The Inconvenience of Chocolate: Disciplining the Society of Jesus in Seventeenth-Century Mexico
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.
Williams, Danielle Terrazas. 2021. "The Inconvenience of Chocolate: Disciplining the Society of Jesus in Seventeenth-Century Mexico." History of Religions 60(4): 325-357.
University of Chicago Press
History of Religions
Latin American Studies