Todd Ochoa is an anthropologist who focuses on religion. This semester he is teaching Introduction to Religion and Culture to 180 students as well as a graduate course, Religion in Postcolonial Americas.
Ochoa explains that Religious Studies is not the same as theology. Rather than focusing on particular faiths and texts, Religious Studies, especially through an anthropological lens, examines the people and cultures, the human relationships and dynamics. His research centers on African-inspired communities in Cuba. Many of the spiritual practices there focus on ancestors.
“Monotheism is a pretty recent arrival in the human religious palette. Before that it was polytheistic and paganism. And before that it was veneration of the dead or ancestor worship.”
Ochoa just finished his tenure serving as IAH New Faculty Program Director. He is also an IAH Faculty Fellow.
For more on the conversation, listen to the podcast below.