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Editor's Note: Many of Dr. Guy Bensusan's articles
were unpublished at the time of his death last October. Other writings
are awaiting editorial assistance to integrate themes from personal dialogs,
list serves, notes, and unfinished works. His stories distill the essence
of his explorations and ideas about learning. He encourages us to adapt
and experiment with his ideas rather than to imitate them.
"What I offer is not a foolproof chart, it is my personal blueprint.
It comes from a professor trained in history and experienced in teaching
humanities, arts and culture courses.
I do not offer my path as one to be imitated. Only I can be Guy Bensusan. Rather
I hope that the ideas, principles and tactics described will be considered,
molded and adapted, adjusted and modified by each navigator to his or
her specific desires, locations, areas, needs and goals. I sincerely hope
they will be useful as springboards for experimentation."
Applying The Hexadigm
Imagine you plan a project explaining Mexican poetry, discussing village
agriculture or evaluating some local festival. As you begin your study,
what would you do to get started? Recalling my own university days, I
would immediately have headed for the library card catalog to look up
some books and magazine articles to read -- but that was before I invented
As student, I went after information first, rather than taking
some time at the outset to consider a context into which that specific
data might fit and relate. Now, as professor, I see the importance of
first establishing the framework and surrounding circumstances, and also
recognize that I am responsible for helping students become aware of "the
big situational bowl of conditions, events, persons, spectrum and dynamics."
Therefore, rather than going to the library first, I would now, as an
older "student," think about the Hexadigm and how its interrelating
precepts would apply to my assignment.
What would I think about, specifically? I would start with reminding
myself of the six-part pattern:
I would then work up an outline that started with the first layer in
the Cultural Sequences and remind myself that in the above matter of poetry,
agriculture or a village festival, Indians approached those subjects in
one fashion while the second cultural layer of Spaniards approached them
differently. In similar fashion, the subsequent layers of Africans and
Chinese, Later Europeans and the 20th century globals appended their divergent
colorations. Added together, the total would lead to an evolved vision
of how things got to be the way they are today.
After dealing with the Cultural Sequences, I would consider the basic
mutual influencing which would have come into play when Spanish culture
affected and was affected by Indian culture -- adding each mutual influence
stratum in ever-expanding ripples as layer after layer of cultural sequence
appeared and settled in.
Then I would contemplate the geography part: a notable differentiation
of climate, topography and resources -- factors which are variously felt
in the several regions of Mexico, based on the elevation, the location
in relation to areas of influence or importance, on the condition of being
rural or urban, on the ratio of ethnic mixtures, the closeness or remoteness
from Mexico City, Puebla, Veracruz and the main colonial era trade corridor
from Acapulco to Veracruz, and so forth.
Next I would remind myself of the Modernizing Technologies side of things.
I would consider the time-frame of my topic, and the state of technology
then. That means, for instance, the level of manufacturing or industry,
the circumstances of printing and distribution of knowledge, an awareness
among the local people of what was being done elsewhere, ease of access
by travel which would bring new people into the scene, or availability
of new information from the outside world: features that would alter the
pace of cultural change, or keep it static.
After that I would examine how changes in conditions then brought about
Expanded Comprehensions, either in a growing awareness of new ideas or
continued reinforcement of older ones, or with conflicts over how things
should be accomplished or which procedures and styles were being considered
Finally, I would consider the Revised Interpretations, the new explanations,
defining of things that had arisen, were argued about, and in some cases
were accepted at the time of the event I was studying. I would also pay
attention to the conflicts in intellectual life that are going on today,
both in terms of the academic discipline as well as interpreting the past.
I would particularly keep in mind that the reference books and informational
tools of today would reflect our own intellectual atmosphere, and therefore
would direct my thinking towards one or more "schools of interpretation."
and only then would I do research in the library.
I know it seems like working backwards -- I also know it is possible
to create a topic-oriented project without doing it. But, there are four
powerful reasons for pursuing this multilevel procedure in this course:
- The HEXADIGM is an alternative paradigm or pattern which has been
created for the purpose of dealing with multicultural arts and culture
in a way that goes beyond mere relativism.
- By using this alternative model, you will learn to "CONTEXTUALIZE,"
which is, after all, one of the prime characteristics in being able
to THINK CRITICALLY AND CREATIVELY.
- By relating your topic to a cultural context, you will analyze, compare
and evaluate as you develop the audio-visual presentations you are required
to present over Interactive Instructional Television.
- By working towards these goals, you will advance beyond the reactive-descriptive
level on the ladder, and will broaden your abilities rapidly -- your
effective GROWTH is the only standard I use for grading.
Some possible areas of study, ranging through the university curriculum,
Archaeology and Ethnology
Architecture and City Planning
Biology - Botany - Zoology
Business - Marketing - Advertising
Costume and Clothing
Consumers and Consumption
Dance, Gestures and Body Language
Economics - Resources - Workforce
Education, Schools and Universities
Etiquette, Proprieties and Manners
Festivals and Celebrations
Folklore and Folkways
Food, Drink, Cuisine
Forests and Products
Games, Toys and Sports
Health, Healing and Medicine
History and Interpretation of the Past
House, Home and Family
Indian or Native Studies
Jewelry and Metalwork
Labor and Organization
Language, Structures and Dialects
Literature and Poetry
Manufacturing and Industry
Markets and Fairs
Military, War and Defense
Museums, Study Centers, Archives
Music (Folk, Art, Religious, Popular, Autochthonous)
Myths and Legends
Painting and Sculpture
Politics, Structure and Organization
Pottery, Basketry and Weaving
Religion and Church
Sciences and Technology
Tales and Stories
Theater, Mime and Stage
Transportation - Roads, Rails and Wings
Water and Resource Uses
As working examples to illustrate some of our pre-research thinking,
let us focus upon the following four areas:
- Painting and Sculpture,
- Architecture and City Planning,
Each is a big and important subject, each is a distinctive humanistic
art form and each is intertwined with others. People communicate, they
move about in an organized materially constructed set of patterns, and
they ideologically-spiritually envision the universe and its rules in
which they function. However, instead of my writing an essay about each
of these several areas, I wish instead to pose some questions and ideas
that may evoke some thoughtful, organized construction for a project context.
If we start with Cultural Sequences, what can we say about the languages
of the first peoples, the second peoples, and the inter-blending that
would come about when they met? When we did this in music we established
some topical criteria that we could use to make comparisons with. For
instance, we used: (1) musical scale, (2) musical instruments, (3) emphasis
on melody, (4) emphasis on harmony, (5) emphasis on rhythm, (6) stylistic
elements, (7) what meters were primarily used, and (8) what ways was the
voice generally used.
When we considered foods, we divided things into several food groups
by kind and point of origin. We listed ways of preservation, methods of
preparation, and types of ordinary daily as well as special festive customs.
With clothing, we looked at what was worn, how it was adorned, the various
types of materials, adaptation of clothing necessary for warmth, occupation,
or festival rites, sources and diversifications, trends and cycles in
fashion, and similar elements.
Then what should we do to contextualize language? What are essential
features we can use as points of comparison? Subtopics might be grammar,
syntax (or sentence arrangements), vocabulary, language families or roots,
tonalities, non-verbal cues, the territorial extent of usage, and so on.
Consider vocabulary; what is it called in Spain and what is it called
in Mexico, or beyond that, in Regionally Diverse parts of Mexico?. Another
aspect is what happens to the vocabulary in "mutual influences?"
Some place names are obvious at first glance -- the Nahua Popocatépetl
and Citlaltépetl as opposed to the Spanish Pico de Colima or Nevado de
San Pedro. Likewise, in Spain they call an avocado "palta" while
in Mexico it is "aguacatl." Tomato is easier; the native "jitomatl"
became "tomate." Peanut was "cacahuatl" in Mexico
and became "maní" in Spain.
How about intonation? In many places in Spain, Spanish is spoken with
a rapid pace and with little rise and fall in tone. Many Spaniards say
they can recognize Mexican Spanish immediately because the "Mexicans
sing when they talk" -- that is, the intonation is noticeable
from the perspective of the listener, whose intonation does NOT go
up and down.
There are also special usages, such as the Mestizo diminutive of "ito,"
which is not common in Spain. In similar fashion, the augmentative word
"enormous" in Spain is said as "grandíssimo," in Mexico
it is "grandote."
What others can you think of? For instance, what might happen to the
Spanish language in political circles when the Hapsburg (Germanic) Dynasty
died out in 1700 and was replaced by French Bourbons related to Louis
XIV? The first Spanish Bourbon king was Philip V, who assumed the Spanish
throne in the early 18th century, bringing to Madrid a large entourage
of economists, politicians, governmental officials, military men, artists,
personal staff, musicians, theater and dance folk, and various hangers-on.
Given the power elitism of high court circles, French customs would have
affected language in Madrid almost immediately. Some Spaniards might have
snickered about it, or objected to the Frenchification, but the way real-life
works, you don't laugh at the boss with impunity. Thinking about the spread
of the French effect, how long would it have taken for such language intonations
and vocabulary to disseminate into the largest provincial cities in Spain,
plus into the capitals and chief cities of colonial government overseas?
With culinary Regional Diversity, one can eat one's way from one end
of the Mexican-US border to another, finding that the salsa changes from
lots of tomatoes and onions near San Diego to very spicy, red and green
mixes with lots of cumin, coriander and garlic on the New Mexico line,
into a pure, fiery, chopped or pureed jalapeño liquid near Matamoros on
the Gulf coast.
Moreover, the names of the dishes change -- a flauta in one place is
a taquito in another and a pícaro elsewhere; the same applies with tostada,
chalupa and gordita. From those, what can we assume about French vocabulary
as one moved from one province to another across Mexico? Where would French
likely be stronger, where weakest, and where in the various in-between
For Modernizing Technologies, how about universal public education, rail-bus-air
transportation, radio, movies and television? What effects for language
maintenance or for transformation have they exercised and continue to
have? One may now buy audio and videotapes to help learn one's own language
as well as foreign languages. They used to emphasize standard speech,
but that has changed; regional dialects are now available.
Here we might ask, "How do we perceive the Hexadigm continuing to
encompass an explanation of language evolution as well as assisting, through
the marvels of modernizing technologies, our ongoing expanding comprehension
about language, plus helping us revise our comprehensions about what language
really is and how it constantly evolves?"
This type of awareness might be enlightening for those advocates who
demand laws be passed and enforced to prevent "our English"
language from changing, or to force non-English speakers to abandon their
languages and speak only English. Perhaps a good question would be "Which
English will we adopt? When I taught in Western North Carolina in 1985-1986,
I struggled to train my ear to understand the "different" pronunciation,
intonation and vocabulary. And does this response point out my own biases?
PAINTING AND SCULPTURE:
If we apply the Hexadigm to art forms, what are some categories? One
could be materials; what are they using to make paintings and sculptures
with; what do they paint on, or paint with, how do they make the paints,
what colors do they use, and what do they use to bind the color to the
surface? Navajo sand painters, for instance, travel far to get special
rocks and minerals for their art colors, while Acoma potters walk (there
are no roads) to distant and secret locations to find the precise clays
With sculpture, the question would be what sort of stone or wood,
bone, metal, sand, brick or other substances are being used -- and how
does that choice relate to what is found in the immediate locale in contrast
to what must be brought in from afar. Michelangelo brought marble from
Carrara to Florence and Rome in the performance of his work; the texture,
density, color and quality of marble (and other rock) varies from place
to place. If we think about jewelry as sculpture, then the idea of using
shells from a far-off coast or colored stones from a distinctive but remote
site gives a different value and quality to the jewelry-making act, as
opposed to simply using local materials.
What of tools that are used: the old traditional types versus those made
possible by the new modernizing technologies, like sledge hammers versus
pneumatic jack-hammers, or chisels versus chain-saws, or hand-drills,
versus electric drills versus lasers, or smoothing and polishing by using
stone-on-stone versus sand-blasting or power-buffing. Battery-operated
miniature tools now allow professional artists and home-hobbyists to do
highly delicate work.
Another subtopic might be, "what is the subject matter?" What
is depicted, and how does it function for that society in a literal, figurative
or symbolic fashion? For hunting peoples, as an example, is a deer merely
a pretty animal to be seen in the wild or a practical commodity to be
hunted and eaten? Is the deer regarded as a fellow-being we share space
and life on the earth with? A "Bambi" from the Disney cartoon?
A "trophy" to be taken as a display of prowess in hunting, giving
social stature to the hunter? Or is the deer one member of a larger harmonious
system of life's balance whose existence serves the whole, and whose removal
must be apologized for? All of these perceptions are appropriate to specific
conditions and therefore alter the meaning of the actual sculpture.
The same could be true of "color." Where do the ideas of blue,
green or red come from and what do they mean or imply -- and exactly what
shades or tones of those "colors" are used? Are they merely
coloration? Or does the color relate to a specific object or commodity
which makes the color more symbolic of something else, thereby allowing
the painter to express ideas on more than one level at the same time?
Examples here might be blue for sky and a covering mantle, green for plants
and living growth, red for blood and therefore fire or war or life.
Challenges to easy interpretation arise when the color symbologies of
two or more sets of cultural sequences come together, are compared and
mutually influence each other. Then the yellow of Indian corn, representing
earth's bounty and the gift of the gods becomes contrasted with and/or
confused with the Spanish and European yellow of gold, implying richness
of another sort in buying capacity, political power and possession.
With corn, Indian farmers collaborate with nature, exchanging labor and
cultivation for harvest and sustenance. With gold, miners either pick
up the alluvium or dig holes and take the ore -- the mineral bounty of
"Mother Nature" is extracted, with no wish to later replace
Moreover, "arts" ideas of Africans, Later Europeans and subsequent
Globals also get added into the overall mix of the centuries. In each
case there are conditioning inheritances and traditions from the remembered
culture -- what was thought and believed in the earlier place -- which
means shapes, symbols, colors, icons, surfaces, textures, substances.
These add to the savor of the stew as well as to the interpretation of
meaning posed from various cultural perspectives. Certainly the condition
and heritage of each group in the Sequences along with their experiences
in the new land help to account for the way they perceive the art objects,
both their own and those of other groups in the developing American society.
Developing and changing conditions also have effect. Regional Diversity
means that all the basics for "making art" will not be encountered
equally in all places -- resources, access, techniques, traditions, families
of artists, demand, and so on. That, along with the diverse experiences
brought about by varied elevations, climate, location, racial mixtures,
ways of life, etc, will contribute to dissimilarities in artistic products
from different locations.
Modernizing Technologies help make it possible to create art out of manufactured
materials, while more rapid transport hastens accessibility and expanded
verbal-visual ideological communication, in turn bringing external ideas
to local persons, influencing thinking and artistic creativity. The rapid
growth of audio-visual aids make it possible to see and consider (albeit
out of live context) various global arts from your own living room and
Contrast that type of Arts Education with what our great-grandparents
had. Does it not suggest expansion of comprehension, leading almost inevitably
to revisions of one's interpretation about what art, painting and sculpture
truly are and do, and how they have variously evolved?
ARCHITECTURE AND CITY PLANNING:
What do you build with? In Northern Arizona and New Mexico, ancient Indians
created Pueblo Bonito and Wupatki out of natural red sandstone which came
in layers and was easily stacked in a land where earthquakes did not topple
such things. In warmer southwestern climates, Indians dug pit-houses,
placing upright juniper poles around the periphery to support a roof covered
with brush. Sometimes walls would also be made from brush and long sticks,
which would then be covered with mud. Others mixed mud with corn-husks
and cobs into rectangular adobe blocks to be sun-dried for later stacking.
Farther south, in wetter, rain-drenched lands, leaves and fronds kept
one dry, while centuries of MesoAmerican evolution gave rise to cities
and centers whose enormous pyramidal constructions seemed to copy surrounding
volcanoes, especially around Teotihuacán, near Mexico City, which lay
on a frontier between agricultural lands and the drier regions of the
north where hunting groups abounded. In such places, igneous rock was
quarried, shaped, transported, carefully oriented, mounded, embellished
and painted for festive, commercial, sacred, as well as strategic purposes
-- and about which we are still learning.
Euro-African-Asian Mediterranean developments, conversely, came from
a series of different early architectural or constructional experiences.
Egyptians developed monumental constructions from huge quarried blocks.
Near-Easterners used bricks made in their relatively rockless alluvial
plains, while Greeks established temples from cut and carved rock. Each
established-urban or ceremonial complex was planned to suit the purpose,
while architectural concepts became categorized into principles of post
and lintel, columnar synthesis, and arch, vault and dome under the practical
Later Medieval additions included religious architectural extendings
of Catholics and Moslems into high-arched cathedral and tiled mosque styles,
culminating in Renaissance architecture and city planning (after the Crusades
and territorial "purification" of the faith helped royal states
such as Spain and Portugal to emerge).
Mutual encounter by all of these in the New World therefore brought building
and purpose into a conflict which would be immediately won by the invaders,
whose destruction of Aztec (and other) temples created both location and
the building materials which would be used in the construction of new
(now Catholic) "temples" for the victor, and signifying the
overthrow of the vanquished gods as well as their human followers. (Some
folks prefer to believe American Indians were influenced in their building
by early trans-Atlantic voyagers, but there is little proof for this,
and it certainly is not a necessary precondition for understanding Early
Still, after the colonizers arrived, it was the vanquished Indians who
continued to quarry stone, move it to the desired location, shape it,
construct the new buildings and decorate the interiors. A walk through
Mexico's and Peru's Catholic cathedrals and churches with attention to
decoration clearly indicates that the "conquest" (in an ideological
sense) was limited.
Though Spanish edicts commanded that their religious buildings be built
in accord with the floorplan and style of Seville's cathedral (reputed
to be the largest in Christendom outside of Rome's St. Peter's), the execution
never was carried through. Instead, many Mexican churches (and others
in Latin America) are monuments not only to mutual influences, but to
the ongoing ideology of Indians perpetuated in symbologies that the Europeans
have interpreted (erroneously) as evidence of Catholic conversion.
Cultures came and influenced in sequence; Aztecs had expanded their island's
central ceremonial complex with a surrounding orderly labyrinth of canals
and chinampas (anchored rafts of gardens), producing the city's food.
Spaniards transformed that with commercial, governmental and religious
structures laid out in a different pattern, and dominating the former
Indian cityscape -- the farms were now on the outskirts.
With the arrival of Later Europeans after Independence, especially the
French, the older quadrangle pattern of downtown was expanded by creating
Paris-style tree-lined, multi-laned, diagonal boulevards, particularly
the Avenue of La Reforma, leading to the imperial castle in Chapultepec
Heights. The word itself, "boulevard," is French and not Spanish.
Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Santiago (Chile) and many other cities share
that Gallic pattern.
Modern architecture developed a new phenomenon. Instead of piling stone
on stone from the ground up, skeletons of steel are erected so that glass
and masonry walls can be draped from the I-beams, high above city streets,
though dangerously at risk in the city's earthquake-and-smog-ridden environment.
And the farms are having to be ever-farther away, even if their produce
hurries to town on roads and rails.
Regional Differences also functioned: big capital versus provincial town
versus frontier settlement versus isolated mission; sea coast, island,
plateau, mountain, valley. What was land worth, where would construction
occur, who did the work, what were the prior traditions, what materials
would be used and where would they come from, what purposes would the
buildings serve, what money was available for construction and maintenance?
These matters helped augment the extraordinary differentiation which
so intrigues students of Mexican architecture and planning. Despite variations
of form, some consistency of theme and idea are to be found everywhere
as the unifying concepts of the faith found expression in stone and wood.
But modernizing technologies in industrial smoke and gases as well as
the pollution of the personal and public traffic of twenty million may
bring about extinction of modern life in that capital. The splendid beauty
of city gardens and nearby mountains, highly visible in 1950 and 1960,
is now obscured and foggy with smoke, grime, black soot, as well as ever-increasing
crushes of people. Clearly Mexico City, as well as Puebla, Guadalajara,
Morelia, Monterrey and other metropolises cannot continue to develop without
some relief and change; another challenge to Expanding Comprehensions
and Revised Interpretations.
Take the first layer of the Cultural Sequences; Indians had their own
beliefs, which we can subdivide into the bloodier Aztec type and the more
bird-and-flower-oriented Quetzalcoatl-Topiltzín variety. This most likely
represents an evolution of Pre-Conquest population-flows over millennia.
Moreover, according to scholar June Nash and recent archaeological evidence
from the Templo Mayor, a pre-existing female-focused religion existed.
Beliefs and organization were community-centered and strongly formalized,
with rather strict rules of conduct.
Lesser gods existed within many natural elements, and while it was believed
that cycles of existence would terminate every fifty-two years, there
was also emphasis on the interrelationship of persons to the god or elements
of nature. Thus all beings had responsibility, and as plants and animals
gave up their spirits to be "utilized" (including eaten by humans),
men and women also were expected to give up their lives for the well being
of the gods. The human sacrificial aspect of this seems most troublesome
(repugnant?) to Christians. At the same time, it is now recognized that
more humans were sacrificed in the Roman Colosseum after Christianity
was adopted, than before: suggesting that members of the same faith who
previously were in the arena now became the viewers!
Without seeming to excuse the Aztecs, two factors should be kept in mind.
The Aztec era was one of rapid expansion, with religion playing a major
unifying and militarizing role. Religion here may very well mean "tribal
or community way of life" rather than church as a social institution
one attends on Sundays. Aztec soldiers were expected to capture (rather
than kill) enemies in battle so they might be sacrificed to Huitzilopochtli.
In fact, one was promoted to higher military orders based on the number
captured; a feature of very significant social, political, military and
Also, any historical documentation we read on Indian Religion comes
from the perspective of Spanish Catholics, who saw things from a different
worldview, conditioned earlier by centuries of fierce struggle against
"heretical" Moslems and who also necessarily rationalized the
destruction of the powerful politico-religious foundation of the society
they were trying to conquer. We, as Indian or Non-Indian, are descendants
of the events five centuries later -- we will probably never be able to
see the situation in a truly balanced and objective manner. We are partially
trapped, intellectually, by the books in our libraries.
The subsequent layer in the sequence was Spanish Catholic, highly organized
in Spain, with a Spaniard as Pope, coming from a long heritage of religious
struggle against what was termed "heresy" in the case of Islamic
Spaniards, and at least "major dissent" (if not outright apostasy)
in the case of Spanish Jews and Gypsies. Both groups were ordered expelled
from Spain in 1492 as a result of strong urging by Inquisition leaders
that Spain rid itself of deviancy in order to be pure and strong.
Sixteenth Century Spanish American Catholicism was ironic: filled with
orthodox militant zeal, yet permeated with countless (and uncountable)
secret practitioners of other faiths who rapidly moved into frontiers
of conquest, later settling in remote parts of colonies and becoming "crypto-Jews,
Gypsies and Moslems." These matters are increasingly well documented
by Abraham Chanin's Southwest Jewish Study Center at the University of
Consequences of the immediate encounter disestablished Aztec practices
and destroyed temples, with Catholic cathedrals and churches built on
top of them, just as the new Catholicism in Indo-America would superimpose
itself on Indian foundations. Secular and regular clergy under an Archbishop
of Mexico would build churches and missions throughout the land, would
influence expansion, education, commerce, health and medicine, care and
training for Indians, governing policies and many other socio-cultural-intellectual
aspects of life.
Still, mutual influences played a major role. Indian beliefs, ways of
worship, festive activities and ideological principles deeply affected
the outworking of Catholicism in Mexico. The degree of synthesis and syncretism
is almost impossible to perceive -- one is always at the mercy of one's
own perception and sources of information. To read the words of clerics
and missionaries, Catholic Conquering Conversion was a major and thorough
success, but then, they had their own ideas and purposes; they may well
have considered the formality of mass baptism sufficient.
Later, in the 18th century, other clerics became convinced that the effort
had failed, and that Indians would never become good citizens in the Spanish
fashion. However, the later clerics were at a different time, with a different
set of challenges to their authority and had their own distinctive agenda
in public pronouncements. We cannot take them at face value, either. Reading
studies by pro-indigenists today, one concludes that most Indians kept
on with their own ways, merely changing the names, as in Tonantzín to
It is also clear that African-derived religious practices were felt in
Mexico. Mulatto or Americanized-African santería customs are better
known and publicized in Caribbean Islands and shores, but they also exist
along Mexico's eastern lowlands, northward into Louisiana. As in the cases
of crypto-Judaism and crypto-Islam, Black Catholicism is an embryonic
focus of academic study, and we will know more in time.
By the era of Independence, the power of Mexico's Church was enormous:
many of the highest officials holding significant secular power. In fact,
that tends to be one major difference in the thinking of North Americans
and Latin Americans. When the word "Church" is mentioned, the
former tend to think in terms of beliefs, creeds and a social community
attending services in a building, rather than governmental power. Latins
tend to think much more in political rather than doctrinal terms, making
it somewhat difficult to have a religious discussion because each party
has a different definition and set of assumptions.
Later Europeans, even Catholic ones, began arriving in the 19th century,
long after the decline of Vatican power and prestige. Napoleon's influence
was far more secular than religious, the church in nearly all western
European states having been subordinated to the crown or central government.
In Europe, Protestantism had become a very significant force, even though
it would not penetrate into Latin America in any meaningful way until
late in the nineteenth century.
The rise of European-based and also home-grown religious denominations
in the United States as well as enthusiasm for the expansion of Manifest
Destiny resulted in large numbers of missionaries entering Mexico and
Latin America. In the early days they encountered much governmental and
popular resistance. On the one hand, xenophobia or dislike of foreigners
played a role, where hatred of Yankees was deep-rooted because of the
horrors of the Mexican American War. At the same time, the depth of popular
tradition perpetuated the strength of Catholicism, at least in name. Many
governmental officials were suspicious of North American religious evangelizers,
fearing additional losses to their northern neighbor in spite of their
own hostility towards Church power -- seen thoroughly in the Cristero
Rebellion of the 1920's.
The real explosion of conversion away from Catholicism would not occur
until motion pictures, along with radio and television evangelism in the
twentieth century, most especially after 1950 -- one more illustration
of the impact of Modernizing Technologies, but also a testimony to the
major dissatisfaction by Mexican Catholics against unsatisfactory socio-political
conditions in their own country. The act of leaving the traditional faith
and joining one that comes from the outside is, after all, a deliberate
political statement and action.
Finally, it should be clear that we have merely scratched a few surfaces
of four disciplines of study in these few pages. Much more could be said
and worked out logically if we were methodically to work our way through
the six elements. The Hexadigm must be considered as being merely one
tool for our use, helping us find ways to explore the larger picture and
context about a discipline of study and its relation to other aspects
of the total culture being considered.
At the same time it continually shows us that the thing called cultural
heritage is a if not the totality and that politics, economics,
art, literature and others are subordinate to and a part of that much
broader feature, The Cultural Heritage. Just as there is no History without
Geography, and no language without art and music, there is no Culture
without People, Ideas, Practices and Evolution -- all are components of
I hope the six-part structure will continue to help you expand as well
as organize your thinking. However, as with any tool, it is a methodology
rather than a "Truth" in its own right.