Monday, May 9, 2011

“Borderlands and Immigration: The Power of Religious Symbols and the Politics of Resistance”

Harvard Professor Davd Carrasco delivered a provocative and informative lecture at CSUN to approximately 250 students and faculty on April 27th.
Analyzing contemporary issues of borderlands and immigration in juxtaposition to his research on ancient archeological sites and documents in Mexico, Carrasco argued that ancient Mesoamerican religious artifacts and patterns represent a rich heritage of sacred migrations that continues to unveil profound existential and historical identity formulations throughout the Americas.

A centerpiece of his presentation was the Mapa Cuauhtinchan — a 16th century indigenous painting from central Mexico recently investigated by Carrasco and a team of scholars from several disciplines. No simple map, the Mapa is as well an epic narrative of the Nahuatl-speaking people and their divine protectors that emerge out of the primal or primordial cave of Chicomoztoc and embark on a mystical-historical journey. The paths laid out on the Mapa teem with religious symbols, rituals and conflict as they traverse many borders. Carrasco also summarized the symbolic power behind the paradigmatic Virgin of Guadalupe as one who immigrated across multiple worlds. He closed with comments about his recent debate with Samuel Huntington regarding the historical contributions of Latin American cultures to the European and North American diet.

Davd Carrasco holds the Neil Rudenstine Professor of the Study of Latin America with a joint appointment in the Department of Anthropology at Harvard University. Dr. Carrasco has been doing research based on excavations and archives associated with the sites of Teotihuacan and Mexico-Tenochtitlan over the last 20 years.

The event was sponsored by the Religious Studies Department, CSUN Office of Graduate Studies Distinguished Visitors Speaking Program, Chicana/o Studies, and UCLA’s Center for the Study of Religion. Professors Rick Talbott from Religious Studies and Lara Medina from Chicana/o Studies organized the event.