Forming the Subjects of Insurgency and Independence

By: Richard Grijalva  

Made up of creole clerics, lawyers, writers, military figures, and one-time seminarians, it is little surprise that the insurgent movement for Spanish American independence from Spanish domination in the early 19th Century appealed to friends and enemies alike through a discourse heavily mediated by religious language, theological concepts, and spiritual practices oriented towards forming the subjects adequate for their respective political projects: the Americano, and later the Mexicano. Following from the concept of political spirituality elaborated in Michel Foucault's later works, this paper argues that Insurgent and Royalist figures in New Spain regarded spirituality as a central political concern. For insurgents such as Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla and thinkers of Mexican Independence such as Fray Servando Teresa de Mier, these discourses were pivotal for articulating a national project, comprehending their particular political and militant practices, and forming a practical framework for connecting particular concerns and practices with their broader political ambitions. Spirit and self were among the fields where an intense contest unfolded for the political and historical fortunes of what was to become of a nation and its people, namely the United Mexican States, or México, as it is commonly known.

Spirituality, Theology, Politics, Insurrection, Discourse, Independence
The Politics of Religion
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Richard Grijalva

Doctoral Candidate, Rhetoric, University of California, Berkeley, United States
CA, United States

My dissertation examines the different ways the term México becomes a concept in the late eighteenth and early ninetheenth centuries. "Forging the Concet of Mexico in the Long Colonial Twilight" maps the proper name México and its status as a concept in multiple discourses: theological, spiritual, historical, political, economic, constitutional, and juridical. Furthermore I have taught courses in the Rhetoric Department on the concept of reason, ethics and design, the idea of study, and rhetorical interpretation. I have additionally served as a Graduate Instructor for courses in Practical Argumetation, Rhetorical Interpretation, and the History and Theory of Classical Rhetoric. Outside of my home department I have taught a survey course on Chicano Literary History for the Department of Ethnic Studies, and have served as a Teaching Assistant for the Department of Classics Roots of Western Civilization course, the School of Journalism's International Reporting course for the its summer intensive minor program, and the College of Letters and Sciences' Introduction to the LIberal Arts online summer course.