Think historically from the 1600s to the present day and write about what you learned about the origins of Our Lady of Guadalupe and her cultural and religious influences and what you learn from the 1st reading below. Then compare and contrast that knowledge with what you read in the 2nd reading below, the contemporary controversy about the interpretation and presentation of this iconic figure. You must read both of these PDFs to fully comprehend the topic and to complete your essay.
Things to consider while you are reading the PDFs below and then writing your essay: mythology vs. reality / secular beliefs vs. religious faith / compare and contrast origins and reverence vs. contemporary uses of the image (including marketing) / private reverence vs. public appropriation / inclusion in religious ceremonies vs. public display (tattoos, T-shirts, truck stickers, candles, etc.) / irreverent and sacrilegious vs. simply artistic liberty and interpretation.
Submit a full 3 page (or more) expository essay through this portal by the due date using only these two readings as sources; proper footnotes or endnotes required, double-spaced, no cover page, 12 pt. TNR font, 1″ margins all around. You will not be graded on your reflections or opinion, of course, only on your writing in forming a coherent, well-written essay with proper paragraph structure, capitalization, punctuation, and properly cited
There are many debates in our society about what is displayed in public, everything from monuments and statues to paintings and murals on buildings. The National Park Service (NPS) has endured many controversies about what should and should not be displayed in public parks or interpreted by the NPS for the public, such as the Enola Gay controversy and Confederate memorabilia and statues.
Our Lady of Guadalupe (or Virgin of Guadalupe) iconography is seen in almost the exact same image over and over again, but artists and writers sometimes see well-known images differently because they think about corresponding issues, topics, and events in a more expansive way by superimposing history, gender politics, social justice, and other diverse issues onto images or events that most people may consider ordinary.
For instance, a writer might read about efforts to convert native peoples in the Americas, which seems an ordinary part of history, but he/she may also consider the Roman Catholic clergys failure to recognize that native peoples werent so enamored of Christianity in and of itself, but that the woman depicted as Our Lady drew them in because in their own native beliefs – they also held a woman in high esteem or even as a god. Or that the iconography and ceremony of the Catholic Church was especially attractive to native peoples because they also had ceremonies, so they looked to be enthusiastic about being converted to Christianity but in fact, due to language barriers, they did not really understand what conversion meant but adopted what they liked of the faith and combined it with their own beliefs and ceremonies.
This is indeed an argument in academic and religious circles, even to this day. With the Pueblo Revolt this argument concludes that is why the Pueblo peoples seemed to have so easily given up Christianity, attacked and killed the priests, and desecrated churches and icons – they never truly converted (somewhat like the Crypto-Jews who pretended to convert but in fact held onto their Jewish heritage) and the abuse of the native peoples at the hands of church authorities proved to them that the Christian God had no place in their lives, and they expressed this through their actions in the infamous revolt.
There are many important topics like this in New Mexico history that we, unfortunately, don’t have time to cover in this short course. Other important topics are Hispanic and Chicana/o identity and gender politics. But this assignment affords you time to read and write about some of these issues.
This assignment concerns two very different expressions of the Virgin of Guadalupe, Our Lady. One is about how she was perceived by, and what she meant to, settlers 400 years ago. The other is about contemporary expressions by Chicana feminists, artistic liberties, and controversy over public art displays. Both of these readings are provided for you in PDF form below.