Department of Religious Studies

Conferences & Current Trends

Conference: Transnational Religion in Contemporary Latin America and the United States
January 26-27, 2006

Held at the University of Texas, Austin, on January 26-27, 2006, this conference sought to interrogate how religion and globalization are intertwined within transnationalized societies, from the perspectives of both the "sending" and the "receiving" countries, and to explore how church affiliation and church institutions react to and against the twin elemental forces of transnationalism and globalization. The conference took as a point of departure the notion that religion is unusually well suited to transnationalism, since colonial Catholicism could be considered the first truly transnational entity in Latin America.

Conference: Is God Brazilian? Christianity and New Religious Movements
February 17-18, 2005

The conference "Is God Brazilian? Christianity and New Religious Movements", took place at the University of Texas, February 17-18, 2005. The purpose of the conference was to provide U.S. and Brazilian scholars a forum in which to interrogate the rapid expansion of non-traditional forms of Christianity in Brazil that has taken place over recent decades.

The theoretical bases for the conference included 1) an exploration of Philip Jenkin's notion of a dynamic new, but highly conservative, "Southern Christianity," witnessed in contemporary Latin America and Africa; 2) a consideration of the theories of religious pluralism within the context of rational-choice theory, in terms of which religions are associated with which forms of individual and group social progress or mobility; and 3) an assessment of not only domestic religious syncretism and hybridity, but also the "glocalization" of recent global trends in religion, such as the adaptation of televangelism in Brazil, transformed into a global expansion of the new hybrid forms of broadcasting conducted by the Igreja Universal do Reino de Deus in Brazil, Mozambique and elsewhere.

The conference was sponsored by the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies, the Brazil Center of LLILAS, and the Department of Religious Studies of the University of Texas.