The powerful centrifugal force in his anthropologi cal theory hovers across the

The powerful centrifugal force in his anthropologi

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The powerful, centrifugal force in his anthropologi- cal theory hovers across the spiritual- transcendence spectrum: the nation serves as the community’s onto- logical foundation. Religion, argues Anderson ( 1983 ), was one of the great affective sources from which the nation drew its seductive power. For millennia, <i>Keywords for Latina/o Studies</i>, edited by Deborah R. Vargas, et al., New York University Press, 2017. ProQuest Ebook Central, . Created from nyulibrary-ebooks on 2019-10-01 22:02:13. Copyright © 2017. New York University Press. All rights reserved.
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n A t I o n A L I s m r a ú l C o r o n a d o 148 Christianity had offered humanity in the West an “imaginative response to the overwhelming burden of human suffering” ( 10 ). The power of religion, Anderson claims, was in its “attempt to explain” loss, grief, and pain. Likewise, Christianity “responds to the obscure intimations of immortality, generally by transforming fatality into continuity. In this way, it concerns itself with the links between the dead and the yet unborn, the mystery of re-generation” ( 10 11 ). Religion provides on- tological meaning, certainty, and truth, akin to Jacques Derrida’s concept of metaphysics of presence, as “that which makes possible an absolutely pure and absolutely self- present self knowledge. . . . God’s infinite under- standing is the other name for the logos as self-presence” ( 1997 , 98 ). Thus, where Christianity had offered access to transcendence, a buoyed sense of fullness and belong- ing, to the eternal for millennia, that relationship began to fracture, collapsing ever more with each succeeding wave of thought that chipped away at Christianity’s he- gemony: the Protestant Reformation, the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, and, finally, the demise of monar- chical rule and rise of republican government (C. Taylor 2007 ). In the process—and to be very clear, through no tautological causation, only pure accident—this uni- versal human need to access transcendence cathected itself to the nation as an alternate source of ontological certainty. The nation was imagined, constructed, nar- rated into existence, as Homi Bhabha famously riffed on Anderson’s thesis (Bhabha 1990 ). It became what is true, authentic, real, undeniable, something to be fought for and, if necessary, to die for. It is elusive, emotional; it inspires and unites; it divides and causes unspeakable, unpardonable sins. During the wars of Spanish-American independence, revolutionary creoles sought to shift the people’s loyalty from Catholic monarchical rule to newly imagined re- publican nations. Their task, far from easy, required a reworking of a Spanish-American imaginary that had constructed their world on a concentric model of be- longing that paralleled Catholic political philosophy’s account of sovereignty (Annino and Guerra 2003 ). If the secularization thesis offered above—the one be- ginning with the Reformation and ending with the Enlightenment—holds for the northern Atlantic Prot-
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