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Grant number like: FEL-257864-18

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Margaret Chowning
University of California, Berkeley (Berkeley, CA 94704-5940)

Research Programs

[Grant products]

$25,200 (approved)
$25,200 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2018 – 6/30/2018

Women, the Catholic Church, and Mexican Politics, 1750-1953

A book-length study of Mexican women in the Catholic church and their relationship to political conservatism between 1750 and 1953.

In a world where religion matters so much, we need better answers to the questions of how and why, across space and time, has religion has driven politics. One especially promising approach to a more historical understanding of the role of religion in politics is to study it through the lens of gender. Women are often absent in political histories. But when religious values and institutions are deemed worthy of either protection or destruction by competing (male) groups, the ladies of the altar guild or the planners of the parish bake sale become important political actors. They preserve and extend religious community at the local level. In Mexico, Catholic women are at the hidden center of conservative politics. Using archival sources I show that Mexican women assumed new roles in parish institutions in the early 19th century. I argue that this change was closely connected to their repeated moves into national politics from 1856 until 1953 when they gained the vote.