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110BOOK REVIEWS As a member of a historically primitivist tradition (the Stone-Campbell Movement ) familiar with much of the recent scholarly literature on primitivism, my first reaction was that Callahan was trying to separate the bone from the marrow . In his final chapter, however, he is most convincing. Some may believe the conflict devolves into a matter of semantics. If so, Callahan has defined and explained his terms well in the context of an interesting re-examination ofthis important group. Douglas A. Foster Centerfor Restoration Studies Abilene Christian University Tejano Religion and Ethnicity: San Antonio, 1821-1860. By Timothy M. Matovina . (Austin: University ofTexas Press. 1995. Pp. xiv, 168. $24.95.) This reviewer apologizes for delaying so long in bringing this important monograph to the attention ofthe readers ofthis journal. This small book offers a lot more than its title might indicate to the unaware. It is a timely landmark in ethnic studies, Mexican-American studies, and studies of religion in the United States. In ninety-three pages of text and sixty-two pages of critical notes and bibliography , Matovina presents a thoroughly researched and tightly packed analysis of the complex interplay of ethnic, religious, and political allegiances in the formation of the self-identity of Téjanos (Texas residents of Spanish or Mexican descent ) in the first crucial decades of their interaction with Anglos in San Antonio. That town was the first major Mexican population center to be gradually absorbed into the expanding Anglo-American empire. In 1821 it was still a Mexican Catholic town in the new nation of Mexico, which had just gained its independence from Spain. But the Téjanos in Texas gradually lost ground, figuratively and literally, to Anglo foreigners who were allowed to immigrate into their country. The Téjanos were subordinated to an Anglo-dominated regime after Texan independence in 1836, underwent annexation to the United States in 1845, and by I860 had become an ethnic Catholic minority in Texas and even in San Antonio itself. Some ofMatovina's most original work is his demonstration that the people's Mexican Catholic religion was a major and indeed crucial element in the development and strengthening of their self-identity as a people within this broader social reality. He details how the bases were laid in San Antonio for an alternative to the standard United States ethnic model which posits eventual assimilation into the dominant culture. The historical Tejano cultural foundations of San Antonio and the subsequent somewhat balanced tricultural (Mexican, Anglo, German) society of the city after annexation appear to have been important factors. BOOK REVIEWS111 Matovina does an excellent job of analyzing in a very careful and nuanced fashion the specific political, cultural, and religious choices which defined the Téjanos in San Antonio as neither Mexican nor United States nationalists, but rather as people whose loyalty was first and foremost to their own local people, place, and ways. He details how traditional public rituals of Tejano Catholic faith manifested and strengthened resistance to assimilation, and how incoming non-Mexican Catholic clergy participated in and thus "blessed" these Tejano faith expressions and supported the maintenance of Spanish in education and worship. Thus there was forged a cultural link between pastors and local people which gave institutional confirmation within the new social order. On the other hand, Matovina points out that the new clergy also criticized other Tejano religious or cultural features, such as a perceived lack of doctrinal formation and a great love of dancing. A further interesting aspect of this study is the author's analysis of the probable reasons for an almost complete absence of Tejano conversion to Protestant groups during this period. As today's residents of an increasingly multicultural—especially Hispanic— and interfaith United States continue to be confronted with multiple decisions about cultural, political, and religious relations, Matovina's monograph provides an invaluable service in analyzing how the San Antonio Téjanos and the Catholic Church of those times responded to these challenges. Further questions which are little addressed by this study are what differences there may have been in ethnic self-identity and response between the native Téjanos and the sizable immigration from Mexico into San...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-0708
Print ISSN
0008-8080
Pages
pp. 110-111
Launched on MUSE
2016-10-05
Open Access
No
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