Mexican Religion on Trial: Race, Religion and the Law in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands
My dissertation, Mexican Religion on Trial: Race, Religion and the Law in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands, presents three critical junctures in United States history (between the nineteenth century and the present) to explore political and legal discourses surrounding Mexican Catholicism after the Mexican-American war. This research employs historical, archival, and ethnographic methods. My analysis of numerous legal case studies, law enforcement training manuals, oral histories, ethnographic methods, and archival documents reveal processes by which Mexican Catholic practices and performances become signifiers of illegality and criminality, used as evidence against the inclusion and extension of national and cultural citizenship. While the surveillance of Mexicans communities reflects increased anxiety and suspicion about immigrant communities and their religions in the 9/11 period, this history positions contemporary legal debates on Mexican religion within a larger history of anti-Mexican and anti-Catholic attitudes in the Southwest.