Mestizo/a Spiritualities across the Latino/a Americas: Spiritual-Philosophical Profiles

“… and trans-hemispheric in nature, this study helps to show that "religion," when critically retrieved, need not be anathema to "spirituality." ”

Team Members/Contributors

Christopher Daniel Tirres DePaul University Contact Me

About this sabbatical grant for researchers

This project offers a genealogy of mestizo/a spirituality in the Americas as well as an exploration of the various ways it has been connected to integral forms of liberation. It profiles the exemplary work of eight men and women: Dominican friar Bartolomé de las Casas (1484-1566), self-taught scholar and poet Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (1651-1695), Peruvian Marxist philosopher José Carlos Mariátegui (1894-1930), Peruvian liberation theologian Gustavo Gutiérrez (1928- ), Mexican-American constructive theologian Virgilio Elizondo (1935-2016), Chicana writer and theorist Gloria Anzaldúa (1942-2004), Cuban-American mujerista theologian Ada María Isasi-Díaz (1943-2012), and Brazilian ecofeminist theologian Ivone Gebara (1944- ).

These eight men and women from different fields, eras, and backgrounds provide an important window onto the development of mestizo/a spirituality. This is the first such study to bring together these key narratives, which highlight the unique connection between liberation and spirituality in the Americas.

Several distinct, yet complementary, themes animate the work. One major theme highlights the important contributions of five 20th century liberation theologians (Gutiérrez, Elizondo, Isasi-Díaz, and Gebara) who all affirm an organic form of spirituality while still maintaining a connection to organized religion, a connection that is simultaneously sympathetic and critical. Second, the study introduces two important liberation thinkers outside of the field of theology (Mariátegui and Anzaldua) who invite liberation theologians into a larger conversation with liberation philosophy, decolonial thought, and Third World Feminism. Lastly, the study highlights the important contributions that feminists have made toward an intersectional analysis of spirituality. I argue that contributions by feminists like like Sor Juana, Anzaldua, Isasi-Díaz, and Gebara infuse liberation thought in the Americas with much vitality and relevance.