New Latin American studies program presents lecture by Harvard Divinity School professor

Davíd Carrasco. (Photograph courtesy of Harvard Divinity School)

Davíd Carrasco. (Photograph courtesy of Harvard Divinity School)

Davíd Carrasco, a Mexican American historian of religions, offers the inaugural lecture in Bates College’s Latin American studies program at 4:15 p.m. Monday, Sept. 16, in the Keck Classroom, Room G52 in Pettengill Hall, 4 Andrews Road (Alumni Walk).

Titled Origins, Cities and Crossroads: Latin American Studies Through the Lens of a Colonial Mexican Map, the talk is open to the public at no cost. Refreshments will be provided. For more information, please call 207-786-8204.

Carrasco is the Neil L. Rudenstine Professor of the Study of Latin America at Harvard Divinity School, with a joint appointment with the anthropology department in the faculty of arts and sciences. He has a particular interest in Mesoamerican cities as symbols and in the Mexican-American borderlands.

The new Latin American studies program enhances Bates’ stated mission to become a center of learning in today’s global culture. Encompassing multiple approaches to the study of Latin America, the program aims to broaden students’ worldviews, challenge ethnocentric attitudes, expand understandings of diversity and develop tools for cross-cultural communication.

The fields of anthropology, economics, environmental studies, history, politics and Spanish contribute to the major. Focusing on this region that includes Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean, courses in the program explore history, culture, language and politics from initial European encounters to the present.

More about Davíd Carrasco

Carrasco’s studies with historians of religions at the University of Chicago inspired him to work on the question “Where is your sacred place?”; on the challenges of postcolonial ethnography and theory; and on the practices and symbolic nature of ritual violence in comparative perspective.

Working with Mexican archaeologists, he has carried out research in the excavations and archives associated with the sites of Teotihuacan and Mexico-Tenochtitlan. An award-winning teacher, he has participated in spirited debates at Harvard with Cornel West and Samuel Huntington on the topics of race, culture and religion in the Americas. His several collaborative publications include Mysteries of the Maya Calendar Museum with Laanna Carrasco (Cruce de Caminos, 2012).

He was co-producer of the film Alambrista: The Director’s Cut, which puts a human face on the lives and struggles of undocumented Mexican farm workers in the United States, and he edited Alambrista and the U.S.-Mexico Border: Film, Music, and Stories of Undocumented Immigrants (University of New Mexico Press, 2004).

Carrasco’s most recent publication is a new abridgement of Bernal Díaz del Castillo’s memoir of the conquest of Mexico, History of the Conquest of New Spain (University of New Mexico Press, 2009).

He has received the Mexican Order of the Aztec Eagle, the highest honor the Mexican government gives to a foreign national. He has been chosen as University of Chicago’s Alumnus of the Year for 2014

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