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Emergent Forms of Religious Life in Contemporary Mexico

April 2, 2015 @ 10:00 am - April 3, 2015 @ 5:00 pm

The period once glossed as “Mexico’s democratic transition” (1976-2000), was an era of deep structural changes – politically, economically, and socially – at all levels of society.  These changes are also manifest in the sphere of religious belief, organization, and practice.

In many regions of Mexico, a field of religious choice and competition developed, seemingly in tandem with the new feeling of competition between political parties.  On the other hand, the development of a drug economy, and government infiltration by drug organizations at local and in some instances state levels, has also transpired alongside the development of new religious sensitivities – most famously in the Santa Muerte cult, but also in subcultures of drug organizations such as the Caballeros Templarios (“Knights Templar”) in Michoacán.

“Emergent Forms of Religious Life in Contemporary Mexico” aims to develop a preliminary exploration of the broad theme of emergent religious forms in Mexican public life.  We hope to address new narratives and social practices developed to cope with everyday life in a society that has undergone such rapid and deep transformation, the nature of engagement of contemporary religious organizations and trends in Mexican public life, and the proliferation of cult-like organizations that do not take on expressly religious forms, but may have kinship with them, such as Michoacán’s Knights Templar, Dianetics, or even the culture of pyramid scheme-like organizations such as Herbalife.

The full schedule is available here.  Panelists and participants will include:

José Carlos Aguiar, Leiden University Institute for History
Roberto Blancarte, El Colegio de México
Judit Bokser, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
Andrew Chesnut, Virginia Commonwealth University
Alyshia Galvez, Lehman College, CUNY
Carlos Garma, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Iztapalapa
Cristina Gutiérrez Zúñiga, El Colegio de Jalisco
Claudio Lomnitz, Columbia University
Graciela Mochkofsky, New York University
Kevin O’Neill, University of Toronto
Carolina Rivera Farfán, Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social
Hugo José Suárez, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico
Renée de la Torre, Universidad de Guadalajara

This conference is free and open to all.  Registration is appreciated, but not required.  Please register now through this form.

A live video stream of the conference will be available here during the day of the event.

An audio recording of the conference is now available here.

Co-sponsored by the Institute for Religion, Culture and Public Life and the Center for Mexican Studies at Columbia University.


April 2, 2015 @ 10:00 am
April 3, 2015 @ 5:00 pm
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Buell Hall, Maison Francaise
515 West 116th Street
New York, NY 10027 United States
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