Our Presenters

Dr. Charles H. Long, University of California at Santa Barbara

Historian of Religion, Charles H. Long, received his B.D. and Ph.D. at University of Chicago, studied with Professor Joachim Wach – pioneer of the History of Religions field; co-founded the international journal, History of Religions; founding Editor, Studies in Religion Series Univ. North Carolina Press; co-Editor in Chief of Religions of the Americas Series, University of New Mexico Press; co-founder, Society for the Study of Black Religion; past President of the American Academy of Religion, Professor Emeritus from University California, Santa Barbara, and Syracuse University. Professor Long’s major publications include: Significations: Signs, Symbols, and Images in the Interpretation of Religion and Alpha: The Myths of Creation.

Dr. Yvonne Chireau, Swarthmore College

Professor Chireau is an authority on African-based religions such as Santeria and Voodoo in America, religion and healing, and black American religion. She is also interested in religion and comics, manga, and graphic novels. The author of Black Magic: African American Religion and the Conjuring Tradition (University of California Press, 2003), she has also co-edited, with Nathaniel Deutsch, Black Zion: African American Religions and Judaism (Oxford University Press, 1999). She has also published articles in several professional publications including the Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, Journal of the Interdenominational Theological Center, and Religion and American Culture: A Journal of Interpretation. Professor Chireau teaches courses on Religion in America, African American Religions, Folk and Popular Religions, Women and Religion, and Black Women's Spirituality. She received her B.A from Mount Holyoke College, her M.T.S. from Harvard Divinity School, and her Ph.D. from Princeton University.

Dr. Dianne M. Stewart, Emory University

Dianne Marie Stewart was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and grew up in Hartford, CT, USA. She obtained her B.A. degree from Colgate University in English and African American Studies, her M.Div. degree from Harvard Divinity School and her Ph. D. degree in systematic theology from Union Theological Seminary in New York City. Dr. Stewart is an associate professor of Religion and African American Studies at Emory University. She joined Emory’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences in 2001 and teaches courses in the graduate and undergraduate programs, in addition to administering the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program, an international initiative that aims to diversify the academy by helping students from underrepresented racial/ethnic groups to earn the Ph.D. degree and secure teaching positions at tertiary institutions across the United States and South Africa.  Dr. Stewart is the author of Three Eyes for the Journey: African Dimensions of the Jamaican Religious Experience (Oxford University Press, 2005, and is also co-editor, with Drs. Jacob Olupona and Terrence Johnson, of the new Religious Cultures of African and African Diaspora People series at Duke University Press.

Dr. David Douglas Daniels III, McCormick Theological Seminary

Dr. David D. Daniels III is the Henry Winters Luce Professor of World Christianity at McCormick Theological Seminary, having joined the faculty in 1987. Daniels has received the Bachelor of Arts from Bowdoin College, obtained the Master of Divinity from Yale University, and earned a Ph.D. in Church History from Union Theological Seminary. He has served as the president of the Society for Pentecostal Studies and co-chair of the Evangelical Theology Group of AAR as well as steering committees of the History of Christian Section, Pentecostal-Charismatic Group, and the African American Religious History Group of AAR. He serves as a board member of the Christian Century, the Lake Institute on Faith and Giving, and the Seymour Institute on the Black Church and Public Policy; his previous board memberships include the Louisville Institute and McCormick Theological Seminary. He serves on the editorial board of Journal of World Christianity.

Dr. Erica Moiah James, University of Miami

Erica Moiah James is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Art and Art History at The University of Miami. Her research and teaching focuses on the arts of arts of the Americas and the global Caribbean. Before arriving at UM she served on the faculty of Yale University for six years and was the founding Director and Chief Curator of the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas. She recently coedited a special issue of Small Axe Journal entitled “Art as Caribbean Feminist Practice” (March 2017). Her forthcoming book is entitled “After Caliban: Caribbean Art in the Global Imaginary” and she has begun work on a second manuscript entitled “Historicizing the Global in Caribbean Art and Visual Culture,” which seeks to examine the concept of globalization and global culture through a series of works created across a five-hundred-year span on the Island of Hispaniola. Professor James serves on the editorial boards of Small Axe: A Caribbean Platform for Criticism (DukeUP) and Callaloo Journal (Johns Hopkins UP).

Dr. Joyce Marie Jackson, Louisiana State University

Joyce Marie Jackson is the Director of the African & African American Studies Program and an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography and Anthropology at Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge. She received her Ph.D. in Folklore and Ethnomusicology from Indiana University, Bloomington. Her published work has appeared in the American Anthropologist, Saints and Sinners: Religion, Blues and (D)evil in African American Music and Literature, The African American Review, Louisiana Folklife Journal, South Florida History, Black Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia, Notable Black American Women, The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture, African American Music: A Cultural Perspective and other scholarly publications. She has also authored, Life in the Village: A Cultural Memory of the Fazendeville Community. In addition, she is currently producing a multimedia interactive DVD-ROM, curriculum guide and companion book entitled, Hidden Currents: The Rural Roots of Jazz in South Louisiana.

Dr. Whitney Battle-Baptiste, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Whitney Battle-Baptiste, a native of the Bronx, New York, is a scholar and activist who sees the classroom and the campus as a space to engage contemporary issues with a sensibility of the past. Her work ranges from interpreting captive African domestic spaces at Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage Plantation, to the early history of school segregation in Boston at the Abiel Smith School on Beacon Hill, to the W. E. B. Du Bois Homesite (or House of the Black Burghardts) in Great Barrington, Mass., or the complexities of creating a community-driven heritage tourist site at Millars Plantation, on the Bahamian island of Eleuthera – her ability to translate material culture and artifacts into complex interpretations of African American domestic life has made her a pioneer in her field. Her first book, Black Feminist Archaeology (Left Coast Press, 2011), outlines the basic tenets of Black feminist thought and research for archaeologists and shows how it can be used to improve contemporary historical archaeology as a whole. At the moment, she is an Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology and serves as the Director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Center at UMass Amherst.

Dr. Melvin L. Butler, University of Miami

Melvin L. Butler is an Associate Professor in the Department of Musicology at the University of Miami Frost School of Music. Prior to this appointment at the University of Miami, Butler taught at the University of Virginia (2005-2008). His awards include a Ford Foundation Pre-Doctoral Fellowship and a Fulbright IIE field research grant, and a Thurgood Marshall Dissertation Fellowship at Dartmouth College. From 2008 to 2010, he served as Secretary of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music (U.S. Branch), and in 2012-13, he was a fellow-in-residence at Yale University’s Institute of Sacred Music. He now performs mostly with Brian Blade and the Fellowship Band, with whom he is featured on several albums. He earned his Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from New York University, in addition to master’s degrees in music and jazz studies (also from NYU) and a bachelor’s degree in performance from Berklee College of Music.

Dr. Qiana J. Whitted, University of South Carolina

Qiana Whitted is Associate Professor of English and African American Studies at the University of South Carolina. A graduate of Hampton University with a PhD from Yale University, her research focuses on African-American literary and religious studies, Southern studies, and American comic books. She is the author of the study, “A God of Justice?”: The Problem of Evil in Twentieth-Century Black Literature (Virginia, 2009) and co-editor of the collection, Comics and the U.S. South (Mississippi, 2012). Her most recently published essays explore race, genre, and comics in representations of historical figures such as Nat Turner, Stagger Lee, and Emmett Till. She is also Associate Editor of INKS: The Journal of the Comics Studies Society and recently served as a visiting professor abroad at Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina in Brazil.

Dr. Ashon T. Crawley, University of Virginia

Earning his doctoral degree from Duke University in the English Department with a certificate in African and African American Studies. Before Duke, Ashon Crawley attended the Candler School of Theology at Emory University, earning a Master of Theological Studies degree with a concentration in feminist thought and queer theology. His research and teaching experiences are in the areas of Black Studies, Performance Theory and Sound Studies, Philosophy and Theology, Black Feminist and Queer theories. His first book project, titled Blackpentecostal Breath: The Aesthetics of Possibility, published with Fordham University Press, investigates the relationship of aesthetic productions to modes of collective intellectual practice. Dr. Crawley’s current work engages a wide range of critical paradigms from black studies, queer theory, and sound studies to theology, continental philosophy, and performance studies to theorize the ways in which alternative or “otherwise” modes of existence can serve as disruptions against the marginalization of and violence against minoritarian lifeworlds and possibilities for flourishing.

Dr. Nimi Wariboko, Boston University

A lively transdisciplinary thinker, Dr. Nimi Wariboko loves to unfold, refold, enfold, and energize past and present ideas and hopes in relation to the possibilities of future human flourishing. The five pillars of his scholarship are economic ethics, Christian social ethics, African social traditions, Pentecostal studies, and philosophical theology. The structure of this creative body of work, which is characterized by rigorous interweaving of original insights from each of these fields, is mapped out by the following five central titles. The Principle of Excellence: A Framework for Social Ethics presents social ethics as action-provoking-and-guiding theories of praxis and actualization of potentialities for a more flourishing, inclusive, and creatively reconciled society; the focus of God and Money: A Theology of Money in a Globalizing World is a call for an alternative, inclusive global monetary system that can better support developing economies; Ethics and Time: Ethos of Temporal Orientation in Politics and Religion of the Niger Delta explores the emancipatory core of African culture; The Pentecostal Principle: Ethical Methodology in New Spirit develops a pneumatological methodology of ethics for public policies in pluralistic communities that are open to God’s Spirit; and Economics in Spirit and Truth: A Moral Philosophy of Finance situates a social justice-oriented “care of the soul” at the intersection of radical continental philosophy, economics, and politics to craft an ethics of antifragility and potent freedom that might counter the fragilities unleashed against our socio-economic fabric by late capitalism or global finance capital.

Dr. Sylviane Diouf, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library

Sylviane A. Diouf is an award-winning historian of the African Diaspora. She is the author of Slavery’s Exiles: The Story of the American Maroons (NYU Press, 2014); and Servants of Allah: African Muslims Enslaved in the Americas (NYU Press, 1998). The fifteenth anniversary edition of Servants of Allah—named Outstanding Academic Book in 1999—was released in 2013. Diouf's book Dreams of Africa in Alabama: The Slave Ship Clotilda and the Story of the Last Africans Brought to America (Oxford University Press, 2007) received the 2007 Wesley-Logan Prize of the American Historical Association, the 2009 Sulzby Award of the Alabama Historical Association and was a finalist for the 2008 Hurston/​Wright Legacy Award. She is the editor of Black Power 50 (The New Press, 2016), Fighting the Slave Trade: West African Strategies (Ohio University Press, 2003) and In Motion: The African-American Migration Experience (National Geographic, 2005).

Dr. Michael L. Blakey, College of William and Mary

Michael Blakey is currently National Endowment for the Humanities Professor of Anthropology and Professor of American Studies at the College of William and Mary. He is founding Director of the Institute for Historical Biology at that university. From 1992-2004, Dr. Blakey was Scientific Director of the New York African Burial Ground Project involving interdisciplinary study of 419 skeletons of Africans enslaved in 18th century New York City. Professor Blakey held an Adjunct Professorship in Anatomy in the College of Medicine at Howard University where he had for many years been Professor of Anthropology and Curator of the W. Montague Cobb Human Skeletal Collection.

Dr. Blakey has taught at Spelman College, the Universita di Roma - La Sapienza, Columbia University, and Brown University. He served as a Research Associate in Physical Anthropology in the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution for 9 years. He is a past President of the Association of Black Anthropologists, member of the Executive Council of the Society for Medical Anthropology, United States' Representative to the Council of the 4th World Archaeological Congress in Cape Town, and Permanent Representative to Washington for the African Bureau of Education Sciences, Organization of African States. Blakey earned his B.A. at Howard University and the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. He received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from York College, CUNY in 1995. 

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