Christopher Eric Garces
Department of Anthropology
Christopher Eric Garces is carrying out his dissertation research on the cultural history of saintliness in Guayaquil, Ecuador . The project studies the social processes by which 19th and 20th century Catholic heroes become immediately useful to cultural and political ends. Using archival and ethnographic methods, Christopher will investigate the various means by which these individuals' interactions mark significant cultural shirts in civil society how their creative modifications of sacred behavior help to achieve new and imitable types of small and large-scale political order. His dissertation provides a different perspective on the relation between secularization processes and the idealization of religious behaviors, as the civic promotion of devotional cults to medical doctors, political leaders, and businessmen, has become a key part of a world-defining realignment of the idea of Christian charity in Guayaquil and Latin America as a whole.
In coordination with the Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies, Garces' project will examine the representation of Latin American saints in North American museum exhibits, with special attention given to US Latinos/Latinas views of these exhibits different treatment of cultural heroism in transnational context. He will compare the museum-going practices of these communities with their everyday devotion to local oral histories and hagiographic materials about specific popular saints. Research will be conducted in US Mid-Atlantic cities: New York, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and New Jersey.