Latino/Hispanic Religion and the Public Square - Princeton Theological Seminary

Latino/Hispanic Religion and the Public Square


Under the leadership of Rev. Joanne Rodriguez, Hispanic Theological Initiative director, this project aims to strengthen and advance an online, peer-reviewed bilingual presence for articles and book reviews of Latinx scholars.

The effort involved develops blog posts and podcasts on public issues that affect and impact Latinx communities in the U.S. Launched in November 2019, HTI’s Open Plaza, a newly developed site on public square issues, has exceeded expectations. Open Plaza’s mission is “to develop a conversational and interdisciplinary space among intellectuals in religion and theology, advancing the well-being of Latinx communities and society as a whole.” Conversational and interdisciplinary space is provided among Latinx intellectuals in religion and theology, together with clergy, lay people, and activists, ranging from the COVID-19 pandemic and Black Lives Matter to immigration policies and the presidential elections.

Also launched is the third issue and the first trilingual issue (Spanish, Portuguese, and English) of the HTI online peer-review journal Perspectivas. The issue has six book reviews, three of which were written by HTI Scholars, providing those scholars the opportunity to receive critical feedback on their writing and an opportunity to be published, an important accomplishment to list on their CVs.

When the pandemic hit in mid-March 2020, HTI’s production coaches, writer Nelly Rosario and journalist Macarena Hernández, launched CO-VIDA 19 with the aim to provide “life-sustaining conversations from the HTI community.” Open Plaza now has 20 published submissions that bear witness to matters of faith, society, and politics, with one article cited in The New York Times.

Writing sessions have been held to train scholars in writing essays for Open Plaza. An experienced and qualified faculty team has conducted workshops on writing and editing blogs and on developing and recording podcasts. Not every submission is automatically accepted for the blog, podcasts, and publication; submissions must meet criteria. Supervision is conducted by an editor, Dr. Néstor Medina, an Advisory Board, and an Editorial Board. Entries for podcasts are limited to 15 – 20 minutes. Open Plaza pages must have disclaimers and neither blogs nor podcasts carry a section for comments.