Fire in the canyon: Religion, migration, and the Mexican dream

Research output: Book/ReportBook

13 Scopus citations


The canyon in central Mexico was ablaze with torches as hundreds of people filed in. So palpable was their shared shock and grief, they later said, that neither pastor nor priest was needed. The event was a memorial service for one of their own who had died during an attempted border passage. Months later a survivor emerged from a coma to tell his story. The accident had provoked a near-death encounter with God that prompted his conversion to Pentecostalism.Today, over half of the local residents of El Alberto, a town in central Mexico, are Pentecostal. Submitting themselves to the authority of a God for whom there are no borders, these Pentecostals today both embrace migration as their right while also praying that their Mexican Dreamthe dream of a Mexican future with ample employment for allwill one day become a reality.Fire in the Canyon provides one of the first indepth looks at the dynamic relationship between religion, migration, and ethnicity across the U.S.-Mexican border. Faced with the choice between lifethreatening danger at the border and lifesapping poverty in Mexico, residents of El Alberto are drawing on both their religion and their indigenous heritage to demand not only the right to migrate, but also the right to stay home. If we wish to understand people's migration decisions, Sarat argues, we must take religion seriously. It is through religion that people formulate their ideas about life, death, and the limits of government authority.Instructor's Guide.

Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherNew York University Press
Number of pages241
ISBN (Electronic)9780814724675
ISBN (Print)9780814759370
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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