process. she challenges equally simple judgments of historical periods as being either "good" or "bad" for women.
"[The Lady and the Virgin] presents its findings in a form that should attract students as well as their instructors. The careful and controlled use of so many different kinds of sources . . . offers us a valuable medieval case study in the inner-relationship between the segments of society and its ethos or value system."—Joel T. Rosenthal, The History Teacher
"Something of a tour de force in an interdisciplinary approach to history."—Jo Ann McNamara, Speculum
"[A] well-written, extremely well-researched book. . . . The Lady and the Virgin is useful, readable, and well informed."—R. Howard Bloch, Modern Philology
A Mother who nurtures, empathizes, and heals . . . a Warrior who defends, empowers, and resists oppression. . . the Virgin Mary plays many roles for the peoples of Spain and Spanish-speaking America. Devotion to the Virgin inspired and sustained medieval and Renaissance Spaniards as they liberated Spain from the Moors and set about the conquest of the New World. Devotion to the Virgin still inspires and sustains millions of believers today throughout the Americas. This wide-ranging and highly readable book explores the veneration of the Virgin Mary in Spain and the Americas from the colonial period to the present. Linda Hall begins the story in Spain and follows it through the conquest and colonization of the New World, with a special focus on Mexico and the Andean highlands in Peru and Bolivia, where Marian devotion became combined with indigenous beliefs and rituals. Moving into the nineteenth century, Hall looks at national cults of the Virgin in Mexico, Bolivia, and Argentina, which were tied to independence movements. In the twentieth century, she examines how Eva Perón linked herself with Mary in the popular imagination; visits contemporary festivals with significant Marian content in Spain, Peru, and Mexico; and considers how Latinos/as in the United States draw on Marian devotion to maintain familial and cultural ties.
In the early summer of 1712, a young Maya woman from the village of Cancuc in southern Mexico encountered an apparition of the Virgin Mary while walking in the forest. The miracle soon attracted Indian pilgrims from pueblos throughout the highlands of Chiapas. When alarmed Spanish authorities stepped in to put a stop to the burgeoning cult, they ignited a full-scale rebellion. Declaring "Now there is no God or King," rebel leaders raised an army of some five thousand "soldiers of the Virgin" to defend their new faith and cast off colonial rule.Using the trial records of Mayas imprisoned after the rebellion, as well as the letters of Dominican priests, the local bishop, and Spaniards who led the army of pacification, Kevin Gosner reconstructs the history of the Tzeltal Revolt and examines its causes. He characterizes the rebellion as a defense of the Maya moral economy, and shows how administrative reforms and new economic demands imposed by colonial authorities at the end of the seventeenth century challenged Maya norms about the ritual obligations of community leaders, the need for reciprocity in political affairs, and the supernatural origins of power.The first book-length study of the Tzeltal Revolt, Soldiers of the Virgin goes beyond the conventions of the regional monograph to offer an expansive view of Maya social and cultural history. With an eye to the contributions of archaeologists and ethnographers, Gosner explores many issues that are central to Maya studies, including the origins of the civil-religious hierarchy, the role of shamanism in political culture, the social dynamics of peasant corporate communities, and the fate of the native nobility after the Spanish conquest.
The beaux-arts mural movement in America was fueled by energetic young artists and architects returning from training abroad. They were determined to transform American art and architecture to make them more thematically cosmopolitan and technically fluid and accomplished. The movement slowly coalesced around the decoration of mansions of the Gilded Age elite, mostly in New York, and of public buildings and institutions across the breadth of the country.
The Virgin and the Dynamo: Public Murals in American Architecture, 1893-1917 is the first book in almost a century to concentrate exclusively on the beaux-arts mural movement in the United States. Beginning with a short history of the movement from its inception in Boston during the American Renaissance, Bailey Van Hook focuses on the movement’s public manifestations in the period between the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893 and the First World War.
Professor Van Hook explores different aspects of the mural movement, the concept and meaning of “decoration,” the claim that murals are inherently democratic, the shift in preference from allegory to history, the gendered concept of modernity, the ideologies behind the iconography, and, finally, the decline of the movement when it began to be seen as old fashioned and anachronistic.
The Virgin and the Dynamo raises our understanding of the beaux-arts movement to a new level. For the general reader, this illustrated history will explain many familiar representations of local and national values.
Hidden lives, hidden history, and hidden manuscripts. In The Virgin of Guadalupe and the Conversos, Marie-Theresa Hernández unmasks the secret lives of conversos and judaizantes and their likely influence onthe Catholic Churchin the New World.
The terms converso and judaizante are often used for descendants of Spanish Jews (the Sephardi, or Sefarditas as they are sometimes called), who converted under duress to Christianity in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. There are few, if any, archival documents that prove the existence of judaizantes after the Spanish expulsion of the Jews in 1492 and the Portuguese expulsion in 1497, as it is unlikely that a secret Jew in sixteenth-century Spain would have documented his allegiance to the Law of Moses, thereby providing evidence for the Inquisition.
On a Da Vinci Code – style quest, Hernández persisted in hunting for a trove of forgotten manuscripts at the New York Public Library. These documents, once unearthed, describe the Jewish/Christian religious beliefs of an early nineteenth-century Catholic priest in Mexico City, focusing on the relationship between the Virgin of Guadalupe and Judaism. With this discovery in hand, the author traces the cult of Guadalupe backwards to its fourteenth-century Spanish origins. The trail from that point forward can then be followed to its interface with early modern conversos and their descendants at the highest levels of the Church and the monarchy in Spain and Colonial Mexico. She describes key players who were somehow immune to the dangers of the Inquisition and who were allowed the freedom to display, albeit in a camouflaged manner, vestiges of their family's Jewish identity.
By exploring the narratives produced by these individuals, Hernández reveals the existence of those conversos and judaizantes who did not return to the “covenantal bond of rabbinic law,” who did not publicly identify themselves as Jews, and who continued to exhibit in their influential writings a covert allegiance and longing for a Jewish past. This is a spellbinding and controversial story that offers a fresh perspective on the origins and history of conversos.
For women of the Italian Renaissance, the Virgin Mary was one of the most important role models. Who Is Mary? presents devotional works written by three women better known for their secular writings: Vittoria Colonna, famed for her Petrarchan lyric verse; Chiara Matraini, one of the most original poets of her generation; and the wide-ranging, intellectually ambitious polemicist Lucrezia Marinella. At a time when the cult of the Virgin was undergoing a substantial process of redefinition, these texts cast fascinating light on the beliefs of Catholic women in the Renaissance, and also, in the cases of Matraini and Marinella, on contemporaneous women’s social behavior, prescribed for them by male writers in books on female decorum. Who Is Mary? testifies to the emotional and spiritual relationships that women had with the figure of Mary, whom they were required to emulate as the epitome of femininity. Now available for the first time in English-language translation, these writings suggest new possibilities for women in both religious and civil culture and provide a window to women’s spirituality, concerning the most important icon set before them, as wives, mothers, and Christians.