Looking beyond prominent figures or major ecclesial events, Liberation Theology and the Others offers a fresh historical perspective on Latin American liberation theology. Thirteen case studies, from Mexico to Uruguay, depict a vivid picture of religious and lay activism that shaped the profile of the Latin American Catholic Church in the second half of the 20th century. Stressing the transnational character of Catholic activism and its intersections with prevalent discourses of citizenship, ethnicity or development, scholars from Latin America, the US, and Europe, analyze how pastoral renewal was debated and embraced in multiple local and culturally diverse contexts. Contributors explore the connections between Latin American liberation theology and anthropology in Peru, armed revolutionaries in highland Guatemala, and the implementation of neoliberalism in Bolivia. They identify conceptions of the popular church, indigenous religiosity, women’s leadership, and student activism that circulated among Latin American religious and lay activists between the 1960s and the 1980s. By revisiting the multifaceted and oftentimes contingent nature of church reforms, this edited volume provides fascinating new insights into one of the most controversial religious movements of the 20th century.
Christian Büschges is professor of history and head of the Department of Iberian and Latin American History at the University of Bern, Switzerland.
Andrea Müller is postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Iberian and Latin American History at the University of Bern, Switzerland.
Noah Oehri is associate researcher at the Department of Iberian and Latin American History at the University of Bern, Switzerland.
Table of Content
Christian Büschges, Andrea Müller and Noah Oehri
Part 1: Representing the Poor
Rolando Iberico Ruiz
Part 2: Pastoral Innovation
Juan Miguel Espinoza Portocarrero
Brad H. Wright
Part 3: Connecting Global and Local
Lorena García Mourelle
"Liberation theology is the most original and impactful theological movement of the last 50 years. This book offers an important interdisciplinary study (sociological, anthropological, theological) of its ecclesial, social, political, indigenist and women's rights implications in different countries of Latin America. This is done with special attention to the option for the poor, pastoral innovations and local as well as global connections. The book is particularly recommendable because of its interdisciplinary perspective."
"Individually, collectively, and in comparative relation the essays in this volume demonstrate the transcendent nature of Liberation Theology and take the study of it in important new directions. The essays explain the nuts-and-bolts of how LT became a grassroots transnational theology and movement. While recognizing the core influence of the universal Catholic Church, the essays focus on roles played by women religious, individual Latin American bishops, and lay people thereby mapping how LT concretely worked on the ground to create social movements, promote indigenous and African-descendent cultural identities, and to disseminate knowledge through institutional networks. The volume demonstrates the shortcomings of theories about secularization and modernity. It also illustrates that LT and the organizations that grew from it continue to play a defining role in Latin America and globally, thus calling into question assumptions about the relationship between the growth of Evangelical Protestantism and the apparent decline of progressive ecumenical practices of Christianity. This book will be essential reading for anyone interested in LT and the relationships among religion, modernity, social movements, and post-colonialism."
"This superb collection of essays offers a long overdue contemporary historical examination of Latin American Liberation theology in a wide range of social and cultural contexts. The volume shows the imperative of understanding forms of post-Vatican II progressive Catholicism as in situ praxis rather than simply as theology. From these detailed studies of indigenous, Afro-american, and other communities across this vast and diverse region, we learn how liberationist theology inspired clergy, women religious, and lay Catholics to open new forms of civic and political participation, as well as transformative dialogues with indigenous culture and religiosity, and how their work’s legacy is still visible today."