- BA, Western Maryland College
- ThM, MA, PhD, University of Chicago
Davíd Carrasco (Neil L. Rudenstine Professor of the Study of Latin America) is a Mexican American historian of religions with particular interest in Mesoamerican cities as symbols, and the Mexican-American borderlands. His studies with historians of religions at the University of Chicago inspired him to work on the question, "where is your sacred place," on the challenges of postcolonial ethnography and theory, and on the practices and symbolic nature of ritual violence in comparative perspective. Working with Mexican archaeologists, he has carried out research in the excavations and archives associated with the sites of Teotihuacan and Mexico-Tenochtitlan resulting in Religions of Mesoamerica, City of Sacrifice, and Quetzalcoatl and the Irony of Empire. An award-winning teacher, he has participated in spirited debates at Harvard with Cornel West and Samuel Huntington on the topics of race, culture, and religion in the Americas. He also directs the Moses Mesoamerican Archive and Research Project at Harvard University.
Recent collaborative publications include Breaking Through Mexico's Past: Digging the Aztecs With Eduardo Matos Moctezuma (2007), Mysteries of the Maya Calendar Museum (2012) with Laanna Carrasco, and Cave, City, and Eagle's Nest: An Interpretive Journey Through the Mapa de Cuauhtinchan No. 2 (2007; gold winner of the 2008 PubWest Book Design Award in the academic book/nontrade category) recently featured in The New York Review of Books.
His work has included a special emphasis on the religious dimensions of Latino experience: mestizaje, the myth of Aztlan, transculturation, and La Virgen de Guadalupe. He is co-producer of the film Alambrista: The Director's Cut, which puts a human face on the life and struggles of undocumented Mexican farm workers in the United States, and he edited Alambrista and the U.S.-Mexico Border: Film, Music, and Stories of Undocumented Immigrants (University of New Mexico Press). He is editor-in-chief of the award-winning three-volume Oxford Encyclopedia of Mesoamerican Cultures. His most recent publication is a new abridgement of Bernal Díaz del Castillo's memoir of the conquest of Mexico, History of the Conquest of New Spain (University of New Mexico Press).
Carrasco has received the Mexican Order of the Aztec Eagle, the highest honor the Mexican government gives to a foreign national. He has recently been chosen as the University of Chicago Alumnus of the Year, 2014.
- The Aztecs: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2012)
- The History of the Conquest of New Spain by Bernal Diaz del Castillo (University of New Mexico Press, 2009)
- Cave, City, and Eagle's Nest: An Interpretive Journey through the Mapa de Cuauhtinchan No. 2 (University of New Mexico Press, 2007)
- Breaking through Mexico's Past: Digging the Aztecs with Eduardo Matos Moctezuma (University of New Mexico Press, 2007)
- Mesoamerica's Classic Heritage: From Teotihuacan to the Aztecs (University Press of Colorado, 2002)
- Moctezuma's Mexico: Visions of the Aztec World, rev. ed. (University Press of Colorado, 2002)
- Quetzalcoatl and the Irony of Empire, rev. ed. (University Press of Colorado, 2001)
- City of Sacrifice: The Aztec Empire and the Role of Violence in Civilization (Beacon Press, 2000)
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- "Aztec Golden Wolf Sacrifice Yields Rich Trove in Mexico City," Reuters, July 7, 2017.
- "People Are Seriously Wondering Whether God Is Punishing Us with the 2016 Election," The Washington Post, June 10, 2016.
- "Mesoamerican Notes: New Music from Ancient Instruments," Harvard Magazine, March 2016.
- "Costs of Inequality: For Blacks and Hispanics, Faster Lives and Quicker Deaths," U.S. News & World Report, March 15, 2016.
- Personal Website
- Interview on Maria Hinojosa: One-on-One (American Public Television)
- 'Recalled to Life,' Harvard Divinity Bulletin