Latin American and Caribbean Interdisciplinary Initiative on Religion (LACIIR)

  • We Are

    A growing interdisciplinary coalition of FIU faculty, graduate students, and alums from several departments, including Religious Studies, LACC, History, International Relations, and Global and Sociocultural Studies, in the School of International and Public Affairs. We develop teaching, research, and outreach activities concerning the diverse religious expressions across Latin America, the Caribbean, and among the Latino population in the U.S., in their interplay with sociocultural, political, economic, and local and global realities.  We value our setting in Miami, which is a vital economic and sociocultural nexus of the Americas. We assume a critical positioning that recognizes Miami’s cultural and social diversity and the dialogues that it promotes in the region.  

  • Participants


    • Dr. Ana Maria Bidegain, (LACIIR Director, Professor of Religious Studies and History) 
    • Dr. Maria Luisa Veisaga (LACC Andean Studies Program of Excellence Director) 
    • Dr. Daniel Alvarez (Professor of Religious Studies and Honors College) 
    • M.A. Niurca Marquez (Assistant Teaching Professor of Religious Studies and Honors College) 
    • M.A. Jeanette Smith (Assistant Teaching Professor of Religious Studies) 
    • Dr. Joseph Holbrook (Adjunct Lecturer, LACC, Religious Studies and History Departments) 
    • M.A. Stephanie Londoño (Adjunct Lecturer of Religious Studies, and Ph.D. student) 
    • Dr. Alex Fernández (Adjunct Lecturer of Global and Sociocultural Studies) 
    • M.A. Student in MALACS, Eric Isaac (Adjunct Lecturer of Religious Studies) 
    • M.A. Ernesto Fiocchetto (Adjunct Lecturer of Politics and International Relations and Ph.D. Student in International Relations, LACIIR-Secretary) 
    • Dr. Sandra Londoño (Post-Doctoral Associate History Department, DARLAC-Secretary)

    Students and Alums 

    • M.A Gremaud Angee (Ph.D. Student in History) 
    • Jeison Oviedo (M.A. Student in Latin American and Caribbean Studies)  
    • Pedro Camacho (M.A. Student in Latin American and Caribbean Studies) 
    • Julio Rosales Carmona (M.A. Student in Religious Studies) 
    • Dr. Yehonatan Elazar-DeMota (Affiliated Fellow, Center for the Study of Law and Religion, Emory University) 
    • M.A. Sonia Scheuren, Religous Studies   
    • M.A. Juan Jennis Sánchez, Religous Studies   
  • Mission

    Our mission is to promote scholarly and social engagement with the study of religions and their multicultural realities in Latin America, the Caribbean, and their diasporas. LACIIR develops and fosters research, pedagogy, and dissemination of resources while also working with religious communities and academia in memory recovery and digital preservation projects.  Thus, LACIIR aims to significantly contribute to the under-explored field of religions in Latin America and the Caribbean from diverse approaches and disciplines. 

  • Vision

    We endeavor to discern the emerging meanings of religious diversity within Latin America and the Caribbean, considering the real challenges and opportunities of a public commitment to the region’s religious-ethnic mosaic.  2.jpg

    We pursue the analysis of religions’ role in developing capacities to defend human rights and dignity.  

    We strive to recover the memory of lived religious experiences along with their multiple interplays while promoting social appropriation and scholarly engagement with that memory.  

  • Historical Background

    Dr. Bidegain’s lifelong project of building a history of the Latin American Church from below and seeking justice amidst martyrdom was the seed of LACIIR. Her commitment to bringing visibility to Latin American and Caribbean religions and her dedication to building knowledge from a collaborative perspective has paved the way for LACIIR to consolidate as a group of diverse scholars dedicated to studying religion in the region. Various projects have been developed through collaboration, including conferences, books, journals, and the DARLAC archive. 

    In the long process of becoming an institutional initiative during the past eight years, LACIIR has consolidated as a space for inclusive academic dialogue and debate between faculty and graduate students from different departments and disciplines within FIU and other national and international universities. LACIIR has especially benefited from the dedication of FIU faculty and students from Religious Studies, Latin America and Caribbean Center (LACC), History, International Relations, and Global & Sociocultural Studies (GSS) at the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA). 


  • DARLAC - Digital Archive of Religion in Latin America and the Caribbean 

    To date, the Digital Archive of Religion in Latin America and the Caribbean is the most relevant of LACIIR projects. It is a digital interdisciplinary initiative that seeks to recover, digitize, preserve, and provide open access to historical sources of the religious phenomenon in Latin America, the Caribbean region, and its diasporas. With the leadership of Dr. Ana Maria Bidegain, DARLAC consolidated through the donation of historical sources made by thefamily of Carlos Horacio Uran to FIU-Libraries. The nature of this collection brought to the fore the significance of the Catholic Student mobilization in the religious, social, intellectual, and political life of Latin America and the Caribbean between 1960-1980.  Starting with the Uran-Bidegain Collection, DARLAC outlined its interest in recovering historical sources of these movements that lay scattered and endangered throughout the region.   


    With the objectives mentioned above, DARLAC has consolidated relations and partnerships with organizations linked to the Latin American Catholic church that have these materials. It has also successfully convened other repositories, Universities, and Centers in Latin America, the Caribbean, the U.S., and Europe to join the recovery and digital preservation endeavor. In 2017, a DARLAC-organized symposium brought together these partners and consolidated the Digital Archival Network of Religion in Latin America- DARNLAC. This network is contributing institutional resources and making decisions for recovering historical documents that are at risk of disappearing. 

    Currently, DARLAC has a digital collection of 3,520 historical documents. The scanning and editing phases are finished. To date, we provide open access to 545 historical records and are working on metadata creation for the final publication of the remaining sources. 

    5.jpgAs a result of DARLAC’s leadership in the network and the confidence built with the organizations involved, the Latin American Secretariat of Catholic Students-SLA offered FIU, in 2019, the donation of its most significant collection of historical documents. This set of uncatalogued and untapped historical sources remains endangered by poor maintenance conditions that obey years of hidden protection from political and ecclesiastical persecution. The collection includes approximately 100 titles of books that made part of the SLA-Documentation Center. It also consists of an approximation of 700 boxes with serial publications and internal documents such as meeting minutes, the memory of congresses, reports, pedagogical materials, and correspondence involving mobilized religious actors in 1960-1980 Latin America and the Caribbean. The donation of this collection was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. New efforts are being put together to resume the recovery and digitization of this collection.  

    DARLAC’s digitized collection can be accessed at All dPanther Collections ( 

    Image source: DARLAC - Digitized materials