"Within and Without His Religion": The Formation of the Colonial Mexican Jesuits, 1600-1650
AuthorMcClain, Hannah Grace
AdvisorLotz-Heumann, Ute E.
Plummer, Marjorie E.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction, presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
EmbargoRelease after 07/15/2025
AbstractThis thesis examines processes of identity formation among the colonial Mexican Jesuits in the first half of the seventeenth century. Recent historiography has emphasized the central role played by the early modern Jesuits in European imperial and missionary expansion. While the global significance of the Society of Jesus is asserted in these works, little attention has been paid to the identity and day-to-day activities of the Jesuits, especially as these were religious in nature. This project seeks to address this gap in the literature by closely analyzing Jesuit identity as it was conceived and performed in the province of New Spain. Utilizing contemporary manuscript and print sources composed by the Jesuits, this thesis explores the ways in which Jesuit priests formed their identity through both internal discourses and external interactions in colonial Mexican society. It accomplishes this through a social and cultural analysis of the Mexican Jesuit community as a whole, while also referring to a comparative case study of an individual Jesuit in the province, namely the Irish-born Padre Miguel Godínez. By examining identity at the level of the individual and the group, this thesis argues that a distinctly Jesuit identity was formed internally through a textual discourse of perfection that required constant negotiation. Externally, Jesuit identity was formed through social interactions with other actors in colonial Mexico, including the indigenous subjects of the Jesuit mission. As missionaries, the Jesuits constructed an identity that prioritized sacramental and pastoral duties within local communities, duties that were simultaneously logistical and spiritual. By providing a clearer view of the colonial Mexican Jesuits as they understood themselves, this study enriches our grasp of transregional early modern phenomena, particularly global Catholicism.
Degree ProgramGraduate College