In celebration of Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month, annually celebrated from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, the College of Humanities is spotlighting faculty, staff and students. This week, meet Dr. Daisy Vargas, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Religious Studies and Classics who teaches courses on religion and popular culture, contemporary Catholicism, global Christianity, and religion, ethnicity and immigration in the United States.
“For me, Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month is a reminder that representation matters as a first step towards inclusiveness and diversity. As we honor the contributions of Latinx communities this month, I also hope we recognize the racial, ethnic, cultural, and national diversity of Latinxs in the U.S. in our journey towards social and institutional equity.
“I am a scholar specializing on the intersection Latinx religion, Catholicism, and U.S. law. I teach courses on religion and popular culture, global Christianities, religion and immigration, and contemporary Catholicism. Though all these courses begin with the difficult and violent legacies of colonialism, I emphasize the importance of agency—how Latinx communities create, sustain, and affirm their presence through religious practice and/or refusals of religion.
“My teaching often reflects the histories of my family and community, and I think they’re important points of connection with Latinx students, and students from other backgrounds, who see their own experiences reflected in them. Nationally, Latinx faculty only make up about 5 percent of the professoriate, and my own academic journey was guided by Latinx professors and mentors. I’m inspired by the University of Arizona’s HSI Initiative focus on ‘servingness,’ and I try to honor the legacy of folks who fought for Latinx representation and inclusion through my scholarship and teaching.”