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Juan Javier Rivera Andía
Karen Kampwirth
Luisa Elvira Belaunde
Conrad L. Kanagy
Philip Berryman
Eduardo Kohn
Joyce M. Bishop
Ron Loewe
Erica Bornstein
Jose Antonio Lucero
Dean Brackley
Luise Margolies
Steve Brouwer
Daniel Miguez
Michael F. Brown
Pedro C. Moreno
Andrew Canessa
Laurie Occhipinti
R. Andrew Chesnut
Andrew Orta
Christopher L. Chiappari
Eric Patterson
Beth A. Conklin
Donald Pollack
Eduardo Viveiros de Castro
Gabriela Ramos
Marjo de Theije
Joan Rappaport
Manuela Canton Delgado
Susan D. Rose
James W. Dow
Steven Lee Rubenstein
Eduardo Fernandez
Thomas L. Schubeck
Nancy Forand
Timothy Samuel Shah
Carolyn Gallagher
Paul E. Sigmund
Seth Garfield
David A. Smilde
Virginia Garrard-Burnett
David Stoll
Peter Gow
William H. Swatos, Jr.
Christian Gros
Anne Christine Taylor
Vanessa Elisa Grotti
Aparecida Vilaça
J. Bernardo Guerrero
Kay B. Warren
Anne Motley Hallum
Johannes Wilbert
Susan Hawley
Robert D. Woodberry
Janet Wall Hendricks
Robin M. Wright
Jean E. Jackson
Garrard-Burnett, Virginia. Latin American Religion in Motion. London: Routledge, 1999.
Despite its title, this edited volume of collected studies contributed by some of the up-and-coming scholars of religion in Latin
America is an outstanding work. It should be read -- immediately -- by anyone who is interested in religion and modern spirituality.
The editors of this work, Christian Smith and Joshua Prokopy, are primarily interested in how religious behavior, if not necessarily
faith, is shaped by the increasingly pluralized cultural and religious environment, and how religious decisions are made in such a
fluid milieu. In a very strong early chapter with the clever title...
Protestantism in Guatemala: Living in the New Jerusalem. University of Texas Press, 1999.
Canton Delgado, Manuela. Bautizados en fuego: Protestantes, discursos de conversion y politica en Guatemala.
Brown, Michael F. and Fernandez, Eduardo. War of Shadows: The Struggle for Utopia in the Peruvian Amazon.
Guerrero, J. Bernardo. A Dios rogando... Los pentecostales en la sociedad aymara del norte grande de Chile.
Kamsteeg, Franz. Prophetic Pentecostalism in Chile: A Case Study on Religion and Development Policy.
Miguez, Daniel. Spiritual Bonfire in Argentina: Confronting Current Theories with an Ethnographic Account of
Pentacostal Growth in a Buenos Aires Suburb. Amsterdam: ?, 1998.
Orta, Andrew. Catechizing culture: missionaries, Aymaras, and the “New Evangelism.
Smith, Brian H. Religious Politics in Latin America: Pentecostal vs. Catholic.
Steigenga, Timothy J. The Politics of the Spirit: The Political Implications of Pentecostalized Religion in Costa Rica
and Guatemala.
Wilbert, Johannes. Mystic Endowment: Religious Ethnography of the Warao Indians.
The Third Church in Latin America: Religion and Globalization in Contemporary Latin America.
Berryman, Philip. (May-June, 1994). “The coming age of evangelical Protestantism.” NACLA Report on the
Americas. 27(6), 6-10.
Bishop, J.M. (2009). “Those who gather in: an indigenous ritual dance in the context of contemporary Mexican
Transnationalism.” Journal of American Folklore.122(486), 391-413.
For many generations, the Dance of the Cúrpites has been performed annually at Epiphany by young, unmarried men in the
Purépecha (Tarascan) town of San Juan Nuevo Parangaricutiro, in the Mexican state of Michoacán. Ethnographic data suggest that
the dance is an abstract representation of the biblical visit of the Magi, the underlying metaphor of which the dancers enact in order
to express their masculinity and court their sweethearts. Examining possible reasons for the failure of the many dancers who are
migrant workers to recreate the dance in California, the author contends that the context-specific meanings of the dance do not
easily translate abroad. Nevertheless, upon returning home, young migrants embrace the dance as a way to reaffirm their
membership in the community, thereby resolving, if only briefly, the ambiguities of their transnational lives.
Bornstein, E. “Finding faith in development: religious non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Argentina and
Brackley, D.; Schubeck, T.L. (March 2002). “Moral theology in Latin America (notes on moral theology).”
Theological Studies. 63(1), 123-161.
Canessa, A. (February, 2000). “Contesting hybridity: evangelistas and kataristas in highland Bolivia.” Journal of Latin
American Studies. 32(1), 115-144.
Two of the most striking aspects of social change in recent decades in Latin America have been the rise of indigenist movements and
the spread of evangelical Protestantism. To date they have been analysed separately, but this article shows that a comparison of the
two in the context of Bolivia can prove highly productive. Although in many respects evangelismo and katarismo are diametrically
opposed, there are some striking similarities. They draw their adherents from the same social base, undermine the notion of a
homogeneous nation-state and also clearly reject the position of cultural mestizaje at the root of Bolivian state ideology. Thus, at a
time when 'hybridised' cultural forms are supposed to be becoming more common in Latin America and around the world, these two
social movements explicitly contest hybridity.
Chesnut, A.R. (2005). “Witches, wailers, and welfare: the religious economy of funerary culture and witchcraft in
Latin America.”
Chiappari, C.L. (2007). “Culture, power, and identity: negotiating between Catholic orthodoxy and popular
practice.” Latin American Research Review. 42(3), 282-296.
Conklin, Beth A. (February, 1995). “Thus are our bodies, thus was our custom: mortuary cannibalism in an
Amazonian society.” American Ethnologist. 22(1), 75-101.
This article examines the cultural logic of mortuary cannibalism practiced, until the 1960s, by the Wari' (Pakaa Nova) of western
Brazil. Wari' practices are inadequately explained by the materialist, psychogenic, and symbolic interpretations prominent in recent
cannibalism theories. This analysis emphasizes indigenous understandings of the relation of cannibalism to experiences of mourning.
Concepts of the human body's social significance made its destruction important to the working out of grief and the attenuation of
memories of the dead. In a social process of mourning concerned with transforming mourners' images of the dead, cannibalism
appeared as a key element that affirmed ideas of human-animal regeneration and reciprocity expressed in Wari' myth, cosmology,
and eschatology. [cannibalism, body concepts, ritual, death and mourning, Amazonian Indians]
Conklin, B.A. “Consuming grief: compassionate cannibalism in Amazonian society.”
Dow, J. (2005). “The expansion of Protestantism in Mexico: an anthropological view.” Anthropological Quarterly.
78(4), 827-850.
In the last three decades of the twentieth century, many people in Mexico and Central America turned to Protestantism as a new
religion. The greatest increase has been in rural and Indians areas. This article shows that Protestantism in these areas is not a
reaction against the Catholic Church as much as it is a reaction against traditional Indian cargo systems generating political and
economic power. These people are farmers who live in tight-knitted, closed communities that dominate their lives. It has been
difficult for scholars of religion to understand these cultures because the communities are closed to outsiders and many of the people
speak Indian languages. Anthropologists have been more successful than historians at finding the data and discovering why the
people are converting.
Dow, J. “Holy saints and fiery preachers: the anthropology of Protestantism in Mexico and Central America.”
Forand, N. (Summer/Fall 2002). “The language ideologies of courtship ritual: Maya Pentacostals and folk Catholics.”
Journal of American Folklore. 115(457/458), 332-377.
Gallagher, C. (January 2007). “The role of Protestant missionaries in Mexico’s indigenous awakening.” Bulletin of
Latin American Research. 26(1), 88-111.
Garfield, S. (2000). “Recent works on Amazonian Indians.” Ethnohistory.47(3),755-766.
Gros, C. (April, 1999). “Evangelical Protestantism and indigenous populations.” Bulletin of Latin American
Research. 18(2), 175-197.
Hallum, A.M. (2003). “Taking stock and building bridges: feminism, women’s movements, and Pentecostalism in
Latin America.” Latin American Research Review. 38(1), 169-186.
As one moves from the social science literature of religion and politics to the literature of women's movements in Latin America, the
"silence is deafening" regarding the phenomenon of Pentecostalism, a movement primarily made up of women. This article argues
that Pentecostalism does fit into the newer analyses of feminism and women's movements in the region in a much-needed
interdisciplinary approach. The research is a literature review reinforced by field study in Central America. Pentecostalism provides
an arena where women help each other and can learn civic skills to participate in fledgling democracies in Latin America.
Hawley, S. (February, 1997). “Protestantism and indigenous mobilization: the Moravian church among the Miskitu
Indians of Nicaragua.” Journal of Latin American Studies. 29(1), 111-129.
This article examines the role of the Protestant Moravian Church in the politicisation of Miskitu ethnic identity, and on the
mobilisation of the Miskitu against the Sandinistas during the 1980s. It argues that changes in the institution of the Church during
the 1960s and 70s, as a result of state policy, socio-economic context and internal conflicts within Miskitu society, led to
Moravianism becoming a cultural marker of Miskitu ethnicity. At the same time, the encounter with and appropriation of the
pastoral tactics of a Catholic priest resulted in a radicalisation of Miskitu Moravian pastors on indigenous issues. When the Miskitu
came to mobilise against the Sandinistas, the Moravian Church was the expressive vehicle and the institutional means through which
the mobilisation took place. The article reveals how politicised ethnic identities find their expression in religious institutions.
Hendricks, J.W. (May, 1988). “Power and knowledge: discourse and ideological transformation among the Shuar.”
American Ethnologist. 15(2), 216-238.
Language is constitutive of social reality through the constant articulation and reinforcement of significant linguistic concepts,
which give meaning to social relations. Among the Shuar of southeastern Ecuador, discourses on power and knowledge validate the
traditional ideological structure and create a new ideological structure through the mobilization of meaning in political speech that
legitimates relations of domination. Ideological transformation is assisted by a cultural predisposition to seek non-Shuar sources of
technical and symbolic knowledge in the acquisition of power. [Shuar, political change, discourse, ideology, power]
Kampwirth, K. (2006). “Resisting the feminist threat: antifeminist politics in post-Sandinista Nicaragua.” NWSA
Journal. 18(2), 73-100.
In this article I note that one important result of the last several decades of social upheaval in Nicaragua has been the emergence of
active feminist and antifeminist movements. Since there has been significant analysis of feminist organizing, and very little on
antifeminist organizing, the focus of this paper is antifeminism. I argue that the emergence of this backlash movement can be
explained in terms of both domestic and global politics. From a domestic perspective, the movement can be seen as a reaction against
the Sandinista revolution and its aftermath. From a global perspective, it is a response to what antifeminists see as the challenges of
globalization such as feminist successes in international development agencies and the loss of sovereignty due to neoliberalism. It is
also a response to the opportunities provided by globalization such as the emergence of a global antifeminist movement with strong
links to like-minded organizations in other countries. This article analyzes the historical roots of the movement and then considers
the worldviews of the participants in the movement.
Kanagy, C.L. (Summer, 1990). “The formation and development of a Protestant conversion movement among the
highland Quichua of Ecuador.” Sociological Analysis. 51(2), 205-217.
This paper illustrates factors related to a recent Protestant conversion movement among the Quichua Indians of Chimborazo
province, Ecuador. The subordinate status of the peasants within the traditional social order and the subsequent transformation of
that order resulted in a situation of economic privation as well as normative and value disorientation. The Protestant missionaries
and other Protestant development agencies provided the Quichua with educational and economic resources to improve their wellbeing. The relations and new values of Protestant converts provided personal and social stability. The establishment of the
Indigenous Evangelical Association of Chimborazo to represent the religious interests of the Protestants strengthened the movement's
viability. The institutionalization of this organization has transformed its goals to include a strong emphasis on the social and
economic development of the peasants. The future suggests possible effects of nominalism and secularization on the Protestant
Kohn, E. (2002). “Infidels, virgins, and the black-robed priest: a backwoods history of Ecuador’s Montana region.”
Ethnohistory. 49(3), 545-582.
In this article I compare the Quichua oral history of Oyacachi—one of the last autochthonous settlements of the cloud forest of
Amazonian Ecuador—with written and iconographic ecclesiastical traditions regarding colonial-era events. This offers a unique
opportunity to understand momentous political, economic, and religious change and how it is experienced locally. It also reveals the
ways in which different histories are constructed out of shared memories, events, and spaces. Rather than viewing native histories as
present-day constructions, I try to see how oral traditions make history meaningful in ways that do not necessarily obviate their
fundamental connection to the past.
Loewe, R. (2003). “Yucatan’s dancing pig’s head (cuch): icon, carnival, and commodity.” Journal of American
Folklore. 116(462), 420-443.
As a central feature of the annual fiesta, the Maya cuch ceremony and its various transformations have been a staple of ethnographic
description for more than fifty years. Through this investiture ceremony, responsibility for organizing the fiesta is passed from one
religious confraternity to another. Although descriptions of the cuch abound, the ethnography of performance remains fragmented.
Ethnographies tend to privilege or essentialize particular performances and ignore variants that violate the ethnographer's notion of
authenticity. Indeed, the multiplicity of labels in Spanish and Maya used to describe the cuch and its transformations—cuch, k'ub
pol, okostah pol, baile del cochino, etc.—leaves the impression that different enactments or performances bear little or no relation to
one another. In contrast, the present article demonstrates the dialogical relations between various transformations of the cuch—
pious, satirical, and folkloric—as an aid to interpreting more heterodox performances. In particular, following Bakhtin, the author
argues that the rich parody which permeates the k'ub pol—a transformation of the cuch performed on some former henequén
plantations—is invariably lost, or reduced to an innocent burlesque, if one fails to recognize its relationship to more sober,
"Catholic" interpretations of the cuch.
Lucero, J.A. (2006). “Representing ‘real Indians: the challenges of indigenous authenticity and strategic
constructivism in Ecuador and Bolivia.” Latin American Research Review. 41(2), 31-56.
Asking who "really" speaks and acts for indigenous people is an increasingly important political question in Latin America. This
article explores how an "unlikely" Evangelical Protestant Indian organization (FEINE, the Ecuadorian Evangelical Indigenous
Federation) and a seemingly more "authentic" Bolivian indigenous federation of communities claiming pre-Columbian authority
structures (CONAMAQ, the National Council of Markas and Ayllus of Qollasuyo) have grown in representational strength, or the
ability to convince others that they speak for specific constituencies. Through this historically and ethnographically based
comparative political study, I argue that indigenous representation is produced across scales, both from "below" (as communities and
leaders organize and mobilize) as well as from "above" (as elites and opportunity structures favor some groups over others). FEINE
and CONAMAQ present mirror images of the ways in which indigenous people negotiate local-global networks and discourses:
FEINE Indianized Protestant Evangelicalism while CONAMAQ transnationalized local ayllu authority structures. This multi-scale
analysis suggests that how Indians are spoken about transnationally shapes who gets to speak for Indians locally.
Margolies, L. (April, 2006). “Notes from the field: missionaries, the Warao, and populist tendencies in Venezuela.”
Journal of Latin American Anthropology. 11(1), 154-172.
Occhipinti, L.A. “Acting on faith: religious development organizations in Northwestern Argentina.”
Orta, A. (2002). “Living the past another way: reinstumentalized missionary selves in Aymara mission fields.”
Anthropological Quarterly. 75(4), 707-743.
This article examines Catholic missionaries in the Bolivian highlands. I focus on missionary conversion accounts—narratives of selftransformation in the face of their local mission fields—taking these as an analytic opportunity to address the positions of such
global agents as component subjects of Aymara locality. Negotiating preexisting expectations of Catholicism and its representatives
as necessary for the reproduction of local Aymara social life as well as emerging pastoral ideologies with their own expectations of
indigenous locality, the self-transformation experienced by missionaries in the field asserts a reinstrumentalized missionary self as a
plausible translocal subject.
Patterson, E. (2005). “Religious activity and political participation: the Brazilian and Chilean cases.” Latin American
Politics and Society. 47(1), 1-29.
Scholars debate whether the recent conversion of millions of Latin Americans to evangelical Protestantism bodes well for democratic
participation or reinforces authoritarian culture and practices. Using a resource model, this study examines the link between
participation in religious organizations, political engagement, and political participation in Brazil and Chile. Survey data indicate
that religious organizations, particularly Protestant ones, can provide skills that members can transfer to political activity; and that
different religions can result in different politics.
Rose, S.D.; Brouwer, S. (Fall,1990). “The export of Fundamentalist Americanism: U.S. evangelical education in
Guatemala.” American Perspectives. 17(4), 42-56.
Rubenstin, S.L. (August, 2007). “Circulation, accumulation, and the power of Shuar shrunken heads.” Cultural
Anthropolgy. 22(3), 357-399.
In this article, I discuss the changing meanings of tsantsas, the shrunken heads of enemies slain in war, for Shuar, a group
indigenous to the Ecuadorian Amazon. By the time Ecuadorian authorities put an end to warfare in the 1950s, Shuar had
exchanged all of their tsantsas with European and Euro-American collectors in return for trade goods. I focus on the continuing
significance for Shuar of tsantsas, despite their absence, and the impact of the repatriation in 1995 of several heads by the National
Museum of the American Indian. I suggest that, prior to colonization and missionization, Shuar headhunting was part of a larger
system characterized by the circulation of powers that took multiple and changing forms. I further argue that as shrunken heads
themselves began to circulate until they came to rest in Western collections and museums, their meaning was subordinated to a
system in which power rests on the accumulation of values. After their long sojourn abroad, the heads now represent distance: the
distance of contemporary Shuar from their past, and the distance between Shuar leaders and their constituents. The circulation of
tsantsas over the past hundred years thus reveals transnational dimensions of power while simultaneously confounding simple
distinctions between savagery and civilization.
Shah, T.S. (2004). “The bible and the ballot box: evangelicals and democracy in the ‘global south.’” SAIS Review.
24(2), 117-132.
Is the evangelical God a democrat? Are his half a billion worshipers in the "global South" missionaries for democracy—or an
illiberal "new Christendom"? Despite both exaggerated fears and inflated hopes, evangelical Christians in the global South (Africa,
Asia, and Latin America) are unlikely to bring dramatic political change—whether in a democratic or authoritarian direction—to
their unsettled societies. Though evangelicals are assumed to be agents of the American religious right and purveyors of militant
"fundamentalism," their lower socioeconomic status often leads them to consider economics at least as important as "morality" and
consequently to align with left-wing political movements perceived to be pro-poor. Furthermore, their inherent voluntarism,
pluralism, and fissiparousness constrict their unity and capacity to promote any coherent political program, whether that of a new
Christendom or democratic reformism. But these same factors also arguably foster a culture of vigilant dissent and active citizenship
among otherwise quiescent and marginalized groups and in the long run equip evangelicals to play a democratizing role in the
global South.
Smilde, D. (Spring 2004). “Contradiction without paradox: evangelical culture in the 1998 Venezuelan elections.”
Latin American Politics & Society. 46(1), 75-102.
Venezuelan Evangelicals' responses to candidates in that country's 1998 presidential election seem to confirm the view that their
political culture is inconsistent, contradictory, and paradoxical. Not only were they just as likely to support nationalist ex-coup
leader Hugo Chávez as was the larger population, they also rejected Venezuela's one Evangelical party when it made a clientelist
pact with the infamous candidate of Venezuela's discredited Social Democratic party. This article uses concepts from recent cultural
theory to analyze qualitative data from these two cases and make sense of the contradictory nature of Evangelical politics.
Stoll, David. (Winter-Spring, 1990). “Evangelical awakening.” Hemisphere.2(2), 34-37.
Taylor, A.C. (June, 1996). “The soul’s body and its states: an Amazonian perspective on the nature of being human.”
The Journal of Royal Anthropological Institute. 2(2), 201-215.
This article begins by exploring some of the premisses concerning personhood, sociality and mortality underlying the experience and
representation of self in Jivaroan Achuar culture. Although inexplicit and seemingly contradictory, these assumptions combine to
produce an intricate though unspoken theory of what is implied in being a true, live human. Jivaroan sense of self is rooted in the
progressive fusion of a generic, given bodily form and of attributed perception of this same bodily form; the initially anonymous body
image is thus progressively singularized by the memory of the affective moods experienced in daily social interaction. Achuar selfhood
is therefore susceptible to states of weakness and uncertainty, categorized as induced illness, as well as to states of enhancement
brought on by communication with a certain category of spirits. The interactive basis of the set of representations concerning selfhood
leads the author to discuss traditional anthropological ways of dealing with indigenous ideas, and to suggest an approach more
attentive to the contextualization of knowledge.
Theije, M.; Mariz, C.L. (2008). “Localizing and globalizing processes in Brazilian Catholicism: comparing
interculturation in liberationist and charismatic Catholic cultures.” Latin American Research Review. 43(1),
The authors discuss the various ways in which liberationist Catholicism and the Catholic charismatic movement in Brazil take
positions in the overall globalizing and homogenizing cultural forces in universal Catholicism and wider society. They argue that in
their discourses and practices, these two contemporary Catholic movements refer to notions of both local and global and identify with
specific parts of global Catholicism by confronting processes of syncretism, acculturation, and inculturation. Through an analysis of
the meaning of tradition and roots, the use of music, and the practice of pilgrimage, the authors show how both movements manage
the construction of distinctive religious cultures and forms of inculturation in the context of tension between the local and the global.
Woodberry, R.D.; Shah, T.S. (2004). “The pioneering Protestants.” Journal of Democracy.15(2), 47-61.
According to cross-national research, Protestantism has significantly contributed to global democratization. While Protestantism does
not inevitably cause democratization, it often generates social dynamics that favor it. Some of the most important of these are: 1) the
rise of religious pluralism; 2) the development of democratic theory and practice; 3) the development of civil society; 4) the spread of
mass education; 5) printing and the origins of a public sphere; 6) the reduction of corruption; and 7) economic development. The
article explores how Protestant groups, including Protestant missionaries, have promoted these dynamics in the past. It also argues
that contemporary Protestant movements—particularly Pentecostalism—are continuing to do so in the present, though with less
dramatic results.