Associate professor in UVA's department of religious studies
Jalane Schmidt is an associate professor in the University of Virginia’s Department of Religious Studies. Her research and teaching are focused upon African diaspora religions of the Caribbean and Latin America, and particularly festivity and ritual. She teaches courses that consider the effects of colonization and the slave trade upon religious practice in the Americas.
In her book project on 20th-century Cubans’ devotion to their patron saint, she examines religious, racial, and cultural hybridity in the Americas by interpreting the national expansion of this popular cult. In Schmidt’s emerging research, she is investigating how the history of slavery is performed in spirit possession rituals and expressed in material culture. Particularly, she is concerned with how contemporary mediums describe heightened sensory perception as a means for navigating traumatic emotional terrain.