Carlos Ruiz Martinez

PhD Candidate (Post-Comp)

Carlos Ruiz Martinez is a doctoral student in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Iowa. He is broadly interested in the history of race and Catholicism in the United States. More specifically, his current work focuses on the role of Catholicism in the development of the St. Louis suburbs and the formation of segregated communities. While much recent work has focused on the history of White Flight in St. Louis, Carlos’ work foregrounds the fact that a majority of those who fled inner ring suburbs like Ferguson, Missouri in the second half of the 20th century were Catholics. Moreover, if the St. Louis suburbs saw drastic demographic changes in terms of race, they also saw drastic religious change. His work suggests that race and religion are fundamentally related. 

Carlos is also interested in how the category of religion and its related terms function in U.S. public life. Specifically, his work has focused on the Sanctuary Movement in the United States, especially on how certain spaces deemed religious are privileged as spaces where immigration enforcement is to be avoided. Such exceptions allow undocumented immigrants certain protections while also imprisoning them within space that federal agencies have deemed properly religious. 

Research interests

  • Race and Catholicism
  • Theory and method in the study of religion
  • Religion in public life
  • Religion and migration
  • Sanctuary

Selected publications

“The Question of Sanctuary: The Adorers of the Blood of Christ and the U.S. Sanctuary Movement, 1983-1996.” U.S. Catholic Historian 38, no. 4 (2020): 53-70

This is a picture of Carlos Ruiz Martinez
MA, Saint Louis University
Contact Information

University of Iowa
322 Gilmore Hall (GILH)
112 North Capitol Street
Iowa City, IA 52242
United States