The historical questions we discussed in class on Wednesday focused on what tools of conversion did the Spanish use on indigenous people in Latin America. The tools of conversion we discussed were: church construction, secular and regular clergy, congregation (missions), education, and public festivals. The student presentation of the day was on the use of public festivals in colonial Latin America, summarized in the thesis- Spanish authorities designed festivals that were aimed at the mass population to promote a shared history and values. Native people were made to feel like they had to participate because of their “implicit evil”, their skin color.
We also discussed what kind of sources let us get at questions of belief. These included primary sources, material culture, local stories & oral histories, prayers, educational materials, paintings/art, etc. Our sources we read for class fall under many of these categories. The “Orders Given to the Twelve” is a primary source from 1523. The article on Gaspar Antonio Chi included images of places, art, and reimaginings of public spaces.
“Go, therefore, my much beloved sons, with the blessing of your father, to carry out what I have commanded you; and armed with the shield of faith and with the breastplate of justice, with the glade of the spirit of salvation, with the helmet and lance of perseverance, struggle with the ancient serpent which seeks and hastens to lord himself over, and gain the victory over, the souls redeemed with the most precious Blood of Christ.” – Orders Given to “the Twelve”
When discussing this source, the class mentioned the language used. It’s warfare terminology that focuses on the violent nature of the task posed to Catholics spreading the faith. The class talked about how urgent this mission was. Spanish Catholics believed they were fighting evil by spreading their religion.
public festival – a celebration of the public for a certain event or purpose, usually religious. They were used in colonial Latin America as a way to control and influence indigenous peoples.
Saint Rose of Lima – the first person born in the Americas canonized as a Saint. Because of the great documentation that must be done in the process of sainthood, we have lots of sources on her.
- Journal Article: Catholicism and National Identity in Latin America
- Journal Article: Racialization and modern religion (hot a historical research paper, but if you’re interested in intersections between race & religion, check this out)
- News Article: Why the Catholic Church is Losing Latin America (not scholarly, but includes citations, graphs on the religious belief in LA in the 20th century, and updates on modern issues)