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

Davíd Carrasco lecturingNews

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.

Carrasco's article The Paradox of Carnival in Harvard's ReVista
April, 2014

Find Carrasco's article The Paradox of Carnival in the Spring edition of ReVista: Harvard Review of Latin America.

Carrasco featured in Harvard Magazine
April, 2014

Carrasco's teaching is featured in this Harvard Magazine article on active learning.

Carrasco featured in The New Yorker magazine
December 23, 2013

Davíd Carrasco lecturing at the School of American Research in Santa Fe, New Mexico
Davíd Carrasco is featured on page 91 of James Carroll's profile of Pope Francis Who Am I to Judge in the December 23, 2013 issue of the New Yorker.

In a series of interviews and speeches in the first few months after his election, in March, Pope Francis unilaterally declared a kind of truce in the culture wars that have divided the Vatican and much of the world. Repeatedly, he argued that the Catholic Church's purpose was more to proclaim God’s merciful love for all people than to condemn sinners for having fallen short of strictures, especially those having to do with gender and sexual orientation. His break from his immediate predecessors is less ideological than intuitive, an inclusive vision of the Church centered on an identification with the poor.

University of Chicago names Davíd Carrasco Alumnus of the Year 2014
January 2014

From the University of Chicago:
Every year, the Baptist Theological Union presents the Divinity School Alum of the Year Award to a Divinity School graduate. The award recipient is chosen with the following criteria in mind: excellence of work and continued contributions to the person's field; recognition and influence beyond the person's immediate sphere; and embodiment of the Divinity School's goals and values, and the range and extent of its educational programs.

Our 2014 Alumnus of the Year is Davíd Carrasco (ThM 1970, MA 1974, PhD in the History of Religions area, 1977). He will give his Alumnus of the Year address on Thursday, April 24, 2014, at 4:30 p.m. in Swift Lecture Hall with a reception to follow. He will also deliver, at noon that same day, the Spring Quarter Dean’s Craft of Teaching Seminar.

Read the complete announcement.

Corporation for Public Broadcasting to fund 3 hour Documentary on Mexican cultural contributions
January 2014
Carrasco will be involved in the production of a Cruce de Caminos 2–3 hour documentary on Mexican cultural contributions. The project recently announced a development grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

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