Loca Sancta in the New World: The Creation of Sacred Spaces in the Spanish California Missions

Spring 2017 Grant Recipient

Graduate Student

Nenette Arroyo (Art) My dissertation investigates the visual and material culture of the California missions in order to understand the interplay of form and practice in bringing about religious conversion within a colonial context. By examining architectural spaces, devotional art, ritual objects, and accounts from both colonizer and colonized, I seek to capture the sensory and performative aspects of religious life at the missions, and to illustrate the contestation of belief systems in its frequently hybrid expressions. My study aims to situate this period in American history within a global tradition of creating sacred spaces as sites of constructed meanings and negotiated identities.