Event—Scholarly Seminars

Polly Lauer, Yale University

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Cultures of Catholicism: Spiritual Factionalism within a Guatemalan Indigenous Radio Station

Polly Lauer

Cultures of Catholicism: Spiritual Factionalism within a Guatemalan Indigenous Radio Station

Polly Lauer, Yale University

This paper interrogates the Catholic origins of the first Maya K’iche’ radio station in Guatemala. Analysis of tensions between local and foreign Catholic factions illuminates how competitions for power unfolded during the radio’s founding in 1962. The station’s history exposes the shock of collision between top-down and bottom-up religious initiatives. Conflict between missionary priests and K’iche’ spiritual leaders defined the direction of the radio, and other Catholics—K’iche’ catechists, missionary nuns, and town residents—had to navigate between them in their work with the radio. The paper illustrates that differing interpretations of Catholicism and positions within Church hierarchy affected how these groups understood each other, the project of the radio, and the world that they inhabited.

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This event is free, but all participants must register in advance. Space is limited, so please do not request a paper unless you plan to attend.

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About the Religion and Culture in the Americas Seminar Series

The Religion and Culture in the Americas Seminar explores topics in religion and culture including social history, biography, cultural studies, visual and material culture, urban studies, and the history of ideas. We are interested in how religious belief has affected society, rather than creedal or theological focused studies.

The Seminar’s organizers for 2023-2024 are Christopher Allison (Dominican University), Christopher Cantwell (Loyola University Chicago), Darren Dochuk (University of Notre Dame), Karen Johnson (Wheaton College), David Lantigua (University of Notre Dame) Malachy McCarthy (Claretian Missionaries Archives), and Kevin Schultz (University of Illinois Chicago). The Religion and Culture in the Americas Seminar is co-sponsored by the Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism at the University of Notre Dame, the McGreal Center at Dominican University, the History Department at Loyola University, the University of Chicago Divinity School, University of Illinois at Chicago, and Wheaton College.


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