"Not By Angels": Religious Place-Making in the Sonoran Desert

Author(s): Jordan E Davis

Year: 2015


When the archaeological traces of migrant religion are encountered in the Sonoran Desert by journalists, humanitarian workers, and social scientists, they are often interpreted as static containers of human belief. Previous discussions of this type of material culture have highlighted the perpetuation of colonial discourses that continue to demarcate and enforce the borders of both religious and migration studies, including the privileging of Western, Protestant, and male comprehensions of "religious experience." The resulting marginalization and exclusion of alternative (particularly materialist) ontological frames within academic studies of religion demands critical evaluation. In an effort to better understand the material traces of embodied and emplaced religious production of Mexican and Central American undocumented border crossers, this paper draws on a rematerialized, interdisciplinary approach to religious place-making at three migrant shrine sites documented by the Undocumented Migration Project in the Bartolo Mountain region of southern Arizona.

Cite this Record

"Not By Angels": Religious Place-Making in the Sonoran Desert. Jordan E Davis. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Seattle, Washington. 2015 ( tDAR id: 433797)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 138