300 Word Abstract of My Thesis

The doctrinal basis and history of each individual order can provide a basis for understanding why missions under those Orders used art in the ways they did and how much accommodation they made for pre-contact indigenous frames of reference. Because the Dominicans were founded on strict discipline and precise knowledge of the Bible, along with their recent reformations, they were the most strict and have the least examples of cultural partnership. The Franciscans, while having a more open basis founded in understanding and preaching to the poor, the same reforms that created a stricter Dominican Order heavily influenced the Franciscans as well. So, because the basis for the Franciscan Order was more open and less strict, that explains why there was some cultural negotiation between the Franciscans and the Chumash. But, their history of corruption and reformation, explains why it did not occur to the extent that it did with the Jesuits. Finally, because the Jesuits had the least amount of history as they were a brand new order at the start of the missions to the New World, they were able to function without as much strictness, discipline, and orthodoxy. Furthermore, the Jesuit doctrinal basis allowed room for accommodation and emphasized the ministry, while still rejecting coercion as a means. So, because the Jesuits had doctrinal room for accommodation among the indigenous and not enough time to fall into corruption that would have led to stricter policies, there was more evidence of cultural partnership in art on the Jesuit missions.

This is important because it provides a new lens for evaluating art created on the missions and gives insight into why art at certain missions may have shown more or less cultural partnership.


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