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Russell Leigh Sharman
CUNY Research Foundation, Brooklyn College (Brooklyn, NY 11210-2850)
Saints and Outcasts: Race and Idolatry in Costa Rica

This study will examine race, religion and nationalism in the veneration of La Negrita, the Patroness of Costa Rica. Both an apparition and a holy relic, La Negrita is a 20-centimeter, dark-colored statue of the Virgin Mary that appeared to a part-African girl in 1635. The proposed study will explore why La Negrita was chosen as Patroness of Costa Rica in 1824 over an older, "whiter" image of the virgin, and how the beginnings of Costa Rican nationalism were connected to religious and racial ideologies. It will also research why contemporary black Costa Ricans, a consistently marginalized population, have not adopted La Negrita as their own Patroness.

Project fields:

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

$5,000 (approved)
$5,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/15/2005 – 3/15/2005