The Mexico, Americas and Spain (MAS) program organizes the annual Alvarez seminar, a series of lectures and events designed to examine a critical theme or issue that is applicable to the Mexican, American and Spanish world.

Last year the topic of the Alvarez seminar series was “Social Justice, Human Rights, and Song on the World Historical Stage: Chile canta al mundo,” focusing on Chilean music and artists influenced by the political turmoil that affects  their country. This year the topic is “The Sacred and the Mundane: Religious Practice and Belief in the US-Mexico Borderlands.”

Each year, professors from all of the various departments submit a proposal for an idea, and the MAS program selects one of the topics. Angela Tarango, professor of religion, submitted this year’s topic and organized a number of scholars to come to Trinity to give lectures as part of the series. Tarango’s own research is on Native American religion in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands.

“The idea is to highlight nontraditional religious practices in this part of the country that are mostly Latino and U.S.-based in the U.S. borderlands. Instead of focusing on large institutional groups such as the Catholic Church, we are looking at popular belief and what regular people do and what they believe,” Tarango said.

Tarango gives a preview of the four Alvarez seminar events in February:

Monday, Feb. 2: Brandon Bayne, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

“The Bones of Padre Kino: Missionaries and Memorialization in the Borderlands.” The lecture will be about the pilgrimage to Padre Kino’s body in Arizona, a journey embarked upon by Latinos and Native Americans alike.

Monday, Feb. 9: Maria Del Socorro Castañeda-Liles, Santa Clara University

“Do You Know That Men do not Menstruate? The Life Course of Silence of Mexican-Origin Women.” This scholar will examine the relationship between the way Latinas understand their body and sexuality, as well as their connection to the Catholic Church.

Monday, Feb. 16: Arlene Sanchez-Walsh, Azusa Pacific University

“La Economia De Dios: Almavision & the Latino/a Prosperity Gospel Movement.” The event will cover the rise of Latino televangelists in the border region.

Monday, Feb. 23: R. Andrew Chesnut, Virginia Commonwealth University

“The Reliable Reapress: Santa Muerte, the Skeleton Saint.” The final event will explore the relationship people have to the nontraditional female Saint of Death.

“It’s a really great opportunity for Trinity students to see scholars at large universities come in and give a lot of nuance to something that isn’t always explored deeply by students; most students don’t have exposure to these practices because many of these traditions are outside of institutions. They are not the regular things that many will commonly see,” Tarango said.

All the events will take place at 5:30 p.m. in Northrup 040. Contact Angela Tarango for more information at atarango@trinity.edu.