Margaret Chowning


Sonne Chair in Latin American History

Margaret Chowning is completing a manuscript entitled "Catholic Ladies and Culture Wars:  Gender, Church, and Politics in Mexico, 1700-1920."  This social, institutional, and political history examines changing roles for women in lay associations, and links those changes to the emergence of Catholic women as important actors in Mexican politics.  It argues that Catholic women not only entered politics much earlier than is generally thought (by the time of the mid-century Reform), but also entered as independent "players," not as pawns of priests.  Women were thus consequential actors within the church, as well as in Mexican politics, and the early strength of their presence on the political scene helps us to understand the continuing importance of the Catholic church in Mexican politics to this day.

Research Interests

Latin America

  • Mexico
  • Late colonial and nineteenth century
  • Women
  • Church
  • Social
  • Economic

Representative Publications

“Culture Wars in the Trenches?  Public Schools and Catholic Education in Mexico, 1867-1897,” Hispanic American Historical Review, November 2017.  

"The Catholic Church and the Ladies of the Vela Perpetua:  Gender and Devotional Change in Nineteenth-Century Mexico," in Past & Present, Nov. 2013.  

Rebellious Nuns: The Troubled History of a Mexican Convent, 1752-1863. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.

"Convent Reform, Catholic Reform, and Bourbon Reform: The View from the Nunnery," in Hispanic American Historical Review, Feb. 2005.

Wealth and Power in Provincial Mexico: Michoacan from the Late Colony to the Revolution. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1999.

"Reassessing the Prospects for Profit and Productivity in Nineteenth-Century Mexico," in Stephen Haber, ed., How Latin America Fell Behind. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1997.

"The Contours of the Post-1810 Depression in Mexico: A Reappraisal from a Regional Perspective," Latin American Research Review 27:2, Spring 1992.

"The Management of Church Property in Michoacan, Mexico, 1810-1856: Economic Motivations and Political Implications," Journal of Latin American Studies, October 1990.

Margaret Chowning


3125 Dwinelle Hall

Office Hours

Curriculum Vitae