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Matthew David O'Hara
Regents of the University of California, Santa Cruz (Las Cruces, NM 88003-8002)

Faculty Research Awards
Research Programs

$40,000 (approved)
$40,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2005 – 5/31/2007

Race, Religion, and Community in Mexico City, 1749-1857

This project examines the slippage between the de jure and de facto racial ordering of colonial and early republican Mexico City (1749-1857), where informal religious communities acted as vehicles for individual and collective identities. Religious collectivities provided a political voice for popular groups in the absence of other forms of representation. At the same time, religious practice helped to perpetuate colonial racial categories, long after republican leaders abolished the caste system. Such institutional and cultural legacies would be profound, for the question of social difference translated clearly into the language of nineteenth-century Mexican politics: could all Mexicans form part of the modern nation?