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About Me

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I'm an anthropologist of religion, capitalism, and structural violence in the Americas. My first book, Card Carrying Christians: Debt and the Making of Free Market Spirituality in Colombia (University of California Press, 2021) is an ethnographic account of the relationship between Christianity and financialization, and the aspirations of everyday Colombians to generate prosperous and peaceable futures despite the debt they might incur, and amid ongoing violence. This work is a critique of financial capitalism through the lens of the debt that underwrites Gospels of Prosperity. Rooted in 20 years of professional and research experience in Colombia, I consider how systems of belief and structures of capital evoke a precarious financialized subjectivity and the ways efforts at forging peace are foiled by forces of necro-finance. 

 

I am currently working on a number of new research projects, including community-orientated and publicly engaged projects on Religion on the Border, Anthropologies of Protection, and Entrepreneurial Peace in Colombia. I strive towards a research method at once deeply ethnographic and ethically grounded in publicly facing scholarship with commitments to peace-building, justice, and the possibility to "vivir sabroso". 

 

I teach in areas of anthropology and sociology of religion, Latin American studies, method and theory in the study of religion, method and theory in Latin American studies, religion and social justice, religion and violence, and religion and economies.

Email: rbartel@sdsu.edu

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