Category: Religion and Spirituality

Indigenous Peoples, Active Agents

Recently, the Amazon and its indigenous residents have become hot issues, metaphorically as well as climatically. News stories around the world have documented raging and relatively…

Beyond the Sociology Books

If you are not from Colombia and hoping to understand the South American nation of 50 million souls, you might tend to focus on “Colombia the terrible”—narcotics and decades of socio-political violence…

Exodus Testimonios

The audience at Iglesia Monte de Sion was ecstatic as believers lined up to share their testimonials. “God delivered us from Egypt and brought us to the Promised Land,” said José as he shared his testimonio with the small Latinx Pentecostal church in central California…

Poetry and History in 18th-century Brazil

In his presentation of the beautifully published volume, Obras Completas de Alvarenga Peixoto, historian Kenneth Maxwell turns our attention to one of his specialties, the late 18th-century

Religion and Spirituality: Editor’s Letter

Religion is a topic that’s been on my ReVista theme list for a very long time.  It’s constantly made its way into other issues from Fiestas to Memory and Democracy to Natural Disasters. Religion permeates Latin America…

El Salvador, Back in the Day

The glory days are long gone. They began in the 70s. Extraordinary grassroots pastoral work, accompanied by a then-new school of thought known as “liberation

Christianity between Religious Transformations

English + Español
In the second half of the 20th century, Latin America was surprised by religious changes that not only were transforming the religious panorama, but also influencing both society and politics. Beginning in the 1950’s, some in the Catholic Church—not just priests and…

The Mexican Angels in the Attic

Years before I met the Mexican angels in that Chicago attic, my abuela Carlota Carranza Carrasco told me about religion. Carlota was born in Batopilas at the bottom of the Cañon del Cobre in 1896 and crossed the border into El Paso to escape the chaos of the Mexican Revolution in 1912…

Translating the Maya Popol Wuj

It’s the 20th of December and we are in Chichicastenango for its Fiesta Patronal. Just after 3:33 A.M., we are woken up by powerful explosions right above the Hotel Pop Wuj where

Witnessing the Seeds of Liberation

Having first learned about liberation theology in college, I arrived at Harvard Divinity School in the mid 1990s with a desire to deepen my understanding of this historic movement…

Exploring Mexican Judaism

I was shivering on that sunny warm Mexico City afternoon in March 2019.  The climate-controlled archives of the newly inaugurated Colección Centro de Documentación e Investigación de la Comunidad Ashkenazi de México (CDIJUM) were otherwise a delight…

Eusebia Cosme and El Cobre: Performing Sacred Histories

Muddy water rippled like brown skirts surrounding our small boat on the Toa River, where the river meets the sea in rural Cuba. My eyes traced the outline of the trees from the cacao farm where we disembarked, over to the

Water of Life

As I was conducting fieldwork in Brazil in 2014 for my recent book, about half the country was in the first year of a drought that would last through 2017. I was living in Juiz de Fora, a medium-sized city in the state of Minas Gerais, about three-hours inland from Rio…

Rituals of Resistance

When I first passed along the Guatemalan lakeshore to the Cofradía Santa Cruz, where Maximón spends much of the year, I was out walking. I didn’t know where I was…

The Price of Gold

English + Español
I loved to be in the Chocó. My work on a biodiversity conservation project allowed me to travel frequently to the seldom-visited northwest fringe of Colombia. The…

The Body as Layered Divinity

I am a practitioner in the Afro-Cuban spiritual-religious tradition, Regla de Ocha-Ifá. What is the tradition, you might ask? You might be familiar with Regla de Ocha-Ifá as Lukumí…

Sacred Smoke of Copal

Dozens of Mexican-American women stand in front of their computers at awkward angles. Most are muted per proper Zoom etiquette; many have their eyes closed and hands outstretched. Turning to face…

My Ancestors’ Keys

When I was a child in Havana, we lived half a block away from the Patronato, also known as Temple Beth Shalom, the Jewish community center built on the eve of the Cuban revolution of 1959. I was too young when we left Cuba to remember it…

A Quest for Contemporary Maya and Aymara Spirituality and Identity

I remember Coba, Quintana Roo, as a remote and sleepy Maya village in the 1990s, which had to be reached by a good hour-long drive on a narrow road inland from Tulum. We stayed at the Villa Arqueologica, an upscale hotel, at that time the only tourist hotel in Coba…

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