Davíd Carrasco
Professor, Writer, Lecturer, Activist

Davíd Carrasco at the Library of CongressAbout Davíd

Davíd Carrasco is “a man of our time, a man of enormous vitality and value,” (Carlos de Icaza, the Ambassador of Mexico), who holds the inaugural Neil L. Rudenstine Professor of the Study of Latin America at Harvard University with a joint appointment at the Harvard Divinity School and in the Department of Anthropology of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Carrasco is an award winning author and editor and has received outstanding teaching awards from both the University of Colorado and Harvard University.

Carrasco's creative work in the history of religions has been lauded for its “existential oomph” which has resulted in the celebrated Cave, City and Eagle's Nest (with Scott Sessions) Gold Medal from Publishers of the West, and City of Sacrifice, lauded by Carlos Fuentes as a “brilliant, provocative, timely and eternal book”. He is a leading interpreter of Latino/a cultures and the executive co-producer of the film “Alambrista: The Director's Cut” which puts a human face on the ordeal of undocumented immigration into the United States.

Carrasco lectures widely in the United States and abroad and was awarded the Mexican Order of the Aztec Eagle for his contributions to understanding the history and cultures of Mexico.

more about Davíd


Carrasco Drives Effort Behind Harvard's Eduardo Matos Moctezuma Lecture Series
October 6, 2017

See Davíd Carrasco lead the way in inaugurating the “Eduardo Matos Moctezuma Lecture Series” in Mexico and Harvard. This is the first time in Harvard's almost 400 years that a lecture series in the name of a Mexican scholar has been launched.

read more on gob.mx

The full event

The announcement (length 1:32):

Carrasco and Cornel West Together Again
August 29, 2017

Black/Brown Dialogues in the Future!

HDS Professor of the Practice of Public Philosophy Cornel West delivered the 2017 Convocation address “Spiritual Blackout, Imperial Meltdown, Prophetic Fightback,” on August 29, 2017.

On “Place” and Charlottesville
August 14, 2017

Pay attention to the history of “Place”. What I find largely missing in the critical commentary about the terrible events in Charlottesville is the fact that this is the town and university where Thomas Jefferson, one of our Founding Fathers lived, wrote, owned slaves and produced mixed race offspring—largely based on his white raced privilege. Jefferson's language of “all men are created equal,” often quoted in the last several days, did not mean Africans or African Americans or Native Americans for that matter—nor Mixed Race people for that matter. That the riot (if Blacks had been the majority participants would this be referred to now as a “race riot?”) and killing of Heather Heyer took place in this Virginia town also points us back to this historical place as one place of the OFFICIAL origins of white supremacy in the United States. Paying attention to the “history of place” leads us to think harder about how old, deep and intractable white supremacy is, in the US story.

Carrasco Weighs in: Reza Aslan's CNN Offering Disappoints
April 13, 2017

Davíd Carrasco lecturing

The Huffington Post published an account of Davíd Carrasco's response to an episode of Reza Aslan's show Believers on CNN.

Carrasco dialogues with biologist Brian Farrell about the nature of consciousness.
March 27, 2017

Carrasco appears in an article in the Harvard Gazette following biologist Brian D. Farrell's lecture at the Harvard Museum of Natural History exploring the roots of consciousness.

Video of the lecture is on Facebook. Carrasco's remarks begin at 1:07:45

Carrasco Event with Cornel West Now Available on YouTube
March 15, 2017

Some years ago African American philosopher Cornel West and Mexican American historian Davíd Carrasco met at Sanders Theater, Harvard University, to forge a public dialogue about “Brown and Black” social and intellectual partnerships to help the “new demography become a better democracy.” This phrase, made popular by Carrasco, and its possibilities are under aggressive political and psychological attack by changing policies and familiar forces in the US. Therefore the Black and Brown dialogues, alliances, and organizing between African American and Latino peoples are needed more than ever. Watching these videos will help the partnership develop in elevating and fruitful ways.

Whose Eyes on What Prize: A Black and Brown Discussion of Shades of Invisibility

Texas Recognizes Santos and His Work with Carrasco
February 19, 2017

John Phillip Santos wins Texas Medal of the Arts and shares his work with Davíd Carrasco on the lost Aztec Mapa.

Before there was Flint, Michigan…
November 29, 2016

Davíd Carrasco's ties to Smeltertown, El Paso noted in feature article by Lauren Villagran in OnEarth, the Natural Resources Defense Council's online magazine.

Mexico's Sacred Migrant: The Virgin of Guadalupe as Image and Immigrant
November 3, 2016

Davíd Carrasco to speak (event details) at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 3rd at Youngstown State University as part of the Dr. Thomas and Albert Shipka Speakers Series.

Davíd Talks Trump in the Harvard Gazette
September, 2016

In an interview with Liz Minea, Davíd Carrasco gives his thoughts on the history of U.S.–Mexico relations, examining the Trump candidacy in context.

Read Davíd Carrasco's tribute to his father on this Father's Day.
June, 2016
April, 2016

The research of a former student of Davíd Carrasco has been featured in the Christian Science Monitor. Carrasco's insights in the role human sacrifice in the underpinnings of civilization first published in Carrasco's City of Sacrifice were inspirational to the interpretation featured in the article.

Davíd Carrasco featured in sensational new exhibit on sacred sound and ocarinas at Harvard's Peabody Museum
March, 2016

Large enough to cover its player's face like a mask, this ocarina was probably used for parades.
Photograph © President and Fellows of Harvard College, Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology

The exhibit is a result, in part, of Carrasco's collaboration with the anthropologist/musician Dr José Cuellar who brought these ocarinas and flutes back to sonic life during his semester long work as a Hrdy Fellow at the Peabody.

Carrasco to present the 2015-2016 Andrew Norman Guest Lecture at Colorado College
January, 2016

Carrasco, on January 20th (click here for details), will give an illustrated lecture at Colorado College entitled “Sacred Icon, Sacred Hill: La Virgen de Guadalupe as Migrant Mother and Sacred Bundle” on two types of Mexican sacrality—the ubiquitous image of La Virgen de Guadalupe and the sacred place of Tepeyac where her apparitions first occurred.

Toni Morrison & Gabriel Garcia Márquez—Carrasco Reflects on How They Met in the Gazette
December, 2015

The Gazette recently asked six Harvard professors to discuss their favorite objects. Carrasco took the opportunity to recall a trip to Mexico where he introduced Nobel Prize winners Toni Morrison and Gabriel Garcia Márquez with the help of Carlos Fuentes.

Carrasco at the University of Chicago—Full Audio
November, 2015

Hear David Carrasco, University of Chicago Divinity School's Alumnus of the Year (2014) hold forth about the formation of his own thought as an Historian of Religion working in Mesoamerican cities and symbols. Carrasco tells the story of how he created his distinctive “ensemble” approach by running his own threads of thinking and emotion through the works of the Romanian Mircea Eliade, the African American Charles Long, Mexican poet Octavio Paz and British urban ecologist Paul Wheatley. Follow his storytelling about how his Mexican American identity prepared him to travel with Toni Morrison to Mexico City to meet with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Its worth a listen for as the actor Peter Fonda once said when he heard Carrasco speak at the Santa Fe Film Festival, “I wish I could speak like you. I can only act like I can speak like you!”

Harvard student body singles out Carrasco
February, 2014 (updated April, 2015)

Davíd was chosen as “one of the favorite Harvard professors” by the Harvard Class of 2014.

Read the full text of Davíd's letter to the class of 2014 to be printed in their yearbook.

Update: Download the letter as printed in the yearbook.

December 15, 2014

Description from the author:

“After almost 30 years, my photos of scholars who participated in the annual symposia sponsored by the Moses Mesoamerican Archive and Research Project (MMARP) have been made available in the book: Scholars in Dark Glasses. Photos of MMARP Symposia 1982 to 1994.

“Photos are of the archaeologists, anthropologists, ethnographers, historians of religions, art historians, historians, archaeo-astronomers, and many others from Mexico, the US, Japan, UK, and Europe who contributed to the development of a new direction in the study of the life and religious practices of the Aztecs, Maya, and other ancient civilizations of Mesoamerica.”

“The photos selected for the book are from the Lawrence Gustave Desmond Mesoamerican Archive and Research Project Photographs collection archived by the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles (GRI Special Collections accession number 2014.R.16)”

Scholars in Dark Glasses

See the Scholars in Dark Glasses on the publisher's web site.

October 27, 2014

Tufts University Chaplaincy and the Association for College and University Religious Affairs welcomed Davíd Carrasco, Neil L. Rudenstine Professor of the Study of Latin America at Harvard University, to campus as a keynote speaker for the annual ACURA Conference 2014. He discussed what he calls the “Latino Springtime,” particularly the migration of religious and cultural practices from Latin America and among Latinos.

Watch the video online here.

October 30, 2014

Dr. Carrasco was the subject of a featured profile in this month's EPIC magazine, the magazine of the Independent Physicians Association.

Read the article as a PDF.

October 29, 2014

Russell Banks, whose work has distilled blue-collar dreams into moving, sometimes violent, portraits of struggle and loss, will deliver Harvard Divinity School's 2014 Ingersoll Lecture on Immortality Nov. 5 at Sanders Theatre. Read more...

October 19, 2014

Jorge I. Domínguez, the Antonio Madero Professor for the Study of Mexico and University vice provost for international affairs, acknowledges and puts Carassco's work on the Mapa de Cuauhtinchan No. 2 in context.

Harvard's Mexico Connections in the Harvard Gazette
October 3, 2014

The first in a series on Harvard's longstanding ties to Mexico by Corydon Ireland discusses Davíd Carrasco's contribution including a course he's co-teaching with William L. Fash Jr. called “Moctezuma's Mexico: Then and Now.”

Archaeology Magazine Cover Story Features Carrasco Interview
July-August, 2014

Contributing Editor of Archaeology magazine, Roger Atwood, interviewed Dr. Carrasco in 2012. The resultant article was published in the July-August issue of Archaeology Magazine and relies on Carrasco's contributions.

Read the Archaeology Magazine cover story: Under Mexico City.

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