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February 17, 2012 / Charlie McNabb

March 2010 paper: Commodification of Devotion: The Virgin of Guadalupe in Popular Culture

I presented the following paper at the Western States Folklore Society conference in 2010.


What happens when religious objects enter the mass market? The Virgin of Guadalupe has exploded in popularity and her image can be found on mugs, t-shirts, key chains, and purses. The same item might be purchased by an ironic hipster and a true believer. This paper explores the ways in which mass production affects religious devotion, specifically focusing on the Virgin of Guadalupe in the United States and Mexico.  I investigate consumption, audience, and vernacular religion through a cultural theory lens, discussing examples from my own experience and those of my research informants.

View paper: Commodification of Devotion.

As part of the presentation, I showed 160 images illustrating the Virgin’s popularity in mass culture.  Here are a few highlights, from my personal collection:


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