“An intimate study of the objects, foods, and stories that bind the Tejano Methodist community together and lead to their creation of a distinct religious identity. ”
My proposed project is tentatively titled Los Hijos de Juan y Carlos Wesley: Tejano Methodism, Material Culture and the Creation of a Tejano Methodist Identity at San Antonio’s La Trinidad United Methodist Church. The project will be based on the ethnographic research I am currently undertaking at San Antonio’s historic La Trinidad United Methodist Church, which is one of the oldest Tejano (people of Mexican-American descent from South Texas) Methodist churches in Texas. The history of Tejano Methodism is not well documented outside of Methodist church histories and tends to get subsumed by the larger black/white Methodist narrative in the study of American Christianity. Instead of focusing only on church history, my book will take a different approach and argue that Mexican-American Methodists create, preserve, and continue to propagate their own particular history through their own unique material and oral cultures precisely because that history is overlooked by the white United Methodist authorities. In other words, the congregation’s constant affirmation of their own history are acts of both defiance and preservation—and reminds scholars of religious studies that believers can profoundly shape their own historical canon.