Karen Richman is a cultural anthropologist and Director of Undergraduate Academic Programs at the Institute for Latino Studies. She teaches courses in Latino Studies, Romance Languages and Literatures and Anthropology. 

Richman is the author of Migration and Vodou (2005), of numerous articles and book chapters on Haitian and Mexican migration, religion, savings, work, language and music. Richman’s scholarship and teaching have been recognized with awards for Open Course Ware Excellence, the Heizer award for the best journal article in ethnohistory and Newberry Library and Social Science Research Council fellowships.  She co-edited a special journal volume on Haitian religion in 2012 and was the hosting chair of the annual Haitian Studies Association conference at University of Notre Dame.  Her current research project is an interdisciplinary study of Mexican immigrants’ social wealth, savings and retirement supported by the National Endowment for Financial Education.

Thematic Interests

Religion, migration, transnationalism, performance, gender, production and consumption

Current Research

Migration and religious conversion and an ethnographic biography of a Mexican immigrant woman.


Journal Articles

"The Impact of Collectivism on Savings Behavior: A Case Study of Mexican-Americans and Non-Mexican Latinos" (with Joelle Saad-Lessler), Review of Economics of the Household 12, 3 (2014)
"Male Migration, Female Perdition: Narratives of Economic and Reproductive Impotence in a Haitian Transnational Community," Anthropologica 54, 2 (2012)
“The Somatics of Syncretism: Tying Body and Soul in Haitian Religion” (with Terry Rey), Studies in Religion/Sciences Religieuses 39, 3 (2010)
“Innocent Imitations? Mimesis and Alterity in Haitian Vodou Art, Tourism and Anthropology,” Ethnohistory 55, 2 (2008)
“Simplemente Maria: Naming Workers, Placing People and the Production of Hospitality,” Review of International American Studies 2, 2 (2007)
“Peasants, Migrants and the Discovery of African Traditions: Ritual and Social Change in Lowland Haiti” Journal of Religion in Africa 37, 3 (2007)

Book Chapters

"Possession and Attachment:  Notes on Moral Ritual Communication among Haitian Descent Groups," in Paul C. Johnson, ed., Spirited Things:The Work of "Possession" in Afro-Atlantic Religions(s) (University of Chicago Press, 2014)
"Religion at the Epicenter: Agency and Affiliation in Léogâne after the Earthquake" in Millery Polyne, ed., The Idea of Haiti: Rethinking Crisis and Development (University of Minnesota Press, 2013).
"Work and Retirement" (with Teresa Ghilarducci and Joelle Saad-Lessler), in Keith Whitfield and Tamara Baker, eds., Handbook of Minority Aging (Springer, 2013).
"The Vodou State and the Protestant Nation: Haiti in the Long Twentieth Century," in Maarit Forde and Diana Paton, eds., Obeah and Other Powers: The Politics of Caribbean Religion and Healing (Duke University Press, 2012)
“‘Call us Vote People’: Citizenship, Migration and Transnational Politics in Haitian and Mexican Locations” in D. Reed-Danahay and C. Brettell, eds., Citizenship, Political Engagement, and Belonging: Immigrants in Europe and the United States (Rutgers University Press, 2008)


"Religion at the Epicenter: Agency and Affiliation in Léogâne After the Earthquake" (with Terry Rey), Studies in Religion 41 (June 2012)

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