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Jalane Schmidt

Associate Professor


  • Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bethel College
  • Master of Divinity (MDIV), Harvard University
  • Master of Arts (MA), Harvard University
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Harvard University


Research Interests

My research and teaching is focused upon African diaspora religions of the Caribbean and Latin America, and particularly festivity and ritual. I teach courses which consider the effects of colonization and the slave trade upon religious practice in the Americas. In my book project on 20th c. Cubans’ devotion to their patron saint, I examine religious, racial, and cultural hybridity in the Americas by interpreting the national expansion of this popular cult. In my emerging research, I am investigating how the history of slavery is performed in spirit possession rituals and expressed in material culture. Particularly, I am concerned with how contemporary mediums describe heightened sensory perception as a means for navigating traumatic emotional terrain.

Teaching Experience

  • RELG 2155 Whiteness and Religion

  • RELA 3559 Black Magic

  • RELA 3351 Anthropological Accounts of African Diaspora Religions

  • RELG 2700 Festivals of the Americas

  • RELA 2850 Afro-Creole Religions in the Americas

  • RELG 3360 Conquests & Religions

  • RELG 753/ANTH 750 Ritual & Remembrance in the Atlantic World

  • RELC 736 Theory & Method in the Study of Religion

Selected Publications

  • “The ‘Antidote to Wall Street’? Cultural and Economic Mobilizations of Afro-Cuban Religions,” Latin American Perspectives, 43:3 (May 2016): 163–185.
  • Cachita’s Streets: The Virgin of Charity, Race, and Revolution in Cuba. Duke University Press, 2015.
  • “Cuba’s Virgin of Charity: Sanctity, Caribbean Creolization, and the Color Continuum.” In Sainthood and Race: Marked Flesh, Holy Flesh. Ed. by Molly Bassett and Vincent Lloyd. Routledge, 2014.
  • “Las Calles Ordenadas contra ‘La Brujeria’ Afro-Cubana: Los Festivales para la Virgen de los años 1930 en Santiago de Cuba,” Del Caribe 54 (Summer 2011).