Karen Richman

Director, Undergraduate Studies
Professor of the Practice

Karen Richman is a cultural anthropologist. 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.

Select Publications


Migration and Vodou. New World Diasporas Series, University of Florida Press. 2005.

Articles and Book Chapters

Retirement Savings and Resilience: A Comparison of Hispanic/Latinos and Non-Hispanic/Latinos' Responses to Retirement Insecurity. With J. Saad-Lesslet. Aging and Retirement Issues for People of Different Races and Ethnicity — Essay Collection. Pp. 26 --44. Society of Actuaries Research Institute. 2021.

Possession and Attachment:  Notes on Moral Ritual Communication among Haitian Descent Groups.  In Spirited Things: The Work of "Possession" in Afro-Atlantic Religions (s).  P. Johnson, ed. pp. 207-223.  University of Chicago Press. 2014.

Work and Retirement. With J. Saad-Lessler and T. Ghilarducci.  In Handbook of Minority Aging. K. Whitfield and T. Baker, eds. Pp. 507-525.  Springer Publishing Company. 2013.

Confianza, Savings and Retirement: A Study of Mexican Immigrants in Chicago.    Richman et al. Institute for Latino Studies Research Reports. 2012.

Religion at the Epicenter: Religious Agency and Affiliation in Léogâne After the Earthquake. Studies in Religion 41(1):148-165.  2012.

The Vodou State and the Protestant Nation: Haiti in the Long Twentieth Century, In Obeah and Other Powers: The Politics of Caribbean Religion and Healing, M. Forde and D. Paton, eds., pp. 268-279.  Duke University Press.  2012.    

Congregating by Cassette.  With T. Rey.  International Journal of Cultural Studies 12(1):53-70.  2009. 

“Call us Vote People”: Citizenship, Migration and Transnational Politics in Haitian and Mexican Locations. Citizenship, Political Engagement and Belonging: Immigrants in Europe and the United States.  D. Reed-Danahay and C. Brettell, eds.,  pp.  262-295. Rutgers University Press.  2008.

A More Powerful Sorcerer: Conversion and Capital in the Haitian Diaspora.  New West Indian Guide 81 (1-2):1-43.  2008.

Innocent Imitations?  Mimesis and Alterity in Haitian Vodou Art.  Ethnohistory 55(2): 203-228.  2008.

Simplemente Maria: Naming Workers, Placing People and the Production of Hospitality. Review of International American Studies: Special Volume on The Significance of Modernity in the Americas 2(2): 38-49. 2007.

In the News

"Haitian gang wants $1 million ransom for each of the 17 kidnapped missionaries." NPR, 20 October 2021,

"Informal Networks Provide 18% of Americans' Total Retirement Savings." Forbes, 15 January 2021,

"The Elusive Relief Bill. Also, 'The Financial Buoy.'" radio bilingüe, National Latino Public Radio Network, 16 September 2020,



Email: krichman@nd.edu
Phone: (574) 631-8146
Office: 304 Bond Hall

Department Bio