While the flags of Spain, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, and the United States successively flew over San Antonio, its Tejano community (Texans of Spanish or Mexican descent) formed a distinct ethnic identity that persisted despite rapid social and cultural changes. In this pioneering study, Timothy Matovina explores the central role of Tejano Catholicism in forging this unique identity and in binding the community together.
The first book-length treatment of the historical role of religion in a Mexican-origin community in the United States, this study covers three distinct periods in the emergence of Tejano religious and ethnic identity: the Mexican period (1821-1836), the Texas Republic (1836-1845), and the first decade and a half after annexation into the United States (1845-1860). Matovina's research demonstrates how theories of unilateral assimilation are inadequate for understanding the Tejano community, especially in comparison with the experiences of European immigrants to the United States.
As residents of the southwestern United States continue to sort out the legacy of U.S. territorial expansion in the nineteenth century, studies like this one offer crucial understanding of the survival and resilience of Latino cultures in the United States. Tejano Religion and Ethnicity will be of interest to a broad popular and scholarly audience.