Synopses & Reviews
Ceded to the United States under the terms of the Treaty of Paris after the Spanish-American War of 1898, Puerto Rico has since remained a colonial territory. Despite this subordinated colonial experience, however, Puerto Ricans managed to secure national Olympic representation in the 1930s and in so doing nurtured powerful ideas of nationalism.
By examining how the Olympic movement developed in Puerto Rico, Antonio Sotomayor illuminates the profound role sports play in the political and cultural processes of an identity that developed within a political tradition of autonomy rather than traditional political independence. Significantly, it was precisely in the Olympic arena that Puerto Ricans found ways to participate and show their national pride, often by using familiar colonial stricturesandmdash;and the United Statesandrsquo; claim to democratic valuesandmdash;to their advantage. Drawing on extensive archival research, both on the island and in the United States, Sotomayor uncovers a story of a people struggling to escape the colonial periphery through sport and nationhood yet balancing the benefits and restraints of that same colonial status.
The Sovereign Colony describes the surprising negotiations that gave rise to Olympic sovereignty in a colonial nation, a unique case in Latin America, and uses Olympic sports as a window to view the broader issues of nation building and identity, hegemony, postcolonialism, international diplomacy, and Latin Americanandndash;U.S. relations.
"The analysis of the various prayers and their renditions in Nahuatl and Maya is fantastic. The study of the content of rituals such as baptism also contribute greatly to our understanding of how they functioned in the lives of everyday native peoples. Christensen's study of the variations observed in confessional guides serves to provide us with glimpses into the issues which the missionaries believed were of concern among their flock. The comparative content is especially rich. One of the greatest contributions of the work is the study of non-canonical texts, in which the author, based on the material already presented, analyzes these popular works. This is the most original part of the book and it makes it an even more valuable work."John F. Schwaller, SUNY Potsdam
"This well-written, well-documented book adds to the contributions of scholars like Louise Burkhart to help in understanding the origins and nature of indigenous religious beliefs and practices in colonial Mexico. . . . Recommended."V. H. Cummins, Choice
"Christensen has paid admirable attention to local diversity of religious experience and change over time in his finely grained analysis . . . It is a richly detailed, clearly written, and compelling addition to the historiography."Brian Larkin, American Historical Review
"Mark Christensen has produced a remarkable work of scholarship . . . This is a book rich in interpretive acumen, fortified with impressive linguistic range. It reorders our understanding of the process of indigenous Christianization in New Spain in its comparative approach. It is an important contribution to an increasingly complex body of scholarship on the 'diversification' of Catholicism in colonial Latin America."Martin Nesvig, The Americas
"Indigenous production of ritual texts is the focus of Mark Christensen's fine book, Nahua and Maya Catholocisms: Texts and Religion in Colonial Central Mexico and Yucatan . . . [T]his work is the product of enormous linguistic expertise (in Nahuatl and Yucatec Mayan) and achieves a deep understanding of religious change . . . Christensen's depth of research and linguistic skill cannot fail to impress."Susan Kellogg, Ethnohistory
andldquo;How is it that Puerto Rico participates with a sovereign team in the International Olympic Games? The answer to that question and Puerto Ricoandrsquo;s sporting success in the Central American and Caribbean Games provides the fascinating subject for Antonio Sotomayorandrsquo;s book. He explains the baffling and perplexing dimensions of international sport.andrdquo;andmdash;William H. Beezley, author of Judas at the Jockey Club and Other Episodes of Porfirian Mexicoand#160;
andldquo;A highly readable book that invites us to rethink many familiar tenets about contemporary colonialism, adding an important dimension to the last quarter centuryandrsquo;s debates on what constitutes a nationandmdash;and how sports may help fashion one.andrdquo;andmdash;Francisco A. Scarano, professor of history at the University of Wisconsinandndash;Madison
Nahua and Maya Catholicisms examines ecclesiastical texts written in Nahuatl and Yucatec Maya to illustrate the role of these texts in conveying and reflecting various Catholic messagesand thus Catholicismsthroughout colonial Central Mexico and Yucatan. It demonstrates how published and unpublished sermons, confessional manuals, catechisms, and other religious texts betray "official" and "unofficial" versions of Catholicism, and how these versions changed throughout the colonial period according to indigenous culture, local situations, and broader early modern events. The book's study of these texts also allows for a better appreciation of the negotiations that occurred during the evangelization process between native and Spanish cultures, the center and periphery, and between official expectations and everyday realities. And by employing both Nahuatl and Maya religious texts, Nahua and Maya Catholicism allows for a uniquely comparative study that expands beyond Central Mexico to include Yucatan.
About the Author
Antonio Sotomayor is an assistant professor and librarian of Latin American and Caribbean studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.