TEACHING BORDERLANDS PODCAST
Expanding the Latinx Vision of Borderlands at ATS Member Schools
In current US society, the political discourse has directed the national gaze southward to the US borderlands—stretching from the Puerto Rican archipelago to the El Muro en la Playa in Tijuana, Mexico. The central concern is that much of this southbound discourse has led to increased racial stigmatization and criminalization of brown bodied Latinx people across this border-scape territory (which includes both sea and land). As tenured Latinx faculty in theological education, we are concerned that little is being offered at ATS member schools to expand their students’ vision of the US’s southern borderlands, particularly within the domains of course offerings, public lectures, library holdings, and faculty hires. This pedagogical and epistemological gap can inadvertently perpetuate abiding racial prejudices against the many Latinx people who migrate through or who are settled in the US borderlands. Hence, for this project, we aim to visit four ATS member schools across the United States to engage in strategically planned and programmatic conversations with faculty, administrators, and students about the history, ethics, theology, and hermeneutics of the US borderlands from a diverse Latinx perspective. The central goal is not only to offer a counter story of the borderlands but ultimately to foster a life-giving vision of Latinidad for each host school’s educational ecology.
Team Members: Efraín Agosto (New York Theological Seminary), Gregory L. Cuéllar (Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary), Teresa Delgado (Iona College), Eduardo C. Fernández (Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University), Daisy L. Machado (Union Theological Seminary)
Episode 5: Dr. Efraín AgostoDr. Efraín Agosto is Professor of New Testament Studies at New York Theological Seminary in New York City and the Seminary’s former academic dean. A Puerto Rican, Dr. Agosto was born and raised in New York City. Among his published works are Servant Leadership: Jesus and Paul (2005) and Preaching in the Interim: Transitional Leadership in the Latino/a Church (2018). The volume that he co-edited with Jacqueline Hidalgo, Latinx, the Bible and Migration (Palgrave Macmillan), was published in 2018. Efrain’s teaching and research expertise focus on the New Testament letters of Paul and the issues of empire, ekklesia, leadership and ministry that they reflect. Efrain lives with his wife Olga Gisela in West Hartford, Connecticut, and they have two adult children, Joel and Jasmin.
Episode 4: Dr. Teresa Delgado
Teresa Delgado is Director of the Peace and Justice Studies Program and Professor and Chairperson of the Religious Studies Department at Iona College (New Rochelle, NY). She received her doctorate from Union Theological Seminary in New York City, under the guidance of the trailblazing womanist theologian Dr. Delores S. Williams. She has published on topics ranging from diversity in higher education, transformational pedagogies, constructive theology and ethics, and justice for racially, ethnically and sexually minoritized persons, including her essays, “Metaphor for Teaching: Good Teaching is Like Good Sex,” (Teaching Theology and Religion, 18.3 July 2015) and “Beyond Procreativity: Heterosexuals Queering Marriage,” in Queer Christianities: Lived Religion in Transgressive Forms (NYU Press, 2014). Dr. Delgado’s book, A Puerto Rican Decolonial Theology: Prophesy Freedom, was published in September 2017 (Palgrave Macmillan); her most recent essay, “For the Beauty of the World: The Moral Imaginary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s World House,” co-authored with Dr. Victor Anderson (Vanderbilt University) is included in Reclaiming the Great World House in the 21st Century: Cross-Disciplinary Explorations of the Vision of Martin Luther King, Jr. (Vicki L. Crawford and Lewis V. Baldwin, eds. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 2019). Her poetry, “Summer Solstice,” will be included in the collection Third and Fourth Wave Catholic Women Writers: The Future of Unruly Women in the Catholic Church (Jeana DelRosso, Leigh Eicke, and Ana Kothe, eds. New York: SUNY Press, forthcoming 2020).
Addressing the need for greater diversity, equity and inclusion in theological education, Dr. Delgado mentors doctoral students of color in theology and religion to nurture their success in the academy, church and world. A Senior Fellow of the Ford Foundation, she has served on the board of the Hispanic Theological Initiative; as well as a member of the mentoring consortium of the Forum for Theological Exploration; and the advisory committee of the Wabash Center for Teaching & Learning in Theology and Religion. Dr. Delgado has just concluded her second term as President of the Board of WESPAC (Westchester People’s Action Coalition), a leading force of social justice activism in Westchester County, and currently serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of Colgate University. She lives in Mount Vernon, NY with her husband, Pascal Kabemba (with whom she celebrated 31 years of marriage this year) and their four beautiful children.
Episode 3: Dr. Eduardo Fernandez
Other than teaching classes in missiology and Latino theology and ministry at the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University at Berkeley and the Graduate Theological Union, Dr. Fernández publishes, gives workshops and retreats, and assists at local parishes. He has taught high school and worked in university campus ministry. A native of El Paso, Texas, he earned a Masters in Latin American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin and a doctorate in theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. Among his published works are Mexican American Catholics, awarded a 2008 Catholic Press Association Book Award in the category of pastoral ministry, as well as his co-authored , La Vida Sacra: Contemporary Hispanic Sacramental Theology (with James Empereur), Culture-Senstitive Ministry: Helpful Strategies for Pastoral Ministers (with Kenneth McGuire, CSP and Anne Hansen) and his latest, Doing Theology as If People Mattered: Encounters in Contextual Theology (with Deborah Ross and Stephen Bevans). He was recently chosen to give the Graduate Theological Union Distinguished Faculty Lecture in November of 2020.
Episode 2: Dr. Daisy Machado
Daisy L. Machado serves as the Executive Director of the Hispanic Summer Program and Professor of American Religious History at Union Theological Seminary. Dr. Machado, a native of Cuba who arrived in New York City with her parents when she was three years old, is Professor of American Religious History at Union Theological Seminary in New York City. She also served as academic dean of Lexington Theological Seminary and Union Theological Seminary, the first Latina to hold this position in both institutions. Dr. Machado was also the first director of the Hispanic Theological Initiative when it opened its doors in 1996. Currently, she also serves as the director of the Hispanic Summer Program, a unique program of theological education founded in 1989.
Dr. Machado has lectured in many seminaries and conferences both in the United States and abroad. She is the author of several published works related to borderlands history and theology. Her latest publication is Borderland Religion: Ambiguous Practices of Difference and Hope and anthology published in 2019 which she co-edited with Dr. Trygve Wyller (Norway) and Dr. Bryan Turner (Australia) containing essays by a group of international scholars. In this anthology she also has an essay titled “Santa Muerte: A Transgressing Saint Transgresses Borders”. In addition, Dr. Machado has also authored other book chapters on the borderlands, among them: the chapter “History and Latino Identity: Mapping A Past That Leads to Our Future” in the book The Wiley Blackwell Companion to Latino/a Theology; “Borderlife and the Religious Imagination” in the anthology Religion and Politics; and “The Southern U.S. Border: Immigration, the Historical Imagination, and Globalization” in Rethinking Economic Globalization. She is also co-editor of the volume, A Reader in Critical Latina Feminist Theology which contains her essay “The Unamed Woman: Justice, Feminists, and the Unamed Woman”. Her first monograph on the issue of the borderlands was Of Borders and Margins: Hispanic Disciples in Texas, 1888-1945.
Episode 1: Rev. Dr. Gregory Cuéllar
Gregory L. Cuéllar is the Associate Professor of Old Testament at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. As a biblical scholar, Dr. Cuellar is interested in alternative ways of reading the biblical text, in particular those that are rooted in a larger contrapuntal discourse of liberation. He has written on topics related to the U.S. Mexico Borderlands, Latino/a immigration, race, and empire. A major focal point in his research lies at intersections of religion, migratory aesthetics, borderlands and postcolonial trauma. He is currently researching the social, political, and ethical contours of religious services provided within state contracted family detention facilities. His two most recent books are, Resacralizing the Other at the US-Mexico Border for Routledge (2020) and , Empire, the British Museum, and the Making of the Biblical Scholar in the Nineteenth Century Archival Criticism (Palgrave, 2019). In terms of advocacy work, he is the co-founder of a refugee artwork project called, Arte de Lágrimas (Art of Tears): Refugee Artwork Project. This project is a traveling art exhibit and archive that aims to create greater public awareness of the lived migratory journeys of asylum-seeking children, youth, and adults.
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