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William Calvo-Quiros


Mellon Fellow
Affiliation at time of award:
Assistant Professor
Department of American Culture and Latino Studies
University of Michigan

William Calvo-Quiros

Saints of Migration: Border Specters, Saints, and Sinners

Saints of Migration investigates the U.S.-Mexico border not only as a physical frontier of socio-economic and political conflict, but also as an epistemic battleground over spiritual and imaginary geographies. Dr. Calvo-Quiros’ project analyzes the emergence, evolution, and migration of five folk border saints as historical artifacts that embody the struggles of migrating Latinx communities in the last one-hundred years. This project follows: Jesús Malverde, a popular bandito turned into a saint of narcotraffickers; Juan Soldado, a murder-rapist soldier who is now a patron for undocumented immigrants; Santa Olguita, an emerging feminist-saint linked to border women’s experiences with sexual violence; La Santa Muerte, a personalization of Death associated with drugs and human trafficking who is popular among LGBTQ immigrants; and Toribio Romo, a Catholic priest whose ghost helps people cross the border. Saints of Migration unveils the politics and struggles of popular border religiosity and its sophisticated role in envisioning a future beyond oppression.

Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Generous funding for this Fellowship provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.