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AU Student Dissertations and Theses Presentations

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Student Name: Rachel Cantave

Graduate Level: Doctoral

Field of Study/Major: Anthropology

Committee Chair Name: Dolores, Koenig, PhD

Date of Presentation: 05/30/17

Presentation Location: Hamilton 303

Time of Presentation: 1pm

Title of Dissertation: SERVING FAITH: A COMPARATIVE STUDY OF RELIGIOUS INFLUENCE AND FAITH-BASED COMMUNITY SERVICE IN SALVADOR DA BAHIA, BRAZIL

Abstract: This dissertation takes as its focus a multi-faith community in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil and scrutinizes how three religious institutions, through their adherents, seek to make an impact on the community through faith-based community service projects. Using a comparative approach, this study examines the relationship between religious beliefs and community actions by asking: (1) How do religious institutions influence adherents ideologically and morally? (2) How do practitioners internalize those beliefs, using them or not in their daily lives? (3) How is religious influence then expressed through adherent facilitated community actions? This study also considers how competition Catholicism, Neo-Pentecostalism and Candomblé is reflected through community actions as well.

I examine discourses of faith such as religious newspapers, sermons, mythologies and ritual songs to determine how religious ideologies influence moral values for religious adherents. Then, I examine experiences of faith, focusing on how practitioners internalize religious beliefs through "feeling" and highlighting presentations and performances of religious identities. Finally, I describe community service actions in each religious institution and draw out the connections between their objectives and results to the discourses and experiences that shape adherents' actions through faith.

Findings demonstrate that religious institutions push certain ideologies, moral values, and draw on "feelings" to emphasize particular expressions of faith for their adherents. These values manifest in separate community service initiatives with distinct aims and outcomes. However, despite differences between community service initiatives, all three institutions are equally motivated by the prospect of shaping national and local communities, identities and ideals.

 

Student Name: Rafael A. Lainez

Graduate Level: Doctoral

Field of Study/Major: Anthropology

Committee Chair Name: Adrienne Pine

Date of Presentation: 05/31/17

Presentation Location: Hamilton Conference Room

Time of Presentation: 3pm

Title of Dissertation: ACCESSING GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP IN LOS ANGELES: NECROPOLITICS IN THE EVERYDAY LIVES OF SALVADORAN IMMIGRANT GAY MEN

Abstract: My dissertation project examines how Salvadoran immigrant gay men in Los Angeles, California, build community and find the freedom to express their cultural identity and (homo) sexuality. Migrating to the U.S. appears as a good option to Salvadorans because of economic opportunities, and because of the rhetoric that the U.S. upholds social justice. Meshed with the understanding that mainstream gay communities are welcoming, Salvadoran gay men expect that opportunities will be readily extended to them. However, quality of life becomes questionable for many Salvadoran immigrant gay men as they face unforeseen challenges in accessing life essential resources, such as food, housing, and employment. Through their (re)learning of Latinoness based on the dominant Mexican ethnicity, research participants show how their survival in Los Angeles is dependent upon their ability to conform themselves and their sexuality in accordance to people's belief's that they are heterosexual, while complying with other gay men's sexual expectations.
My research speaks to how many gay men are silenced instead of empowered through mainstream gay political agendas, and through sexual labels that denote positions of power. My findings show how vulnerable populations are especially subjectable to violence, and how fear of deportation keeps several undocumented immigrants from reporting crimes committed against them. Concurrently, my findings suggest the need for better cultural sensitivity and inclusivity in the design and execution of HIV prevention programs for Latino gay men.