Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in History and University Honors
Mexican-American Border Region -- History -- 20th vcentury, Mexican-American Border Region -- Social aspects, Women -- Mexico -- Religious life, Women -- Mexico -- Social life and customs
Scholarship concerning Mexican ancestry and Mexican-American communities in the United States during the early twentieth century has largely ignored women. Although Chicana feminist scholarship increased during the 1980’s, it focused on the activities of independent women. The focus on revolutionary Mexican women, figures such as the adelitas or soldaderas, obscured the rich history and activities of everyday wives and mothers. This thesis explores how everyday women used domesticity and religiosity, “feminized” domains in Mexican culture, in order to navigate spaces and events of the revolution. The main evidence in this study involves the personal documents of Leonor Villegas de Magnón, courtesy of the University of Houston Library’s special collections department, as well as her autobiographical novel The Rebel/El Rebelde. Magnón’s work provides a portrait of activism in war time that was both radical while remaining within the bounds of gender propriety. This thesis also examines the more scattered life stories of Petra Guillen. Three oral histories exist for Guillen, who was a refugee of the Mexican Revolution and whose family settled in Houston’s Second Ward. Guillen’s testimony from the post-war period highlights the construction of women’s community, notably in her participation in the Catechists of the Catholic church, Our Lady of Guadalupe. By exploring and comparing these narratives, the thesis documents the dynamic construction and understanding of women’s communities as “border practices” during periods of intense historical change.
Ibarra, Alexandra, "Reclaiming Women's Stories at the Border: Mexicana Migration, Catholicism, and Revolution, 1910-1930" (2018). University Honors Theses. Paper 611.