Dr. Sarah Chambers


Dr. Sarah C. Chambers,

Professor of History,

University of Minnesota

Thursday, March 26, 2020,

2:30–3:30 pm,

The Arizona Senior Academy Building

Our Lady of Guadelupe

When you imagine the Virgin Mary, you might conjure an image of passive suffering or caring maternalism, but would you also see her as an activist? The Virgin Mary has been central to Spanish and Spanish American culture for centuries, but depictions of her have varied over time. This talk will explore those transformations from Medieval to Early Modern Spain and from Colonial Latin America to the present, particularly through art and music. In some times and places, the official canon has pictured Mary as a demure virgin or young mother, but in others she appears intervening not only in people’s daily lives but also in the expansion of Catholicism, empire, and trade. In the Americas, on the other hand, she was often seen as a protective figure to the indigenous people, particularly in her appearance as the Virgin of Guadalupe in Mexico. Tracing these representations is a window into both religious syncretism and changing gender norms.

Sarah Chambers is Professor of History at the University of Minnesota, where she teaches Latin American and Early Modern history as well as women’s history. She has published widely on political culture, citizenship, law and gender during Spanish America’s transition from colonialism to independence (c. 1780-1850) and has been one of the editors of the journal Gender & History from 2008 to 2018. Fellowships from Fulbright and the National Endowment for the Humanities have supported her research, which currently focuses on migrations spurred by the Wars of Independence in South America. 

Written by Maria Dobozy, Academy Village Volunteer

March 26: “Mother or Activist?: Changing Images of the Virgin Mary from Medieval Spain to Colonial Latin America”