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9781647120900
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The Aesthetics of Solidarity

Our Lady of Guadalupe and American Democracy

How aesthetic religious experiences can create solidarity in marginalized communities

Latine Catholics have used Our Lady of Guadalupe as a symbol in democratic campaigns ranging from the Chicano movement and United Farm Workers' movements to contemporary calls for just immigration reform. In diverse ways, these groups have used Guadalupe's symbol and narrative to critique society's basic structures — including law, policy, and institutions — while seeking to inspire broader participation and representation among marginalized peoples in US democracy.

Yet, from the outside, Guadalupe's symbol is illegible within a liberal political framework that seeks to protect society's basic structures from religious encroachment by relegating religious speech, practices, and symbols to the background.

The Aesthetics of Solidarity argues for the capacity of Our Lady of Guadalupe — and similar religious symbols — to make democratic claims. Author Nichole M. Flores exposes the limitations of political liberalism's aesthetic responses to religious difference, turning instead to Latine theological aesthetics and Catholic social thought to build a framework for interpreting religious symbols in our contemporary pluralistic and participatory democratic life. By offering a lived theology of Chicanx Catholics in Denver, Colorado, and their use of Guadalupe in the pursuit of justice in response to their neighborhood's gentrification, this book provides an important framework for a community of interpretation where members stand in solidarity to respond to justice claims made from diverse religious and cultural communities.

About the Author

Nichole M. Flores is an assistant professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia. She is the author of several scholarly articles and is a contributing writer for America magazine. She was the recipient of the 2015 Catherine Mowry LaCugna Award for the best academic essay in Catholic theology from the Catholic Theological Society of America.

Reviews

"Cornel West points out that Christianity is ultimately a narrative about good triumphing over evil. John Milbank asserts that Christianity's appeal lies in the inherent beauty of this salvific story. Nichole Flores, grounded in the rich heritage of Guadalupan devotion and Catholic social teaching, makes the bold claim that talk of truth and beauty cannot be separated from ethics and social justice. Her activist Latinx perspective shakes up and transforms the staid public discourse on the role of religious and cultural particularity in democratic processes." — Rubén Rosario Rodríguez, professor of systematic theology, Saint Louis University

"At a moment when society is fraying and politics is polarized Flores provides a rich, ethical conception of democratic solidarity and its centrality to a politics of the common good in a pluralistic context. Arguing against key liberal philosophers, Flores's theologically and aesthetically sophisticated political theology of solidarity creatively draws on a set of resources rooted in Latine responses to oppression, including movements for social justice, political campaigns, theatre, popular religious celebrations of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and experiences of lo cotidiano. In doing so the book models the best of what teologia en conjunto means both in practice and in scholarship." — Luke Bretherton, Robert E. Cushman Professor of Moral & Political Theology, Duke University
Georgetown University Press
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