Jennifer Hughes
Associate Professor of History
Ph.D. Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley 2005
Masters, Harvard University, Divinity School 1996
B.A., Highest Honors, Latin American Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz 1996

Areas of specialization: History of Religions. Historical and cultural study of Latin American and Latino religions, including conquest, mission, conversion, syncretism, indigenous Christianity. History of modern Christianity. Material religion, material culture (theory of the object) and religion and art, especially the religious image. Affective approaches to the study of religion, religion and emotion.
Curriculum Vitae


Jennifer Hughes' research and teaching focuses on Latin American and Latino religions, religion and art (including especially religious images), the role of religion in colonialism and decolonization, Christianity in the Southern Hemisphere, and immigrant religions. Professor Hughes' first book, Biography of a Mexican Crucifix: Lived Religion and Local Faith from the Conquest to the Present (Oxford University Press, 2010), is a history of popular devotion to artistic images of the suffering Christ in Mexico. She is currently working on two new projects. The first treats the impact of mass death by epidemic disease on the shape of New World Christianity. The second explores Latino religious practice in the metro Los Angeles/Southern California area. She is currently the co-chair of the Religion in Latin America and Caribbean Group of the American Academy of Religion. In addition to her academic scholarship, Professor Hughes has worked as an advocate for homeless Latinos with HIV/AIDS, as a translator and advocate for Angolan refugees in South Africa, and with the liberation theology base community movement in Brazil. Professor Hughes is also the founding co-director of UC Riverside's Institute for the Study of Immigrant Religions.


  • Biography of a Mexican Crucifix: Lived Religion and Local Faith from the Conquest to the Present, Oxford University Press, January 2010. (Reviewed in Catholic Historical Review, The Journal of Material Religion, Church History, and others).
  • Mexican Kairos: Epidemic Disease, Indigenous Death and the Birth of New World Catholicism (manuscript in preparation).
  • "Cradling as a Ritual Practice: Image and Affect in Mesoamerican Religion", in preparation.
  • "Mysterium Materiae: Vital Matter and the Object as Evidence in the Study of Religion," Bulletin for the Study of Religion, November, 2012 (forthcoming).
  • "A Materialist Theory of Religion: A View from Latin America," Method and Theory in the Study of Religion: Journal of the North American Association for the Study of Religion (forthcoming).
  • "The Niño Jesus Doctor: Novelty and Innovation in Mexican Religion," Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions, 16:2, November, 2012 (forthcoming).
  • "Theologies of Conquest: Bartolomé de las Casas and Indigenous Death in Mexico." In A Festchrift in Honor of Rosemary Radford Ruether, Emily Silverman and Dirk van der Horst, eds., Equinox Press, UK (forthcoming, 2012).
  • "The Catholic Church and Social Revolutionaries." In Religion and Society in Latin America: Interpretive Essays from the Conquest to the Present, Lee Penyak and Walter Petry, eds., Maryknoll, NY: Orbis. September, 2009.