Leah Sarat

School of Historical, Philosophical & Religious Studies
975 S Myrtle Ave PO Box 874302
Tempe
Assistant Professor
Faculty
TEMPE Campus
Mailcode
4302

Biography

Leah Sarat's work explores the intersection of religion and migration in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, with special attention to ways in which people draw upon religion to formulate notions of belonging and confront the physical, emotional, and psychological challenges of the migration experience. Sarat received her doctorate in religion in the Americas from the University of Florida and joined the religious studies faculty at Arizona State University in 2010. Her book, "Fire in the Canyon: Religion, Migration, and the Mexican Dream(New York University Press, 2013) centers on the relationship between migration, Pentecostalism, and tourism in an indigenous community in central Mexico that has created an innovative U.S.-Mexico border crossing simulation for tourists.

Sarat's current project, "Faith Behind Bars: Encountering Immigrant Detention in Arizona," examines how chaplains, faith-based volunteers, and immigrant detainees within facilities in Florence and Eloy, Arizona draw upon religious narratives and practices to explain, survive, and resist the realities of immigration detention. Sarat is also a contributor to "States of Incarceration," a public humanities collaboration of more than 20 universities that will produce a travelling exhibit and web platform on the history and current realities of mass incarceration throughout the United States.

Education

  • Ph.D. Religious Studies, University of Florida 2010
  • Graduate Certificate, Latin American Studies, University of Florida 2010
  • M.A. Religion and Culture, Wilfrid Laurier University 2006
  • B.A. Fine Arts and Comparative Cultures, Alfred University 2001

Research Interests

religion in North America, religion in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, Pentecostalism, indigenous religions and Christianity, migration and border studies, immigration detention

Publications

Single-authored book

Fire in the Canyon: Religion, Migration, and the Mexican Dream. New York University Press (2013).

 

Articles and book chapters

“Reimagining the border: religion, territory, and identity.” In Samuel Schmidt Nedvedovich and Marcelo González Tachiquín, ed., La frontera de las identidades: Explorando los cruces y límites de las identidades. Chihuahua, Mexico: El Colegio de Chihuahua, 71-94 (2015). 

“El dios sin fronteras y el sueño mexicano: migración, turismo y pentecostalismo en una comunidad hñähñu.” Estudios de cultura Otopame 8 (1) 327-348 (2012). 

 

Other Publications

“The Resident Alien,” Contribution to The Social World of Deuteronomy by Don C. Benjamin. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 62-64 (2015).

“Mexico: Indigenous Religions.” In Charles H. Lippy and Peter W. Williams, eds. Encyclopedia of Religion in America.  Washington, DC: CQ Press (2010).

“Anthropology of the Borderlands.”  In Andrew G. Wood, ed. The Borderlands: An Encyclopedia of Culture and Politics on the U.S.-Mexico Divide.  Westport: Greenwood Press, 10-13 (2008).

Research Activity

Sarat,Leah M*. "Faith Behind Bars: Encountering Immigrant Detention in Arizona." Louisville Institute-Sabbatical Grant for Researchers. LOUISVILLE INSTITUTE (8/15/2014 - 7/30/2016).

Project Partner, "States of Incarceration," a collaborative initiative of the Humanities Action Lab to produce a national traveling exhibit and web platform centering on the history and present reality of incarceration, The New School for Public Engagement, New York City

Courses

Spring 2018
Course Number Course Title
REL 205 Life, Sex and Death
REL 320 American Religious Traditions
Spring 2017
Course Number Course Title
REL 321 Religion in America
Fall 2016
Course Number Course Title
REL 320 American Religious Traditions
REL 326 US Latino Religion & Culture
TCL 328 US Latino Religion & Culture
Spring 2016
Course Number Course Title
REL 205 Life, Sex and Death
REL 320 American Religious Traditions
Fall 2015
Course Number Course Title
REL 598 Special Topics
HST 598 Special Topics
Spring 2015
Course Number Course Title
REL 320 American Religious Traditions
Fall 2014
Course Number Course Title
REL 690 Reading and Conference
Spring 2014
Course Number Course Title
REL 320 American Religious Traditions
REL 394 Special Topics
Fall 2013
Course Number Course Title
REL 207 Ritual, Symbol, and Myth
REL 320 American Religious Traditions

Presentations

International

  • El dios sin fronteras y el sue�o mexicano: religi�n, espacio, y migraci�n en El Alberto, Hidalgo.  XIII Coloquio International sobre Otopames, Puebla, Mexico, October 29 (2011)
  • El sue�o mexicano y el Dios sin fronteras: dos visiones del viaje indocumentado en El Alberto, Hidalgo.  53 Congreso Internacional de Americanistas, Universidad Iberoamericana, Mexico City, July 19-24 (2009)
  • Prophecy, Predators, and Prayer: Ritual Dimensions of U.S.-Mexico Border Crossing. Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, York University, Toronto, Ontario, May 27-June 3 (2006)

National

  • I Lift up Mine Eyes to the North: Mexican Evangelicals and U.S. Migration. XXX International Congress of the Latin American Studies Association. San Francisco, CA, May 23-26 (2012)   
  •  God Bless America: Undocumented Evangelicals in the Shadow of Arizonas S.B. 1070. American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA, November 21 (2011)
  • Reinventing the Border: Religion, Tourism, and the U.S.-Mexico Frontier.                       American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL. October 31-Nov. 3 (2008)
  •  Simulated Border Crossing: On the Boundary of Ritual and Tourism in Mexicos Parque EcoAlberto. Southeastern Council of Latin American Studies Annual Meeting, Tampa, Florida, April 17-19 (2008)

Local - Arizona State University  

  • Participant, Public Salon on Latino Religiosities, with Felipe Hinojosa andSujey Vega, October 19 (2015)
  • Panelist, Is America Still the Land of Opportunity? with Damien Cave, Julian Limand Matthew Garcia, September 29 (2015)
  • Organizer, Beyond the Border: Understanding the Central American Refugee Crisis. ASU School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies Public Panel, Arizona State Univerity, September 3 (2014)
  • Panelist, Whose Nation Under God? Religious Identity and Belonging in the 2012 Presidential Election. ASU School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies Faculty Roundtable, Kerr Cultural Center, Scottsdale, AZ, October 17 (2012)
  • Organizer, Homegrown Nativism or Corporate Profits?  Culture, Detention, and the Politics of Immigration with Robin Jacobson. Institute for Humanities Research, Arizona State Univerisity, March 27 (2012)
  •  Speaker, A Cell Phone on her Pillow: Religion, Migration, and Those Who Stay   Behind. Religious Studies Faculty Forum, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, September 1 (2011)
  • Panelist, Crosses, Flags, and Fences: Religion on the U.S.-Mexico Border. Religion in Many Places Faculty Panel, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, February 24 (2011)

             

Honors/Awards

Noem� Quezada Award for the best dissertation about Otopame populations, Instituto de Investigaciones Antropol�gicas, UNAM, Mexico (2011)

Professional Associations

<p>American Academy of Religion Latin American Studies Association</p>

Service

To the Profession

External Reviewer, Latin American Research Review (2013)

External Reviewer, Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature, and Culture (2011)

 

To Arizona State University

Member, Advisory Board, Institute for Humanities Research (2012-2014)

 

To SHPRS

Search Committee Member, Modern Mexico (History, Open Rank) (2015-2016)

Member, Committee for Undergraduate Education in Religious Studies (2015- )

Member, Religious Studies Forum Committee (2014-2015)

Search Committee Member, Assistant Professor of Borderlands History (2013-2014)

Search Committee Member, Assistant Professor of Environmental Humanites (2012-2013)

 

Extracurricular Community Service

Faculty Advisor, Graduate Association of Religious Studies, Arizona State University (2014- )

Faculty Advisor, Sun Devils are Better Together (interfaith student organization), Arizona State University (2014- )

Faculty Advisor, Plan Milpa, urban gardening alliance between ASU students and worker rights center in Phoenix (2012-2013)

 

COMMUNITY OUTREACH

Volunteer Coordinator, The Phoenix Restoration Project, an organization providing support to immigrants in detention in Arizona and those who are newly released  (2013-  )

Member, Board of Directors, Arizona Interfaith Alliance for Worker Justice, Phoenix, AZ (2011-2012)