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Frank Graziano, the John D. MacArthur Professor of Hispanic Studies at Connecticut College, has received a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship to study Mexican devotional paintings and the cultural context in which they are created. The $50,400 award will allow Graziano, an expert on Latin American religious cultures, to complete textual research, ethnographic fieldwork and collections research for his upcoming book, "The Art of Gratitude: Mexican Votive Painting and the Miracle of Everyday Life."
The book will be published by Oxford University Press. "The Art of Gratitude" will explore retablos - Latin American devotional paintings - and the cultural context in which they are commissioned, produced, offered, displayed and viewed. It is a continuation of Graziano's study of popular Catholicism in Latin America, which began with his 2006 book, "Cultures of Devotion: Folk Saints of Spanish America" (Oxford University Press). The first book in any language to provide an overview of folk saints, "Cultures of Devotion" has been adopted as required reading at colleges and universities across the United States.
"I am particularly interested in retablos as extraordinary works of folk art; as components of complex beliefs, rituals and material culture that constitute Mexican expressions of popular Catholicism; as an archive of social history; and as indices of a belief system that is conducive to miraculous intercession in everyday life," Graziano said.
In addition to "Cultures of Devotion," Graziano is the author of "The Millennial New World" (Oxford University Press, 1999), which surveys apocalyptic, messianic, millennial and utopian thought and action throughout the course of Latin American history, and "Wounds of Love: The Mystical Marriage of St. Rose of Lima" (Oxford University Press, 2004), which received wide critical acclaim for its rigorous and innovative scholarship. This project is 100 percent federally funded.