Alyssa Maldonado-Estrada

Assistant Professor of Religion

Maldanodo-Estrada photo

Phone: 269.337.7426
Office: Humphrey House, Room 107


PhD: Princeton University
MA: Princeton University
BA: Vassar College


Alyssa Maldonado-Estrada is Assistant Professor of Religion at Kalamazoo College where she teaches classes on religion and masculinity, Catholics in the Americas, urban religion, and religions of Latin America. She is an ethnographer and her research focuses on material culture, contemporary Catholicism, and gender and embodiment. She is the author of Lifeblood of the Parish: Men and Catholic Devotion in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, an ethnography about masculinity and men’s devotional lives in a gentrified neighborhood in New York City. She is currently working on a project titled “Reinventing the Rosary: Innovation and Catholic Prayer” on the technological and sensory history of prayer. She is also currently working on projects about Latinx art and Latinx religion in the multiethnic neighborhoods of New York City.

Dr. Maldonado-Estrada is editor of the journal Material Religion: The Journal of Objects, Art and Belief, co-chair of the Men and Masculinities Unit at the American Academy of Religion, and serves on the editorial board of the journal American Religion. She was chosen as one of the Young Scholars in American Religion at IUPUI’s (now Indiana University Indianapolis) Center for the Study of Religion & American Culture.

Research Interests

  • Religion in the Americas
  • Catholic Studies
  • Men and Masculinities
  • Urban Religion
  • Material Culture
  • Body & Embodiment
  • Latinx Religion

Selected Publications


Lifeblood of the Parish: Men and Catholic Practice in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (New York University Press, December 8, 2020)
Amazon B&N New York University Press

Maldonado-Estrada, Alyssa., “Latinx Devotional Stuff and Material Religion.” In Bloomsbury Religion in North America ed. Lloyd Barba. London: Bloomsbury, 2023.

“Latinx Christianity: Conversion and Colombianidad in Queens, NY” in the Handbook of Contemporary Christianity in the United States, Rowman & Littlefield, 2022.

“Forum: Studying Masculinities Catholic Style” American Catholic Studies 132, no. 2 (Summer 2021).

“Irreverence and Ethnography: Studying Catholic Masculinities,” American Catholic Studies 132, no. 2 (Summer 2021).

“My Poison Rosary: On eBay and Desire.” Material Religion 17, no. 5 (November 1, 2021): 656–57,

Maldonado-Estrada, Alyssa, Monica L. Mercado, Katherine Dugan, and James S. Bielo. “eBay Method and the Study of Religion.” Material Religion 17, no. 5 (November 1, 2021) 1–3.

Men, Tattoos, and Catholic Devotion in BrooklynMaterial Religion, May 26, 2020, 1-20

“Catholic Devotion in the Americas.” Religion Compass 13, no. 1 (January 2019).

Online Contributions

“Rosary Revelations: The History of Prayer,” Marian Library-University of Dayton Blog, October 13, 2022

“What Should Catholics Think of Tattoos?U.S. Catholic, May 13, 2022

“Special Feature: Desacralized (As more and more former Boston churches are being converted into luxury housing, is the city missing out on potential arts and community spaces?)” DigBoston, October 1, 2021

“Special Feature: Desacralized Pt. 2 It’s Going to Be Hard Driving Down that Street—As another historic Black Boston institution is gentrified, a congregation displaced by condos reflects on this trend and what it means,” DigBoston, January 26, 2022

Sacred Spaces: Special Mosque Edition—While many Christians have been pushed out of their longtime places of worship, Muslims have spent decades configuring residential and commercial buildings,” DigBoston, May 5, 2022

New book tells how priest, laypeople worked for justice in South Bronx,National Catholic Reporter, January 9, 2021

The Enchanted & Catholic World of Tattoo Artists,” The Commons, Association for Public Religion and Intellectual Life, February 2021

U.S. Catholic Magazine, “Labor of Love; Masculinity and Faith Intersect at a Brooklyn parish festival”

“Authentic Survivors: Religion and Gentrification in Williamsburg, Brooklyn,” Gotham Center for New York City History, January 21, 2021

“Tattoos as Sacramentals,” American Religion, Sept. 3, 2019

“Loving Saint Paulinus: Patron Saint of Williamsburg, Brooklyn,” The Global Catholic Review (blog), June 17, 2019

“Distance Learning on Insta: Using Instagram Posts & Stories to Co-Create and Share Student Ideas,” Teaching Commons | Kalamazoo College.” Accessed August 27, 2020

Multi Media

Empire State Engagements: Lifeblood of the Parish. June 1, 2021.

The Religious Studies Project Podcast, “Masculinity and the Body Languages of Catholicism.” May 24, 2021.

“The Classical Ideas Podcast: EP 173: ‘Lifeblood of the Parish’ w/Dr. Alyssa Maldonado-Estrada.” Accessed August 28, 2020. .

Expert featured on the BBC World Service Documentary “The Instagram Witches of Brooklyn.” on Instagram

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