Davíd Carrasco

Davíd Carrasco

Neil L. Rudenstine Professor for the Study of Latin America
Davíd Carrasco

BA, Western Maryland College
ThM, MA, PhD, University of Chicago

Davíd Carrasco is a Mexican American historian of religions with a particular interest in religious dimensions in human experience, Mesoamerican cities as symbols, immigration, and the Mexican-American borderlands. His studies with Mircea Eliade, Charles H. Long, and Paul Wheatley at the University of Chicago inspired him to work on the question, "where is your sacred place," on the challenges of postcolonial ethnography and theory, and on the practices and symbolic nature of ritual violence in comparative perspective.

Working with Mexican archaeologists, he has carried out 30 years of research in the excavations and archives associated with the sites of Teotihuacan and the Great Aztec Temple in Mexico-Tenochtitlan. He has participated in spirited debates at Harvard with Cornel West and Samuel Huntington on the topics of race, culture, and religion in the Americas. This has resulted in publications on ritual violence and sacred cities; La Virgen de Guadalupe  and transculturation; the Great Aztec Temple; and the history of religions in Mesoamerica, race mixture and Latino/a religions. Recent collaborative publications include Mysteries of the Maya Calendar Museum with Laanna Carrasco, Breaking Through Mexico's Past: Digging the Aztecs With Eduardo Matos Moctezuma and with Scott Sessions, 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 in the academic book/nontrade category) featured in the The New York Review of Books. His work has included a special emphasis on the religious dimensions of Latinx experience: mestizaje, the myth and meaning of Aztlan and finding Latinx.

He is co-producer of the film Alambrista: The Director's Cut, recently included in The Criterion Collection, which puts a human face on the life and struggles of undocumented Mexican farm workers in the United States, and he co-edited with Nicholas Cull, Alambrista and the U.S.-Mexico Border: Film, Music, and Stories of Undocumented Immigrants (University of New Mexico Press). He is editor-in-chief of the award-winning three-volume Oxford Encyclopedia of Mesoamerican Cultures. His most recent publications include The Aztecs: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press) and a new abridgement of Bernal Díaz del Castillo's memoir of the conquest of Mexico, History of the Conquest of New Spain (University of New Mexico Press). Carrasco has received the Mexican Order of the Aztec Eagle, the highest honor the Mexican government gives to a foreign national. He was chosen as one of the favorite professors of the Harvard graduating class of 2014, the same year he was the Alumnus of the Year at the University of Chicago Divinity School. He recently appeared in the award winning film, Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am. Davíd has offered course through the Study of Religion since 2002, and has served on the Committee. He is a member of both the FAS and HDS faculty.

Professor Carrasco is currently teaching “Moctezuma’s Mexico Then and Now: Aztec Empire, Race Mixture and Finding Latinx” and

“Religion and Liberation Around Toni Morrison and Gabriel García Márquez: Lives and Writings”

Contact Information

Harvard Divinity School
45 Francis Avenue
Cambridge MA 02138

office hours: see Harvard Divinity School
p: 617-384-7953

Methodologies and Approaches