12-14 October. Raping Latinas

On Monday we discussed the various relations of presence/absence (in the case of the Virgin from the life of Jesus, in the case of a mother from the life of a child, as we saw last week) and of violence, and the role of church leaders in the happening of domestic violence.

Take one point from the discussion, and relate it to one of the websites or videos I asked you to watch or browse on Wednesday.

Please, note that the link for “Existe ayuda / Help exists” is broken. This is the live one:,competence%20and%20accessibility%20of%20services.

Please, post your reflection by Sunday at noon.


5-7 Oct. Transnational Matters

Xavier Albarran, 9, and his mother, Erika Albarran, pray during the Litany of Saints at a Mass celebrated July 27 by Bishop David R. Choby of Nashville, Tenn, for the dedication of Sagrado Corazon Church at the Catholic Pastoral Center in Nashville. The 3,300-seat worship space is part of the 220,000-square-foot facility that the Nashville Diocese purchased in 2014. (CNS photo/ Rick Musacchio, Tennessee Register)

This week we have discussed different aspects that matter to better understand the adjective ‘transnational.’ We focused on two readings regarding transnational motherhood, which related to previous discussions we held on fertility, devotion, abnegation, family, gender roles, and faith; faith in divine figures, in oneself, in the community around one, in the State, in the Nation, in the changing of a national setting.

Draft a comment on one of these questions: a) your understanding of transnational motherhood, and its correspondences with transnational daughterhood / sonhood; b) the importance of considering transnational fatherhood a significant element of immigration and international relations; c) the bearing of poverty, hope, and walking away from poverty in the matter of transnational parenting.

Try to post your comment / meditation by Saturday at 8PM.


28-30 Sept. Home, Homeland, Homeland Security

This week we devoted Monday to discuss connections between home, homeland, and homeland security. Travels through borders, life journeys, and transits between the original home, the homeland, and the new home, that one where for Latinas the Department of Homeland Security awaits and changes all border lines. We considered how religion, faith, devotion, spirituality, and religiosity travel through borders. Reverend Martel guided us through the dysfunctional GPS travels of her return to her homeland to find that time, space, and other parameters of her Evangelical religion did not work as they do in the mainland. Borrego and Menjívar laid out important definitions of legal violence at the border, and we considered how those interacted with motherhood, that event related to the same, and not, fertility that we have discussed for some of the sacred female figures about whom we have read.

On Wednesday, those present in class bravely shared their thoughts on the final research project. Bravo! Mega brownie points to those of you there, who spoke out. We also learned about resources, and the Research Guide that Phil MacLeod has kindly and generously put together especially for our seminar. Call on him, please.

For this week, please write a reflection on one of these two days: one, on the issue of home-homeland-homeland security; or two, on your final research project. Questions, concerns, ideas, musings.

Given how late I got to posting this, I am not going to impose a deadline on you. My apologies for this delay, know that time of delivery of your post for this week will be at your own pace. If you already drafted your post and were just waiting for the prompter, post as soon as you can. Otherwise, think about this and post whenever it is possible for you, knowing that in the next few weeks you will have other postings coming up. Happy posting!


21-23 Sept. Migration and Devotion

This week we initiated discussions about bodies in motion, based on the articles assigned and on videos we partially watched in class. We considered bodies that moved between Chicago and the DF, and back, to join the First-or-Second Tepeyac from the other in the case of the Guadalupanas; to move into the woods, into smoke, or into the waters in order to be infused with the spirit of María Lionza; or to dwell in the back-and-forth motion of interorality, between verbal and non-verbal, between the scriptural and the performative, and between land and the waters of the ocean, to bring an offer to Yemayá, perhaps with Oshún, Oya, and other deities from the Lucumí-Yoruba pantheons.

On Wednesday, we also embarked ourselves in a different kind of motion, that of the comparative methods. We initiatied a discussion about the complexities of good comparativism (apples and oranges, well compared), and started the comparative chart of all the female figures we have so far discussed.

For this week’s blog reflection, choose one thread of religious / spiritual meaning from one of the deities we studied and discussed this week, and one from previous weeks, and offer a comparative reading of them. Comparative reading 101: you shall not offer a tit-for-tat journey. Namely, you shall not seek to find ALL analogous traits; some of the best comparative work dwells in, and analyzes, contrasts and differences, to find links hidden below such disparities.

Please, post your reflection by Saturday at 8PM at the latest, so you can shift your focus to the readings and questions for next week. Good weekend, everybody!


14-16 Sept. In Sickness, In Health

This week we discussed the many ways in which three female figures are associated with fertility, race, religion, gender, motherhood, marriage, nature / earth, more-than-human entities and environments: La Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre, Oshún, and Pachamana.

Today we wondered how these female figures represent not only icons to be adored from without, but how they may be or are, indeed, present in our surroundings, in our lives, even when we do not invoke them or name them. We also discuss how, in their being of love, they represent the matter of ancestry or precursors.

Write a blogpost in which you meditate on how reading, discussing, and learning about and from Cachita, Oshún, and Pachamana help you answer the questions a) where is the more-than-human in my life? and b) who are or where are my precursors? You do not have to answer these questions (life quests, after all), but write up a comment on how these readings and ideas we discussed this week help you seek some answers in thinking about those question.

Try to post your blog entry by Saturday at 8 PM. Happy dwelling, thinking, writing with these three fabulous womanly figures!


7-9 September. Blood and Honor

This week we discussed the ways in which blood corresponds with honor, and how these are intertwined with religion–in particular, with Christianity–capital, gender, state, and race. We considered how these correspondences change, or not, in history, and how they are integral in particular to the formation of the Vampire States of Spain and the United States.

Choose one of these points of correspondence and comment how it helps you articulate a clearer vision of strength, purity, and the body to better understand Latinas and religion. Try to post your blog entry by Sunday at noon.


31 August-2 September. Fleshing Bodies

This week we began to tease out elements of of ‘the body’ in the title of our course. On Monday we engaged questions of sinfulness, Christianity, relationality, race, imperialism, colonialism, and coloniality to ‘flesh bodies’ with Mayra Rivera. On Wednesday we read two very different pieces by Padilla and Barreto that added questions about submission, family, self-negation (or abnegation), ethnicity, history, gender, and comunidades de fé, among others. The story of the Guadalupe (which we shall return to when we discuss migration and the diasporic communities of Guadalupanas in the US and México) illustrated the complex network of angles and perspectives that must be engaged to grasp the purity and strength of Latinas in Religion.

With this in mind, write a reflection on which of these issues, questions, and stories inspired a better understanding of ‘the body’ of Latinas in religion.

Try to post your reflection by Saturday at 8PM, remembering that this is a suggested deadline, so you can then pass the page and move on to the next set of questions we’ll contemplate next week.


24-26 August. Latinas, Latinos, Religion

This week we dug deeper in the definitions of Latinas / Latinos and Religion that we began drafting last week. On Monday, in the Pew Research Center report we read about Latinx shifting religious identities from a Catholic block to Protestant religions, especially Evangelical and Pentecostal, as well as lapsed professions of religion. This image, our icon for this week, which represents seven orishas from Afrocuban iconography, speaks volumes about that.

We then discussed Pineda’s take on Feminist Foremothers, and discussed the importance of learning about for the first time, or remembering differently, women who have been either manipulated or forgotten by historical accounts of latinidad. On Wednesday, we learned or reviewed with Michelle González a handful of critical concepts developed to understand the humanity of Latinas (what a concept, we are people!) and religion: the covery / discovery of the Americas; colonialism and coloniality; the importance of history (with Pineda); how Latinas occupy different subject position and identities; nepantla or the third space, and others.

Tell us which one (or ones) of these premises, arguments, or concepts have helped you initiate a path to study Latinas and Religion this semester. This is not intended for you to have to commit ONLY to that premise, argument, or concept, but to touch base with your own memory and see what is sticking for now. You can change this later.

Please, post your blog entry by Sunday at 8pm at the latest.



On Wednesday this week, our first day of classes, we each said a few words about who we are and why we came to this class, and where we are. We are all in the midst of this pandemic, but we are coming together to learn and to prevail. At least, that is my hope.

We also began teasing out various concepts, definitions, and assumptions about Latinas and about Religion. I mark those with capital letters so we recognize them as signs we are going to keep defining, resisting, debating, and learning with.

I invite you to post your reflection on that exchange, whether it is your own thoughts on defining Latinas and/or Religion, or telling us a bit more about why you came to take this class, what you hope or expect to learn with the group between now and December, or how you think that this class may help you strengthen (maybe also purify?) your toolbox for life.

Try to post your reflection by Saturday at 5pm. If you cannot by then, please try to do so some time next week. We are going to be posting weekly, and this notebook will be one of my guides to see and appreciate your learning growth this semester.



Welcome to the Fall 2020 seminar “Latinas and Religion.  Purity, Strength, and the Body.”  We begin with this image of a Cuban devotee of the Virgen de Regla, which in the Lucumí tradition is also Yemayá, the goddess of water.  We shall return to them and other women of latinidad and religion throughout the semester.

This is the space where we are going to post weekly reflections on our readings and class discussions.

Every week I’ll send a prompter on Wednesday afternoon to ask you to think about our week’s think and dialogue work.

We all can read everyone else’s post, and we can comment on each one’s reflections.  This is not required, but in reading the comments and commenting on each other’s writings, we can create a tighter thinking community.

I very much look forward to our doing so in the next three months.  Welcome.