Our Lady of Guadalupe

Socorro Castañeda-Liles

in Latino Studies

ISBN: 9780199913701
Published online March 2013 | | DOI:
Our Lady of Guadalupe

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  • History of the Americas
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According to Mexican tradition, on 12 December 1531, an event took place that marked the beginning of a mestizo religious imaginary—the apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe to a Nahuatl man by the name of Juan Diego. However, it was not until 1648 that the apparition story was published under the title Nican Mopohua (Here it is told). Since then, every argument supporting Guadalupe’s apparition has had a counteraccount. Some scholars argue that Guadalupe’s apparition did, in fact, take place and that it led to the conversion of a high percentage of Nahuatl people (González Fernández, et al. 2001, cited under Historical Works on the Development of Guadalupan Devotion). Other scholars claim that the event was a fabrication and that the devotion began with the criollos (people of Spanish descent born in what we now know as Mexico) and not the Nahuatl people (Poole 1995, cited under Anti-apparitionist Historical Works). Regardless of the authenticity of Guadalupe’s apparition, millions of followers on both sides of the US-Mexico border continue to find empowerment in her image. In Mexico and the United States, Guadalupe’s image has been used to lead people into battle—both literally and figuratively. In the United States, her image was used in the United Farm Workers (UFW) movement and more recently has been used in immigrant rallies across the nation. Countless books, articles, photo books, and audio and visual material have been produced on the subject. Devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe has not only produced a massive amount of material culture but has helped reshape geographic spaces, through the use of public altars and murals in parks, on the streets, and in business establishments. Her image has been commodified to the point that popular culture has adopted it and used it as a cultural symbol. Indeed, in Latino communities across the United States the image of Guadalupe can be found in ubiquitous sacred and secular areas alike. With such a large following, it is not surprising that an extensive body of scholarly material has been published on Our Lady of Guadalupe. Vast literature on Our Lady of Guadalupe has been produced in the disciplines of history and theology, and to a lesser extent in Chicana feminist studies. It has not been until recently that we have seen an increasing number of scholarly works in the area of lived religion—the study of how people live out their religion in the context of daily life. Note: The names Our Lady of Guadalupe and Guadalupe will be used interchangeably throughout this bibliography.

Article.  6440 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas ; US Cultural History

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