Davíd Carrasco Named Alumnus of the Year 2014
Dean Margaret M. Mitchell has announced that, upon recommendation from the Divinity School's Alumni Council, the Board of Trustees of the Baptist Theological Union has named Davíd Carrasco (ThM 1970, MA 1974, PhD in the History of Religions area, 1977) as the Divinity School's Alumnus of the Year for 2014.
Carrasco is the Neil Rudenstine Professor of the Study of Latin America at Harvard University, with a joint appointment in the Department of Anthropology in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and the Harvard Divinity School. A famed scholar, lecturer, writer, filmmaker, and expert on Mexican and Mesoamerican art and culture, he is a historian of religions with a particular interest in religious dimensions in human experience.
Of the award, Dean Mitchell said "Davíd Carrasco is known for his field-defining scholarship on Meso-American religions. His dexterity with a range of literary, historical, visual, geographical, cartographic, archaeological and other sources, combined with an integration of methodological perspectives, makes him a wonderful exemplar of interdisciplinary work in the history of religions."
Carrasco’s studies with Mircea Eliade, Charles H. Long, Jonathan Z. Smith and Paul Wheatley at the University of Chicago inspired him to work on the history of sacred cities, on the challenges of postcolonial ethnography and theory, and on ritual violence in comparative perspective. His work has included a special emphasis on the religious dimensions of the Latino borderlands, cultural and racial mixture or mestizaje, the myth of Aztlan and La Virgen de Guadalupe.
Working with Mexican archaeologists, Carrasco has carried out more than thirty years of research in the excavations and archives associated with the sites of Teotihuacan and Mexico-Tenochtitlan. His research has resulted in publications on ritual violence and sacred cities; religion and the Great Aztec Temple; and the history of religions in Mesoamerica. He co-founded with Eduardo Matos Moctezuma, the Moses Mesoamerican Archive and Research Project which today is housed at the Peabody Museum of Ethnology and Archaeology at Harvard University.
Carrasco is the author of numerous books, including Quetzalcoatl and the Irony of Empire, Religions of Mesoamerica, Breaking Through Mexico's Past: Digging the Aztecs With Eduardo Matos Moctezuma and Cave, City, and Eagle's Nest: An Interpretive Journey Through the Mapa de Cuauhtinchan No. 2, gold winner of the 2008 PubWest Book Design Award, featured in The New York Review of Books. He has also served as the editor-in-chief of the Oxford Encyclopedia of Mesoamerican Cultures. Carrasco was the executive co-producer of the award winning film Alambrista: The Director’s Cut which put a human face on the ordeal of undocumented workers from Mexico.
A 2004 recipient of the Mexican Order of the Aztec Eagle, the highest decoration that Mexico awards to foreign nationals, Prof. Carrasco was also the recipient, in 2006, of the Mircea Eliade Jubilee medal for contributions in the study of history of religion. Carrasco is a member of the National Academy of Arts and Sciences and in 2011 he was elected as a member of the Academia Mexicana de la Historia, Correspondiente de La Real de Madrid.
Professor Carrasco will deliver the 2014 Alumnus of the Year address, "From Axis Mundi to Mappa Mundi: Great Temples and Sacred Bundles in Aztec Society," on Thursday, April 24, 2014, at 4:30 p.m. in Swift Lecture Hall with a reception to follow. He will also deliver, at noon that same day, the Spring Quarter Dean’s Craft of Teaching Seminar.