Professor Matt O'Hara Wins Article Prize

December 17, 2013

Associate professor of history Matt O'Hara

Associate professor of history Matt O'Hara has won the 2013 Kimberly S. Hanger Article Prize for his journal article, “The Supple Whip: Innovation and Tradition in Mexican Catholicism.” This prize, given by the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Section (LACS) of the Southern Historical Association is awarded to the best article appearing in 2012 in the fields of Latin American, Caribbean, American Borderlands and Frontiers, or Atlantic World history.

The LACS Awards Committee noted:

"The article offers a deep look at the sensibilities of a crucial social actor on the eve of Independence in New Spain: elite lay-person religious brotherhoods known as the Santas Escuelas de Cristo.  O’Hara’s discussion of these sodalities doing hard penitence in 18th-century Mexico challenges current notions of piety and sociability in Bourbon New Spain, showing how and why traditional practices were expanded during a time of religious and civil reform.  Rather than being at odds with a reformist moment foregrounding individuality, the Escuelas’ collective practices steeped in tradition were effectively harnessed to goals of innovation and retooling, O’Hara argues, and to the enlightenment project of educating the masses.  The research draws on an unused and rich archival source, and is relevant to broad questions of continuity and change in late colonial Latin America."

Professor O'Hara is the author of A Flock Divided: Race, Religion, and Politics in Mexico, 1749–1857 (Duke University Press, 2010) and co-editor with Andrew B. Fisher of Imperial Subjects: Race and Identity in Colonial Latin America (Duke University Press, 2009). Learn more about Professor O'Hara and his research here.