Aerial view of VCU Monroe Park Campus
Two virtual events will be held this fall as part of the Bishop Walter F. Sullivan Lecture Series at VCU. (File photo, University Marketing)

Bishop Sullivan Lecture Series fall events announced

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Two virtual events will be held this fall as part of the Bishop Walter F. Sullivan Lecture Series at Virginia Commonwealth University. One will focus on religion among migrant workers and the other will explore the body languages Catholics use to express devotion.

Hosted by the School of World Studies in the College of Humanities and Sciences, the lecture series features speakers taking a global, multidisciplinary approach to Catholicism. The series is organized and moderated by R. Andrew Chesnut, Ph.D., the Bishop Walter F. Sullivan Chair in Catholic Studies and a professor of religious studies at VCU.

Both events will be via Zoom and will be free and open to the public.

“An anthropology of religion and meatpacking: What we learn about migrants when we go to work”
Kristy Nabhan-Warren, Ph.D., a professor and the V.O. and Elizabeth Kahl Figge Chair in Catholic Studies

Monday, Sept. 27, 4 p.m.,

Nabhan-Warren’s published work focuses on American Catholicism, Latinx lived religion, ethnographic methods in the study of North American religions, youth and religion, and women and American religion. She is the author of “The Virgin of El Barrio: Marian Apparitions, Catholic Evangelizing, and Mexican American Activism,” a deep ethnography of a Mexican American Catholic community and its devotions to the Virgin Mary and to apparition-inspired activism.

She is also author of the forthcoming “Meatpacking America: How Migration, Work, and Faith Unite and Divide the Heartland,” an ethnography and historically situated study of lived religion in Corn Belt states. She makes the argument that if we want to understand the intersectionality of migration, work and religion in the United States today, then we must focus on states like Iowa and the broader Midwestern Corn Belt. In the book, Nabhan-Warren makes a case for studying small towns and rural places. Moreover, in order to understand the complex dynamics of religion, scholars must explore places long overlooked as religious sites, such as slaughterhouses and farm fields.

“Devotion and the body languages of Catholicism”
Alyssa Maldonado-Estrada, Ph.D., an assistant professor of religion at Kalamazoo College

Tuesday, Oct. 5, 4 p.m.,

Maldonado-Estrada teaches classes on religion and masculinity, Catholics in the Americas, urban religion and religions of Latin America. She is an ethnographer and her research focuses on material culture, contemporary Catholicism and gender and embodiment. She is the author of “Lifeblood of the Parish: Men and Catholic Devotion in Williamsburg, Brooklyn,” an ethnography about masculinity and men’s devotional lives in a gentrified neighborhood in New York City. Maldonado-Estrada is currently working on a project about devotional technologies that explores Catholic entrepreneurs and innovation.