The Latinx Borderlands: Heterotopic Saints and Lived Religion

Pseudo saint figurines besides headshot of Daisy Machado

 The Latinx Borderlands: Heterotopic Saints and Lived Religion
Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022
Ahmanson Auditorium (UH 1000)
4 p.m. PT

We welcome participation in-person. Reception to follow. 

  • The Latinx Borderlands: Heterotopic Saints and Lived Religion

    This lecture presented by the American Academy of Religion American Lectures in the History of Religions as part of the Bellarmine Forum will examine how lived religion is shaped by the particular context of the U.S. Latinx borderlands. The borderlands, a heterotopic space, provides the context for the creation of devotion to saints that is itself heterotopic. These saints, sometimes called pseudo-saints, are seen as transgressive and problematic for Roman Catholic orthodoxy as well as the Mexican state yet they attract great loyalty and devotion from their followers. How do we understand the devotion to these heterotopic and transgressive saints like Santa Muerte in the context of the borderlands, a location that only amplifies the realities of life marked by impoverishment due to the lack of basic civil (human) rights such as safety, healthcare, employment, housing, food? Is it possible that Santa Muerte, dubbed a “narco saint” by the media/state, truly does represent hope to a population that Claudio Lomnitz argues has an “increasingly tenuous relationship to the state”?

    About the Bellarmine Forum

    The Bellarmine Forum is LMU's annual celebration of the life of the mind, offered by the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts. The 2022-23 Bellarmine Forum will reflect on ​the themes of previous ​forums and ​explore the evolution of ​the work ​that has been undertaken at LMU and in our communities at large.

  • Daisy L. Machado, professor of church history, Union Theological Seminary

    Daisy L. Machado serves as Professor of Church History. Her scholarship focuses specifically on United States Christianities. She is the first U.S. Latina ordained in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in 1981 in the Northeast Region and has served inner city congregations in Brooklyn, Houston, and Fort Worth.

    From 1996-1999 Dr. Machado served as the first Director of the Hispanic Theological Initiative a $3.4 million project funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts to increase the presence of Latina/o faculty teaching in seminaries, schools of religion and religion departments around the country. From 2002-06 she served as the Chair of the Board of the Hispanic Summer Program an innovative masters level program currently supported by over 30 seminaries and schools of theology. Dr. Machado was also Luce Lecturer in Urban Ministry, Harvard Divinity School, Cambridge, Massachusetts and Lecturer at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, Dallas, Texas, teaching a class on “Latina/o Spirituality and Medicine.” In July 2008 she was invited to serve as chaplain for Week 3 of the Summer Season at the Chatauqua Institute, making her the first Latina to serve as chaplain. Her daily sermons were preached to a gathering of over 600 participants every day. In spring 2010 she presented the keynote address for the Institute for Lived Theology held at the University of San Diego, California, titled “Borderlife and the Religious Imagination.”A native of Cuba, Dr. Machado was raised in New York, lived in Texas for twenty years, and lived in Lexington, KY for two years, where she served as Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Lexington Theological Seminary. Dr. Machado has a great interest in the concept of “borderlands,” which is a multilayered word that not only refers to a specific geographic location, but for Latinas and other women of color also refers to a social, economic, political, and personal location within the dominant culture. She is also a strong advocate for a comprehensive reformation of current U.S. immigration laws, especially now that Arizona has enacted SB 1070.

    Dr. Machado’s current research and writing project focuses on the Prosperity Gospel in the U.S. Latino Protestant communities with a special look at the G-12 Movement, which has been imported from Colombia. Her course CH333, “Religious Movements from the Margins: A Look at the Prosperity Gospel in the U.S.,” introduces the student to the development of the prosperity gospel ideal in the U.S. religious landscape and how this ideal has played out historically in racial ethnic communities.

    Dr. Machado’s publications include numerous chapters in anthologies, encyclopedias, journals, and magazines. She has also lectured in Mexico, Venezuela, and Germany, and has keynoted at many Disciples of Christ Regional as well as church-wide Disciples events.

    Dr. Machado is also involved the early stages of a longer-term research project with Dr. Evelyn Parker of Perkins School of Theology, Dallas, called “God Behind Bars,” which seeks to investigate and interpret the religious reality of Latina and African American women inmates. A first consultation was held at Perkins in May 2009 and a second at Union in August 2010. Each consultation gathered recently released female Latina inmates as well as prison chaplains, social workers, and selected directors of church-run prison ministries, to talk about religion and the religious life of incarcerated women of color. A second phase of the project will involve interviewing African American and Latina inmates who are incarcerated.