Benjamin D. Reed

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Major Field: Latin American History
Other Fields: 
Cultural Studies; Religious Studies; Gender Studies
Cynthia Radding

MA Indiana University
PhD University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2016

Research Interests

My dissertation project, currently entitled “Devotion to Saint Philip Neri in Colonial Mexico City” is a social and cultural history of preaching, seen through the lens of the Oratorian devotional movement in Mexico City from roughly 1650 to the end of Spanish imperial rule in Mexico. I trace the processes of growth and change within the movement through a variety of sources including printed literature by and about Oratorians; diocesan and parish-level archival documentation; Inquisition case files; account books of notaries public; college and university annals; and the case files of Mexico City’s civil and criminal justice systems. My research engages three primary arenas of academic debate. I examine the corporate structure of the Congregation of Oratorians formed in Mexico City as a site for gendered analysis of Catholic devotion. The ideas and behaviors promoted through Oratorian devotion, in turn, represent how Mexican Catholics engaged with broader early modern philosophical debates about individuality and identity through the contradictory discourses of sacred and secular culture. Comparing these corporate and individual identities produced through the Oratorian movement, I hope to shed new light on how Oratorians used preaching to significantly shape the formation of patriotic culture and historical writing in colonial Latin America.

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