In order to showcase the strength and diversity of its research culture, Queen’s University’s Department of Spanish and Portuguese organises an annual cycle of jornadas or 2-day conferences on major research topics. Recent jornadas have focused on the Spanish Enlightenment, Golden Age Literature, and Lusophone Postcolonialism. The October 2005 conference is dedicated to Latin American History and brings together a highly international group of scholars from Mexico, the U.S., Europe, and the United Kingdom in order to disseminate new research on religious aspects of the Mexican Revolution (1910-40). More specifically, while the Revolution's religious history is often reduced to an institutional power struggle between the Catholic Church and Mexico's revolutionary elite, this conference will reveal a far more complex set of interactions between the Revolution and the sacred. Individual conference speakers will analyse a range of subjects such as revolutionary anticlericalism, the changing relationship between 'official' and popular religion, the rise of Catholic 'social' militancy, and the growing importance of 'revolutionary' religions such as Protestantism and Spiritism. Collectively, the papers will show that the Revolution was a period of genuine religious change as well as major social upheaval, which saw the creation of new forms of religious belief and practice as ordinary people responded to state campaigns to revolutionise the spiritual landscape. This collective understanding will also provide the basis for a collaborative publication which incorporates the revised conference papers.
The main aims and objectives of the conference can be summarised as follows:
- To make an original contribution to the study of modern Mexico and to establish a more multifaceted picture of the country's religious and cultural history in the revolutionary period
- To disseminate the latest research findings on revolutionary Mexico in the form of a symposium, edited volume, journal contributions, and conference website
- To establish closer international ties between U.S, Mexican, European, and UK researchers, and to create a research network for future projects
- To increase the international profile of Queen’s University Belfast and to enhance the University’s reputation as a centre of research excellence
- To address historical questions concerning the relationship between political violence and religious identity which are relevant not only to Mexico but to Northern Ireland, where the conference takes place