Title

The Inconvenience of Chocolate: Disciplining the Society of Jesus in Seventeenth-Century Mexico

Abstract

This article traces over one hundred years of a campaign against chocolate use in the Mexican province by Jesuit leadership in Rome. The Fathers General posited chocolate use as their "worst enemy" in the Spanish colony. I argue that their angst about chocolate drinking highlights greater anxieties around governance and discipline throughout the seventeenth century in one of the largest overseas dominions of the Society of Jesus. This article clarifies previously presented notions of Jesuits and their involvement with chocolate through a close analysis of hitherto unexamined sources. It disrupts the historiographical interpretation of Jesuits as supporters of the indigenous beverage-a generalization that has led to mischaracterizations of the Society of Jesus. Instead, the movement against chocolate serves as an important lens to better understand challenges to Jesuit authority, in particular, and proselytization in the colonies, more broadly.

Publisher

University of Chicago Press

Publication Date

5-1-2021

Publication Title

History of Religions

Department

History

Additional Department

Latin American Studies

Document Type

Article

DOI

10.1086/713589

Language

English

Format

text

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