This course explores religion in Latin American countries from the pre-Columbian era to the modern day. Central to these explorations are investigations into the numerous religions that have been practiced within Latin American societies and how these religions have changed over time. With European contact in the late 15th and early 16th centuries, Catholicism and Christian ideologies were brought to the Americas resulting in the dramatic change of the religious landscape of the region. These changes did not happen overnight, were not uni-directional, and cannot be reduced to assimilated or hybrid forms of Christianity. Rather, a complex matrix of religious beliefs and practices were integrated into the daily lives of people of all classes and castes in interesting and complicated ways. This course seeks to track the religious milieu of Mexico, Peru, Brazil, and the Caribbean, paying particular attention to Indigenous and African influences on religion, and gain a better understanding of not only the cultural beliefs of the region but also the powerful influence of religion on society at large.


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