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Dr. Tobias Reu

Research interest

Religious practice, democracy, and citizenship in Latin America

Christian churches and lay organizations play an important role in present day Latin American societies. Protestant Pentecostal churches and the Catholic movement for charismatic renewal induce their members to engage in a variety of religious and communal activities. The mainstream Catholic church also offers ample opportunity for participation in faith-based groups and associations. What are the contributions to political culture and citizen participation in the democratic process that emerge from the associational life of Christian organizations?
My research builds on ethnographic work with lay confraternities that participate in the organization of Catholic patron saint festivals in Bolivia, and with Pentecostal churches in Guatemala. It speaks to the impact that participation in faith based civil society organizations has on attitudes toward the common good and the state. In particular, I focus on the different concepts of leadership that are practiced within these organizations and inform the political subjectivities that emerge within their context.


  • Reu, Tobias. 2013. Saint Worship and Citizenship in Bolivia: An Ethnographic Approach to Democracy and Civil Society at the Festival of Urqupiña. Fiar 6. http://interamericaonline.org/volume-6-1/reu/ .
  • Schäfer, Heinrich Wilhelm, Adrián Tovar Simoncic, und Tobias Reu. 2013. Cambios en el campo religioso de Guatemala y Nicaragua: 1985 a 2013. Revista Sendas: Instituto de Investigaciones del Hecho Religioso 1: 11–32.
  • Schäfer, Heinrich Wilhelm, Tobias Reu, und Adrián Tovar Simoncic. 2012. Macht und Ohnmacht des Heiligen Geistes. Forschung: Das Magazin der Deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft 37: 20–23.
  • Reu, Tobias. 2009. Culture and Rights in Bolivia: Three Ethnographic Contributions. E-misférica 6. http://hemisphericinstitute.org/hemi/en/e-misferica-62/reu .
  • Reu, Tobias. 2009. „Folkloric Dance, Civil Society, and the Public Sphere in the Bolivian Saint’s Festival of the Virgin of Urqupiña“. PhD thesis, New York: New York University.
  • Reu, Tobias. 2008. Urqupiña Travels: A Meditation on the Virgin Mary, Displacement, and Agency. E-misférica 5. http://hemisphericinstitute.org/journal/5.1/eng/en51_pg_reu.html .
  • Reu, Tobias. 2005. Urqutaquiña: Algunas consideraciones acerca de entrada folklórica, cerveza y modernidad boliviana. Atar a la Rata: Literatura y afines 13. Cochabamba, Bolivia.
  • Reu, Tobias. 2005. Prehistoria especulativa de la Entrada Folklórica de la Virgen de Urqupiña (Entrevista con Lic. Ramón Sanzetenea). http://www.affvu.org/modules/wiwimod/index.php?page=prehistoria.