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On Empire Collapse, State Fragmentation, and Balance of Power and Social Imaginaries in World History.
Origin and Legitimating Function of the Founding Fathers in the Modern Sociopolitical Itinerary of Nations (1808-1989).
By Joaquín E. Meabe, Jorge G. Paredes M., Eduardo R. Saguier and the collaboration of Maximiliano Korstanje (translation by Estela Herrera) .

Reviews

Piety, Power, and Politics: Religion and Nation Formation in Guatemala, 1821–1871.

Douglass Sullivan-González. (Pitt Latin American Series.) Pittsburgh, Pa.: University of Pittsburgh Press. 1998. Pp. xiii, 182. $45.00.

      In this intriguing study, Douglass Sullivan-González explores the relationship between religion and nationalism in nineteenth-century Guatemala. Whereas previous authors date the beginnings of a nationalist project to the Liberal victory of 1871, he argues that a revitalized Catholic Church, through elite theological discourse and a deepening popular religiosity, assisted the popular caudillo Rafael Carrera in the task of forging a Guatemalan nation between 1840 and 1870. Whereas R. L. Woodward's standard work on the period employs the term "republic," Sullivan-González says "nation." And whereas still others see failure in the collapse of the Central American union (1824–1839), he sees achievement: Guatemala's emergence as a nation distinct from its Central American neighbors. The achievement was as much theological as political.

Lively and thought-provoking, the book is based on the skillful use of copious but previously inaccessible Guatemalan church records. Although the author pays relatively scant attention to more conventional social, political, and economic themes (such as land issues), he adapts the interpretive insights of such diverse authors as Benedict Anderson, Caroline C. Ford, and Serge Gruzinski to explore elite and popular attitudes and their relation to the national question. He provides an excellent analysis of the collapse and partial recovery of the institutional church in the mid-nineteenth century. The reliance on interim appointments rather than permanent benefices reflected both the struggle of the church to reproduce itself in harsh times and a deliberate strategy of trying to retain institutional autonomy from both the hostile 1830s Liberal governments of Mariano Gálvez and Francisco Morazán and the much more friendly Carrera, who sought to control the church for his own ends. Such practices, however, led to the erosion of long-term church influence.

 

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