Hispanic Heritage Month Reading

Some Suggested Titles from AAR's Reading Religion

Reading Religion is an open book review website published by the American Academy of Religion. The site provides up-to-date coverage of scholarly publishing in religious studies, reviewed by scholars with special interest and/or expertise in the relevant subfields. Reviews aim to be concise, comprehensive, and timely.

Below, the editors of Reading Religion have selected some books and reviews from the site and have shared some titles available to review. If you’re interested in reviewing books for Reading Religion, take a look at the guidelines. If there are any books missing from the Reading Religion site that you think should be there, email [email protected].

Reviews to Read

Street Scriptures: Between God and Hip-Hop

By Alejandro Nava

From the review:

“Referencing historical events like the Zoot Suit Riots in Los Angeles and social movements like the civil rights movement, Nava demonstrates how religion, culture and history are intertwined. By articulating a street theology that features rappers and emcees as prophets, Nava fills a religious void felt by the disenfranchised and forgotten youths of modern-day America.” - Kate Roberts

Prosperity Gospel Latinos and Their American Dream

By Tony Tian-Ren Lin

From the review:

“The bedrock of this book is the author’s intimate ethnographic research. . . . This style of research yields highly personal portrayals of Prosperity religion, offering readers a grassroots perspective beyond the well-trodden media products of leading preachers like T. D. Jakes or Kenneth Copeland. Lin valuably analyzes the everyday beliefs, exercises, and relationships comprising Latino immigrants’ Prosperity faith.” - Tucker Adkins

Guarded by Two Jaguars: A Catholic Parish Divided by Language and Faith

By Eric Hoenes del Pinal 

From the review:

“. . . I came away with a vivid and memorable picture of this small community in Guatemala based on Hoenes de Pinal’s field research. While this micro-picture is valuable in itself, the author rightly contends that it can also serve as a model to view other Catholic communities that also contain distinctive—though not necessarily conflicting—ideologies and identities.” - Peter Admirand

Atando Cabos: Latinx Contributions to Theological Education

By Elizabeth Conde-Frazier

From the review:

“[Conde-Frazier]  considers her vast experience as an educator within the Latinx culture to offer a variety of educational and theological elements that could contribute to the current needs of theological education in the US. . . . [The book] offers important educational and theological elements that could attend to the challenges of theological education in the current American context.” - Luis Tapia Rubio

Religious Transformation in Maya Guatemala: Cultural Collapse and Christian Pentecostal Revitalization

Edited by John P. Hawkins

From the review:

“[This] is the kind of book that could have only been born out of extraordinary efforts and circumstances. The fruits of John Hawkins’ long career examining Guatemala’s social and cultural changes at the fin de siècle are on full display here, and one can also intuit the passion and dedication to grounded ethnographic research that he has fomented in his students.” - Eric Hoenes del Pinal

Available for Review

Circuits of the Sacred: A Faggotology in the Black Latinx Caribbean

By Carlos Ulises Decena

From the publisher:
In Circuits of the Sacred Carlos Ulises Decena examines transnational black Latinx Caribbean immigrant queer life and spirit. Decena models what he calls a faggotology—the erotic in the divine as found in the disreputable and the excessive—as foundational to queer black critical and expressive praxis of the future. Drawing on theoretical analysis, memoir, creative writing, and ethnography of Santería/Lucumí in Santo Domingo, Havana, and New Jersey, Decena moves between languages, locations, pronouns, and genres to map the itineraries of blackness as a “circuit,” a multipronged and multisensorial field. A feminist pilgrimage and extended conversation with the dead, Decena’s study is a provocative work that transforms the academic monograph into a gathering of stories, theoretical innovation, and expressive praxis to channel voices, ancestors, deities, theorists, artists, and spirits from the vantage point of radical feminism and queer-of-color thinking.”


Pilgrimage to Broken Mountain: Nahua Sacred Journeys in Mexico’s Huasteca Veracruzana

By Alan R. Sandstrom and Pamela Effrein Sandstrom

From the publisher:
“An ethnographic study based on decades of field research, Pilgrimage to Broken Mountain explores five sacred journeys to the peaks of venerated mountains undertaken by Nahua people living in northern Veracruz, Mexico. Punctuated with elaborate ritual offerings dedicated to the forces responsible for rain, seeds, crop fertility, and the well-being of all people, these pilgrimages are the highest and most elaborate form of Nahua devotion and reveal a sophisticated religious philosophy that places human beings in intimate contact with what Westerners call the forces of nature. Alan and Pamela Sandstrom document them for the younger Nahua generation, who live in a world where many are lured away from their communities by wage labor in urban Mexico and the United States.”


Preaching to Latinos: Welcoming the Hispanic Moment in the U.S. Church

By Michael Kueber

From the publisher:
“There is a wide and growing gap in the Catholic Church in the United States between the clergy, who are mostly of European descent, and the large percentages of Catholics who identify as Latinos. While the US Church has made a concerted effort to build Hispanic ministries, many clergy and lay ministers are still ill-equipped to understand the cultural background of their parishioners, especially the large numbers who are foreign born. Because of this disconnect, the Church risks missing "the Hispanic Moment" in the US Church, in which the faith and traditions of these newest waves of US immigration could not just exist in parallel to English-language congregations, but enrich and enliven the faith of the whole community while passing on the faith to subsequent generations.”


The Gospel in Latin America: Historical Studies in Evangelicalism and the Global South

Edited by David W. Bebbington

From the publisher:
The Gospel in Latin America includes a broad range of studies in the history of Latin American evangelicalism from experts in the field. Five chapters address issues affecting the whole of Latin America, including the relationship of evangelicalism to demography and the rise of the political ideology of Dominionism. A further five concentrate on developments in specific nations such as evangelical intellectual life in Brazil and the forging of evangelical identity in Argentina. Pentecostalism is included, but space is given to the full range of religious groups. Politics is not omitted, but the volume’s main concern is the core religious priorities of the movement associated with the spread of the gospel.”


New Mexico's Moses: Reies López Tijerina and the Religious Origins of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement

By Ramón A. Gutiérrez

From the publisher:
“In New Mexico’s Moses, Ramón A. Gutiérrez dives deeply into Reies López Tijerina’s religious formation during the 1940s and 1950s, illustrating how his Pentecostal foundation remained an integral part of his psyche even as he migrated toward social-movement politics. An Assemblies of God evangelist turned Pentecostal itinerant preacher, Tijerina used his secularized apocalyptic theology to inspire the dispossessed heirs of Spanish and Mexican land grants fighting to recuperate ancestral lands throughout northern New Mexico and the Southwest. Using Tijerina’s collected sermons, Gutiérrez demonstrates the ways in which biblical prophecy influenced Tijerina throughout his life from his early days as a preacher to his leadership of the Alianza Federal de Mercedes. Tijerina sought justice for those who had lost their lands and was determined to eradicate the most egregious forms of racism and to valorize the language and culture of mexicanos. Translated into English for the first time here, Tijerina’s sermons serve as a blueprint for the religious origins of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement.”