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Religious Impacts in Rural Bolivia Focus of Presentation in LAII Lecture Series

The LAII announces the first presentation in its Fall 2015 Lecture Series as it welcomes Dr. Marygold Walsh-Dilley for a presentation on "Evangelical Protestantism in Rural Andean Bolivia: The Social Impact of Religious Change" on Wednesday, September 30, 2015, at 12:00 p.m. in the LAII Conference Room. For reference, see the event flyer.

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In this presentation, Walsh-Dilley will discuss how "a 'Protestant Wave' is sweeping across Latin America, challenging the historical dominance of the Catholic Church and bringing with it far reaching social change."

This paper examines the contentious process of increasing religious diversity in rural Andean Bolivia. Drawing on ethno-graphic research in two Quechua villages, she explores why villagers convert to new evangelical denominations, what tensions result, and how increasing religious diversity interacts with non-religious social networks. She focuses in particular on reciprocity networks and practices, which have long been understood as important cultural and economic resources in the Andes. This research highlights alcohol consumption as a key factor mediating both religious conversion and its effects.

Marygold Walsh-Dilley is Assistant Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences in the Honors College, with a courtesy appointment in the Department of Sociology. She is also a faculty affiliate of the LAII. She holds a PhD in Development Sociology, and an MS in Applied Economics, both from Cornell University. Her research focuses on the intersection between rural development, food systems, and indigenous politics, with a geographical focus in Andean Bolivia.

Image: Photograph of church reprinted with permission of Walsh-Dilley.

--Posted Tuesday, September 22, 2015.