Margaret Chowning's authoritative Catholic Women and Mexican Politics, 1750–1940 argues that, in independent Mexico, women's lay associations not only organized church activities but also created leadership roles for women members, who forged “their own form of ‘citizenship,’” becoming key to the survival of the Mexican Catholic Church in the nineteenth century (p. 3). The monograph unites a “social history of women in lay associations” with political history because “gendered political discourses are made more intelligible when paired with gendered social and institutional histories” (p. 12). Focusing on urban areas and Hispanic or mestizo towns, Chowning depicts how the Catholic Church and especially local priests, sometimes unintentionally, fostered women's leadership and broader activism through these lay associations. This monograph is based on rich resources from the archiepiscopal archives of Oaxaca, Durango, Michoacán, Mexico City, and Guadalajara, as well as collective political petitions, congressional debates, and the liberal and Catholic press. Organized...

You do not currently have access to this content.