Elizabeth Perez

Religious Studies


I am an ethnographer and historian of Afro-Diasporic and Latin American religions. I specialize in the study of Cuban Lucumí (popularly called Santería) and other innovative systems of belief and practice that crystallized in the Americas: Brazilian Candomblé, Haitian Vodou, Puerto Rican Espiritismo, and Venezuelan Maria Lionza, among others. More broadly, my interests include the poetics and politics of Caribbean altar displays, the construction of historical memory through ritual performance, and women’s religious leadership across the Afro-Atlantic world. I am also drawn to investigating the social life of things—ephemera such as chromolithographs of Black Madonnas, to cite the focus of one ongoing project—in order to delve into quintessentially human forms of sociality, labor, and desire.