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Document Type:Latin Dissertation
Language of Document:English
Record Number:52887
Doc. No:TL22841
Call number:‭NR43217‬
Main Entry:Nestor Medina
Title & Author:“Race,” culture, and faith: (Re)mapping the development of mestizaje in theologyNestor Medina
College:University of St. Michael's College (Canada)
Date:2008
Degree:Ph.D.
student score:2008
Page No:199
Abstract:This dissertation is an interdisciplinary critical study of the way mestizaje was proposed as a theological category by U.S. Latina/o theologians. I trace the subversive and innovative ways in which these theologians appropriated the condition of biological and cultural intermixture (mestizaje) and turned it into a powerful framework for articulating the experiences of faith of the Latina/o communities. I illustrate the innovative and revolutionary character of mestizaje in theology by highlighting some of the important contributions these theologians have made in the areas of biblical hermeneutics, popular religion, and the consideration of the central role of culture for theological reflections. As Latina/o theologians engaged and appropriated the violent history of mestizaje—the result of the Spanish and Portuguese invasions—these theologians and scholars borrowed the category from the Mexican and Mexican-American intellectual tradition and experience. As they appropriated the category of mestizaje they failed to criticize the internal logic of homogenization and assimilation of the discourse of mestizaje. Operating under the utopic assumptions of inclusion in the condition of being mixed-mestiza/o, these scholars reproduce the silencing and marginalization of the indigenous and African descendants that constitute the U.S. Latina/o population. In this section I enter into conversation with prominent Latina/o scholars and theologians who in their work use mestizaje substantially to articulate their views. The discourse of mestizaje in Latin America has mutated so much that there is no single way of understanding the condition of mestizaje. I briefly introduce how mestizaje is being challenged in Latin America from various fronts in order to provide U.S. Latina/o scholars a critical entry point for U.S. Latinas/os to begin to reconfigure their understanding of mestizaje and its potentialities. Here, I draw from current criticisms of mestizaje as characteristic of the ethnonational and cultural identity of the Latin American countries. These criticisms come from the indigenous, African, and women scholars who indict mestizaje as a social, political, economic, and ideological agenda promoting the homogenization of the population and culture, while privileging the mestizo/a elite, especially those who claim to be of lighter pigmentation. In light of this, and contrary to popular beliefs, I claim that the discourse of mestizaje does not bring about the inclusion of historically marginalized voices, does not remove the problem of racism among Latina/o communities, and does not remove the privilege ascribed to whiteness. In identifying the problems and difficulties inherent in the use of mestizaje, I propose that Latina/o theologians must engage the larger context of Latin America to properly address some of the most damning criticism of the use of mestizaje. The discourse of mestizaje must be understood in the plural, and any use of the term must first be qualified and placed within its historical context. Finally, the reality of ethnocultural diversity among the Latina/o communities calls for new ways of understanding and thinking about ethnocultural and religious identity construction. The alternative is to adopt an intercultural theological approach which seems better suited to helping us identify and understand the dynamic interaction between peoples and groups. It also provides a discursive platform for creating revolutionary new spaces for the voices that have historically been silenced.
Subject:Philosophy, religion and theology; Social sciences; Culture; Faith; Mestizaje; Race; Theology; Ethnic studies; Hispanic American studies; 0737:Hispanic American studies; 0631:Ethnic studies; 0469:Theology
Added Entry:University of St. Michael's College (Canada)