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Elizabeth (Ely) Orrego Torres

Program Area(s):  International Relations; Political Theory

Dissertation Title:

Freeing Religion: Deconstructing and Decolonizing Religious Freedom and Secularism in the Americas

Dissertation Committee:  Elizabeth Shakman Hurd (chair), Ian Hurd, Kim Marion Suiseeya, Michelle Molina (Religious Studies), Carlos Manrique (University of Los Andes, Colombia).

Research Interests: Global religion and politics, transnational religious movements, religious freedom and secularism, political theologies, critical theories, post- and decolonial thought, international human rights, Latin American thought, international organizations, international relations theory, ethnographic and interpretive methods.


Conference Presentations:

  • “Agonistic” Democracy in the Americas: Civil Society’s Understandings of Religious Freedom and Secularism at the Organization of American States (OAS).” Paper presented at Religiosidades insumisas, protestas sociales y democracias hoy. University of Los Andes, Bogotá (Colombia). June 2022; ISA Northeast. Baltimore, Maryland. November 2022.
  • “Secularism, Religious Freedom and the Rise of Transnational Evangelical Networks in the Organization of American States (OAS).” Paper presented at International Studies Association (ISA) Midwest. St. Louis, Missouri. November 2021; ISA Annual Convention. Nashville, Tennessee. April 2022.
  • “Model and Penitent: King David in Niccolò Machiavelli’s Work.” Paper presented at American Political Science Association (APSA). Seattle, Washington. September 2021.
  • “Political Theology and Ecofeminism: Weaving Solidarities Beyond Sovereignty.” Paper presented at Midwest Political Science Association (MPSA). Online. April 2021; American Political Science Association (APSA). Online. September 2021; Latin American Studies Association (LASA). Online. May 2022.
  • “The Construction of a Secularized Society in Nineteenth-century Latin American: The Case of the Chilean Republic.” Paper presented at The Venice World Multidisciplinary Conference on Republics and Republicanism. Online. June 2021.
  • “The Republican David of Machiavelli.” Paper presented at the XIII Congress of the Chilean Political Science Association (ACCP). Universidad del Desarrollo, Santiago (Chile). October 2018 [in Spanish].

Honors and Awards: 

  • Global Impacts Graduate Fellowship, Buffet Institute for Global Affairs. 2022-2023.
  • Religion, Spirituality, and Democratic Renewal (RDSR) Doctoral Fellowship. Social Science Research Council (SSRC) and Fetzer Institute. 2022-2023.
  • APSA Fund for Latino Scholarship. 2021.
  • Mellon Cluster Fellowship in Critical Theory. Northwestern University. 2019.
  • Travel Grant for Research in Florence (Italy) for M.A. dissertation work. Institute of Philosophy, Diego Portales University. December 2014-March 2015.
  • M.A. Scholarship (Academic Excellence). Institute of Philosophy, Diego Portales University. 2013-2014.
  • President of the Republic Grant (Academic Excellence) for Undergraduate Studies. The Government of Chile. 2007-2011.