Burnett to discuss Latin America religion for Louisiana Tech series

Apr 16, 2009 | General News

Dr. Virginia Garrard Burnett, an associate professor of history and religious studies at the University of Texas at Austin, will speak on “Religion in Latin America” Tuesday, April 21 as part of Louisiana Tech’s Shaping the 21st Century: Focus on Latin America series.

Burnett’s research has focused on religious movements and ethnic identity in Latin America and Central America. She has recently published Living in the New Jerusalem: A History of Protestants in Guatemala (1998), On Earth As It Is in Heaven: Religion in Latin America (2000) and served as co-editor of Rethinking Protestantism in Latin America (1993).

“She gives us a real look at religion in Latin America,” said Bill Willoughby, associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts.

Religion has always been one of the most powerful forces in Latin American history, Burnett said.

“It was a major motivation behind the Spanish and Portuguese voyages of exploration and the conquest of the New World,” she said. “More recently, both conservative and
revolutionary political movements have justified their positions based on religious faith.”

Burnett said for many years the Roman Catholic Church dominated the region’s religious life. In the past few decades, however, evangelical Protestantism has emerged as a major challenge to Catholicism’s hold on Latin America.

Burnett will speak at 10:15 a.m. in Wyly Tower Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

This year’s Shaping the 21st Century series is sponsored by the Office of Academic Affairs, the College of Liberal Arts, the College of Education, the International Education Committee and the Working Group on Latin America Studies.

Written by Judith Roberts