Religion and Politics in the Americas

Religion and Politics in the Americas is a 3-year initiative funded by a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation that aims to promote transnational interdisciplinary research and dialogue between scholars, artists, activists and policymakers regarding the intersection of religion and politics in the Americas. Program activities include lectures, courses, performances, a flagship conference and policy roundtables in the United States, Mexico, Chile, Brazil and Canada. The initiative will convene a permanent Americas-wide working group and publish a trilingual blog on religion in the public sphere.


Blog: States of Devotion

Launched in November 2010, States of Devotion is an interactive forum for news, scholarly analysis and opinion- making about the intersection of religion and politics in the Americas. Under the editorship of Ann Pellegrini, blog content will include news updates, thematic dossiers, editorials, interviews, image/video galleries and more. A team of expert scholars, artists and policy practitioners from throughout the hemisphere will be invited to serve as regular and guest blog contributors.  We encourage you to visit us and participate at


Symposium: The Traffic in Policy: Religion, Sexuality and the State

April 30, 2010, New York University

This one-day symposium examined ways in which religious discourses and movements are crossing national borders and shaping policy debates, legislation, and public spheres in the Americas.

Co-organized by the Hemispheric Institute and the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality.


Conference: States of Devotion: Religion, Neoliberalism and the Politics of the Body in the Americas

November 4-5, 2010, New York University

This conference examined the changing role of religious discourses and practices in the wake of the transformations wrought by neoliberal globalization upon communities, societies and polities across the Hemisphere. The event included panel presentations, plenary discussions, a photo exhibit, and a performance cabaret.

Co-organized by the Hemispheric Institute and theCenter for the Study of Gender and Sexuality.

Policy Roundtable: Biopolítica y religión: Lo público y lo privado en los recientes debates sobre los derechos sexuales y reproductivos

September 8, 2011, Colegio de México

This one-day policy roundtable convened scholars and policy practitioners engaged in theoretical and applied research and advocacy and took place on September 8, 2011 at the Colegio de México with the co-sponsorship of the Center for Sociological Studies. The event’s focus on “the public and the private’ provided a broad focus for the researchers and advocacy groups to discuss the evolving political and policy complexities in Mexico’s current context. Discussions focused on the challenges of developing and implementing new public policies in the context of the expansion of rights, the effects of changing the configurations on the public and private in political and policy debates, and the ongoing transformation of Church-State relations in the country.

Co-organized by the Hemispheric Institute and Colegio de México's Center for Sociological Studies.

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Policy Roundtable: Religiones, matrimonio igualitario y aborto: alianzas con y entre actores religiosos por los derechos sexuales y reproductivos en Argentina

October 14, 2011

ISEDET Argentina“Religiones, Matrimonio Igualitario y Aborto: Alianzas con y entre Actores Religiosos por los Derechos Sexuales y Reproductivos en Argentina” (Religions, Marriage Equality and Abortion: Alliances With and Between Religious Actors for Sexual and Reproductive Rights in Argentina), brought together political and religious actors, advocacy groups, elected officials and journalists to discuss the central contributions of religious leaders to the Marriage Equality campaign and to examine the role they might play in the debate surrounding the legalization of abortion.

Co-sponsored by the Hemispheric Institute, the Sexualities Studies Group of the University of Buenos Aires, and Catholics for the Right to Decide-Argentina.


Policy Roundtable: Ciudadanías del cuerpo: emplazamientos al estado y a la iglesia

October 20-21, 2011, Universidad de Chile

This policy roundtable convened a broad range of scholars, advocates, journalists and policy practitioners in a discussion about the key issues around which the Catholic Church and other communities of faith exercise their political power in the public sphere. Event proceedings are being edited for a special issue ofNomadías, the journal of the Center for the Study of Gender and Culture in Latin America that will be published in 2013.

Co-organized by the Hemispheric Institute with the Center for the Study of Gender and Culture in Latin America and the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters at the University of Chile.


Policy Roundtable: A nova conquista espiritual das américas

January 9, 2012, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais

“A Nova Conquista Espiritual das Américas” focused on the relationships between evangelical ministries and political parties and Afro-Brazilian and indigenous Brazilian religious communities and practices and their broader implications for religious pluralism in Brazil. Co-organized with Dr. Leda Martins of the Federal University of Minas Gerais, the event brought together scholars from throughout Brazil with leaders from Candomblé, Congado and indigenous spiritual communities.