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Joan Ellen Meznar
Eastern Connecticut State University (Willimantic, CT 06226-2211)
The Catholic Cult of Our Lady Aparecida in 20th Century Brazil

My project will examine the significance of the growth of the cult of Our Lady Aparecida in the early twentieth century when both the Brazilian episcopacy and the new republican government sought to attract the support of an increasingly unruly peasantry. The recent tragedy at Canudos had fed fears that popular religiosity, unchecked by the church, might bring down the republic. Therefore, the strict separation of church and state stipulated in the 1891 Constitution gave way to an alliance between the two formalized in the 1904 crowning of the statue of Aparecida. I shall, furthermore, examine ways in which the poor who embraced Aparecida transformed the officially-sponsored cult to better suit their own interests.

Project fields:
Latin American History

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

$5,000 (approved)
$5,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
8/1/2005 – 9/30/2005