Transforming the Religious Landscape

Group Members: Dr. Batia Siebzehner and Dr. Leonardo Senkman

Transforming the Religious Landscape:
Orthodoxies among Islamic
and Jewish Communities in Argentina and Brazil

For the past two decades, mass conversions and renewal movements have reverberated Latin America’s Catholic dominance to form a most dynamic religious landscape. These changes have challenged fundamental social structures and public policies as well as individuals’ sense of belonging. In light of these developments, the study questions how do processes of increased religious heterogeneity shape the boundaries and institutional growth of its communities? To study these religious-social developments two communities are comparatively proposed to be investigated: the Islamic and Jewish orthodox communities in Brazil and Argentina. Utilizing a comparative-mixed method, these communities will be investigated through the use of (1) ethnographic tools, in-depth interviews with Orthodox activists and (2) discourse analysis of legislative documents and policymakers’ board protocols. (3) Analysis of media broadcasts and online publications. Understanding the ways that Orthodox communities’ boundaries are redefined can elucidate changes in the socio-political dynamics in Latin America as well as illuminate the emergence of transnational affiliations in today's’ globalized religious landscape.