More than 40 scholars, musicians, and artists from around the world gathered at Tulane University on March 3rd and 4th to pay homage to the renowned Mesoamerican religious historian and Chicano activist Davíd Carrasco. Dr. Carrasco is the Neil L. Rudenstine Professor of the Study of Latin America at Harvard University and a recipient of the Mexican Order of the Aztec Eagle award. His five decades of research on the history of religions has transcended disciplinary boundaries, uniting Mesoamerican Studies, Latin American Studies, Religious Studies, Archaeology, and Anthropology. As his former student, Tulane historian Dr. Kris Lane recalls that Carrasco’s classes were always enticing because they enabled free inquiry outside of the disciplinary silos:
“Carrasco made you think. To look at the imagery in class [of sacrificial rituals in Mexico] was taxing, but it was extremely important, and we would solve problems.”
Dr. Kris Lane
CarrascoFest was organized by Dr. Lane, the France Vinton Scholes Chair of Colonial Latin American History and William Arceneaux Professorship in Latin American History, in collaboration with Charlene Higbe, coordinator of Harvard University’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, as well as the steering committee including former Carrasco students and colleagues Dr. Molly Harbour Bassett, Dr. Chris Tirres, Dr. Philip Arnold, and Scott Sessions.
Lane explained, “CarrascoFest is a wonderful opportunity, and those who understand the importance of Carrasco's work in Mesoamerica and Latin America, broadly, and also Chicano activism absolutely see that Tulane is the right place to do this.” Primarily taking place on campus at the Stone Center for Latin American Studies and the Middle American Research Institute, the event featured live music by José Cuellar, Pedro Morales, and Joi Carr, paintings by Ellen Elmes, feather work from María Olvido Moreno Guzmán and Carlos Barrera, and a wide range of academic paper presentations. The papers will be part of a festschrift, a publication that will bring together contributions from Carrasco’s colleagues on major themes of his scholarly activity, including Mesoamerican Religion, the Religious Imagination, Borderlands, and the Chicano Experience.
This celebration brought together Carrasco’s former and current students, current colleagues, friends, and family, including: Dr. Philip Arnold, Dr. Anthony Aveni, Dr. Molly Harbour Bassett, Dr. Elizabeth Hill Boone, Carlos Barrera, Laana Carrasco, Dr. Raymond Carr, Dr. Cristián Roa-de-la-Carrera, Dr. Joi Carr, Dr. José Cuéllar, Yvonne Chireau, Eduardo Escalante, Ellen Elmes, Alfredo García Garza, Dr. George González, Dr. Maria Olvido Moreno Guzmán, Dr. William Fash, Dr. María Cecilia Holt, Dr. Lars Kirkhusmo Pharo, Abel Sanchez, John Phillip Santos, Scott Sessions, Judith Sherman, Vincent Stanzione, Dr. William Taylor, Dr. Chris Tirres, Ryan Christopher Jones, Dr. Arthur Kleinman, Dr. Kris Lane, Dr. Dana Leibsohn, Dr. Leonardo López Luján, Dr. Roberto Mata, Pedro Morales, Dr. Eduardo Matos Moctezuma, Rebecca Mendoza, Dr. Kenneth Mills, Lois and James Middleton, Dr. Laura Filloy Nadal, Dr. María Luisa Parra-Velasco, Victor Valle, Dr. Jacob Olupona, Dr. Devaka Premawardhana, Dr. Cornel West, and Dr. Onaje Woodbine.