I am a historian of religion in the Americas with training in Latinx history; American race, ethnicity, and immigration; and the American West/Mexico borderlands. My scholarship on Mexican farmworkers in California (1906-1966) is based on oral histories and extensive archival research I've conducted. It also draws from the fields of immigration history, material culture, and scholarship on Pentecostalism and Catholicism. My more recent and ongoing research on the Sanctuary Movement (1980s to present day) brings together questions from religious history and immigration studies to understand the context of social activism and politics.
My teaching incorporates these research topics but more broadly asks questions about the many communities that comprise "American Religion." I'm also deeply curious about ideas regarding the end of the world, the history of Evangelicalism, and immigration studies. As a first-generation college student and son of Mexican immigrants, I wholeheartedly enjoy teaching, mentoring, and publishing with students from all backgrounds. I received excellent mentorship as both an undergraduate and graduate student and only wish to offer the same to Amherst College students. If you would like to know more about courses in the Religion Department and/or Latinx and Latin American Studies, come by, and let’s chat!
Ph.D. American Studies, University of Michigan (2016)
M.A. American Studies, University of Michigan (2011)
B.A. History, Religion, University of the Pacific (2009)
Sowing the Sacred: Mexican Pentecostal Farmworkers in California (Oxford University Press, 2022)
Oneness Pentecostalism: Race, Gender, and Culture, edited by Lloyd D. Barba, Andrea Shan Johnson and Daniel Ramírez (Penn State University Press, in press, February 2023)
Latin American and Latinx Religion in North America, edited by Lloyd D. Barba (Bloomsbury Religion in North America, spring 2023)
Articles and Chapters:
“Review Essay - Rooted in Justice: Framing Latinx Religious History Across Las Américas” Journal of the American Academy of Religion (forthcoming, March 2023)
“Latin American and U.S. Latinx Religions in North America” Section Overview Article in Bloomsbury Religion in North America (Bloomsbury Academic, forthcoming spring 2023) online ~10k words
“Guadalupe Represents La Cultura: A Mexican-American Mural-Shrine in California” American Patroness: National Shrines to Mary and the Making of US Catholicism, eds., Karen Park and Katherine Dugan (Fordham University Press, forthcoming, 2023)
“Dust, Dreams, and Discipline: Okies and the Transformation of Pentecostalism in California” in Oneness Pentecostalism: Race, Gender, and Culture, edited by Lloyd Barba, Andrea Shan Johnson, and Daniel Ramírez (Penn State University Press, February 2023)
"Salvadoran Religious Transnationalism," Religion Compass, (16:11-12) (December 2022), co-authored with Ana Vieytez
“Latina/o Pentecostalism” in the Oxford Handbook on Latinx Christianity in the United States (Oxford University Press, 2022), 130-150.
“Pentecostalism’s Instrumental Faith and Alternative Power: Cesar Chávez and Reies López Tijerina Among Pentecostal Farmworkers 1954-1956” in Faith and Power: Latino Religious Politics since 1945 eds. Felipe Hinojosa, Sergio Gonzalez, and Maggie Elmore (New York University Press, 2022), 121-44.
“Latinx Legacies and Leadership in the U.S. Sanctuary Movement 1980-2020” American Religion (3:1) (Fall 2021): 1-24, co-authored with Tatyana Castillo-Ramos.
“Latinx Christianities in North America,” Main Article, Bloomsbury Religion in North America (Bloomsbury Academic) (July 2021), online; 6,287 words
“Borderlands Believers: Migrant Laborers and the Growth of Pentecostalism from Los Angeles” in Religion in Los Angeles: Religious Activism, Innovation, and Diversity in the Global City, eds., Diane Winston and Richard Flory (Routledge, 2021), 58-73.
“Capturing the Church Familia: Scriptural Documents and Photographs on the Agricultural Labor Circuit” in Critical Dialogues in Latinx Studies: A Reader eds., Ana Ramos-Zayas and Mérida Rua (New York University Press, 2021), 457-475
“The Borderlands Aesthetics of Mexican-American Pentecostalism” in Protestant Aesthetics and the Arts, eds., Kathryn Reklis and Sarah Covington (Routledge, 2020), 252-264
“Trump’s Wall: A Monument of (Un)Civil Religion” Material and Visual Cultures of Religion MAVCOR hosted by Yale University Press (September 2019), online; 6,685 words
"Sacred Resistance: The Sanctuary Movement From Reagan to Trump," Perspectivas 16 (2019): 11-36, co-authored with Tatyana Castillo-Ramos
----Also published in Spanish in the same journal issue as: “Resistencia Sagrada: El Movimiento Santuario desde Reagan a Trump” pp. 38-66.
“The New Issue: Approaches to Oneness Pentecostalism, ”Religion Compass (12:11) (November 2018) co-authored with Andrea Johnson
“Farmworker Frames: Apostólico Counter Narratives in California’s Valleys,” Journal of the American Academy of Religion (86:3) (September 2018): 691-723.
“More Spirit in that Little Madera Church: Cesar Chavez and Borderlands Religious Soundscapes 1954-1966,” California History (94:1); (Spring 2017): 26-42
“Jesus Would Be Jim Crowed: Bishop Robert Lawson on Race and Religion in the Harlem Renaissance,” Journal of Race, Ethnicity, and Religion (6:3); (2015): 1-32
“What is Pentecostal Christianity?” The Conversation (January 6, 2023)
“The theology that has motivated one pastor to keep holding in-person services: And why it’s time to reverse course” The Washington Post (March, 24, 2020 (co-authored with Andrea Johnson, Daniel Ramírez, and Roy Fisher)
“Evangelicals and Pentecostals Must Do More to Help Immigrants” Religion and Politics (June 25, 2018) (co-authored with Arlene Sanchez-Walsh)
“An America Past Time: Latina/o Pentecostals and the 11/9 Election” Sowing the Seed: Fruitful Conversation in Religion, Culture, and Teaching (December 12, 2016)
“Not only Catholic churches celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe” Religion News Service (March 4, 2020)
“What does being a sanctuary city mean? What does Cape Cod offer? Here's information” Cape Cod Times (September 26, 2022)
“Florida Megachurch Pastor Tells Evangelical Congregants Not To Take COVID-19 Vaccine” Huff Post (December 9. 2020)
“Pastor Flouting Stay-At-Home Order Remains Defiant After Parishioner’s Death” Huff Post (April 17, 2020)
“How Reddit is helping ex-La Luz del Mundo members cope with life after the church” Religion News Service (March 4, 2020)
“Trump launches ‘Evangelicals for Trump’ by visiting megachurch led by a Latino pastor” Religion News Service (January 3, 2020)
-The Sanctuary Movement: Religion, Activism, and Social Contestation -see course website: https://sanctuary.wordpress.amherst.edu/
-Race and Religion in the U.S. West/Mexico Borderlands
-Introduction to Comparative Religion: The End of the World (Judaism and Christianity)
-Introduction to Religion: Comparative Texts and Contexts (Islam and Christianity)
-American Religious Traditions: A History of Communities and Their Scriptures
-Religion on the Move: Religion and Migration in North America
-The “Stuff” of U.S. Religion: Visual and Material Approaches
- Latinx Immigrant Rights (Special Topics Seminar)
-Salvadoran Transnational Cultures (Special Topics Seminar)
Selected Awards and Fellowships
Young Scholars of American Religion Program (2022-2024)
Mormonism and Mexico: A Case Study in Religion and the Borderlands Summer Institute, National Endowment for the Humanities (2022 participant)
Teaching and Learning Workshop for Early Career Latinx Religion Faculty, Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion (2020-2021)
Louisville Institute's First Book Grant for Minority Scholars (2018-2019)
C3 Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship, Latina/o Studies and Religion, Williams College (2016-2017)
Selected Conference Presentations
"Mapping Churches: Mexican Pentecostalism and Industrial Agriculture 1916-1966," American Society for Church History, annual conference, January 5-8, 2023.
"Christian Experimentation in 20th Century Los Angeles" (roundtable convener and participant), American Society for Church History, annual conference, January 5-8, 2023.
"Migration, Creativity, and Labor: New Books in Religions in the Latina/o Americas" (Book panel featuring Sowing the Sacred) American Academy of Religion, Denver, CO, November 19-22, 2022.
"New Directions in the Study of the Sanctuary Movement" (roundtable convener and participant), American Academy of Religion, Denver, CO, November 19-22, 2022.
"The Acts of the Apostólicos: Scripturalizing Healing Narratives in the Early Mexican Pentecostal Movement" Western History Association, annual conference, San Antonio, TX, October 12-15, 2022.
"Pentecostals and the Farm Worker Movement" (roundtable participant) Western History Association, annual conference, San Antonio, TX, October 12-15, 2022.
"Migrating Faith in Photos” American Society for Church History, annual conference, New Orleans, LA, January 6-9, 2022.
“La Migra No Profana El Santuario: Latinx Sanctuary Movement Leaders in the Age of Trump” American Academy of Religion, annual conference, San Diego, CA, November 22-26, 2019 (co-presented with Tatyana Castillo-Ramos).
“Unwrapping History: Women and the Maturation of Mexican-American Pentecostal Churches in America” American Historical Association, annual meeting, Chicago, IL, January 3-6, 2019.
"Temples Made with Hands: Mexican Pentecostal Women and the Construction of Farmworker Temples in the Central Valley" Organization of American Historians, annual meeting, Sacramento, CA, April 12-14, 2018.
“Through the Lens of the Subaltern: Mexican-Pentecostal Narratives and Church Family Photographs” American Academy of Religion, annual conference, Boston, MA, November 18-21, 2017.
“Reforming Chicanas/os and Christians: Pentecostals and the Pursuit of El Valle De Paz” American Society for Church History, annual conference, Denver, CO, January 5-8, 2017.
“The Dust District: Cosmopolitan and Okie Pentecostal Convergence in California” The American Academy of Religion, annual conference, San Antonio, TX, November 19-22, 2016.
“Estéticas Apostólicas en la Fronteriza” (translation: Apostolic Aesthetics in the Borderlands) Red de Investigadores del Fenómeno Religioso en México, annual conference, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, Mérida, Yucatán, April 15-17, 2015.
“Dust and Denominations: Pentecostalism and Migration in Farm Labor Communities of California’s Valleys 1917-1964” American Society for Church History –Ecclesiastical History Society joint conference, Oxford, England, April 3-5, 2014.
“Faith with Works: Cesar Chavez’s Religious Image” National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies 40th Annual Conference, Chicago, IL, March 14-17, 2012.
council member, American Society of Church History, (elected)
Editorial board, American Religion
Co-chair the History of Christianity unit of the American Academy of Religion (AAR)
Steering committee member of the Latina/o Religion, Culture, and Society unit of the AAR
Bloomsbury Religion in North America Advisory Board
Peer reviewer for various academic journal articles, books, and proposals
Consultant for archival collections on Latin American and Latina/o religious figures and organizations.