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Border medicine : a transcultural history of Mexican American curanderismo / Brett Hendrickson.

  • Hendrickson, Brett
  • Books

About this work


"Mexican American folk and religious healing, often referred to as curanderismo, has been a vital part of life in the Mexico-U.S. border region for centuries. A hybrid tradition made up primarily of indigenous and Iberian Catholic pharmacopeias, rituals, and notions of the self, curanderismo treats the sick person with a variety of healing modalities including herbal remedies, intercessory prayer, body massage, and energy manipulation. Curanderos, "healers," embrace a holistic understanding of the patient, including body, soul, and community. Border Medicine examines the ongoing evolution of Mexican American religious healing from the end of the nineteenth century to the present. Illuminating the ways in which curanderismo has had an impact not only on the health and culture of the borderlands but also far beyond, the book tracks its expansion from Mexican American communities to Anglo and multiethnic contexts. While many healers treat Mexican and Mexican American clientele, a significant number of curanderos have worked with patients from other ethnic groups as well, especially those involved in North American metaphysical religions like spiritualism, mesmerism, New Thought, New Age, and energy-based alternative medicines. Hendrickson explores this point of contact as an experience of transcultural exchange. Drawing on historical archives, colonial-era medical texts and accounts, early ethnographies of the region, newspaper articles, memoirs, and contemporary healing guidebooks as well as interviews with contemporary healers, Border Medicine demonstrates the notable and ongoing influence of Mexican Americans on cultural and religious practices in the United States, especially in the American West"-- Provided by publisher.


New York : New York University Press, [2014]

Physical description

xvii, 233 pages ; 24 cm.

Bibliographic information

Includes bibliographical references and index.


Part I Contact and Combination -- 1 Hybrid Healing in the U.S.-Mexico Border Region 19 -- 2 American Metaphysical Religion and the West 37 -- Part II Saints and Spirits -- 3 Curanderismo in the United States 61 -- 4 Channels of Healing 86 -- Part III New Directions in Curanderismo -- 5 Mexican American Healing and the American Spiritual Marketplace 113 -- 6 Reclaiming the Past and Redefining the Present 140 -- 7 Curanderismo as Transcultural Religious Healing Tradition: Problems and Possibilities 172.


  • English

Where to find it

  • LocationStatus
    History of Medicine
    Open shelves

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  • 9781479834785
  • 1479834785
  • 9781479846320
  • 1479846325