Torin Alexander is Assistant Professor of Religion at St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN. He received a BS in physics and mathematics from Vanderbilt University, an MA in physics from the University of California, Berkeley, an M.Div from Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York, an MA and his Ph.D. in religious studies from Rice University. Alexander is the author of several encyclopedia articles, book reviews, and is co-author with Stephen C. Finley of a chapter in Faith in America (Praeger Publishers, 2006). In addition, Alexander is a former editorial assistant for Religious Studies Review and The Council of Societies for the Study of Religion Bulletin and is currently an assistant editor for The Encyclopedia of African American Religious Culture (ABC-CLIO). His areas of research include African American religion and religious experience, postmodernism(s), critical theory, and continental/neopragmatist philosophy of religion. Prior to attending Rice, Alexander spent thirteen years as a college chaplain, the last four being at Albion College, where he was also an adjunct instructor in the Center for Meaning and Value.
Stephen C. Finley is Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy & Religious Studies and the African & African American Studies Program, with an affiliation with Women’s and Gender Studies at Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge. The organizing principle of his research is to expose the diversity and complexity of African American religious cultures and phenomena, extending beyond but including the Black Church, paying special attention to theory and method, and interrogating the ways in which the body is constituted in various religious activities and communities. Along these lines, his book manuscript, The Black Body in the Nation of Islam, is under review with an academic press. His co-edited anthology (with Dr. Margarita Guillory and Dr. Hugh Page), ‘There Is a Mystery’: Esotericism, Gnosticism, and Mysticism in African American Religious Experience, is also under review. He continues to research for his second monograph, Sojourners in a Strange Land: The Religious Lives of African American Latter-day Saints, and he his developing an additional book project on Malcolm X and gender with Dr. Eldon Birthwright (LSU English). His essays have appeared in Black Theology: An International Journal, CSSR Bulletin (Now Bulletin for the Study of Religion), and the Journal of the American Academy of Religion. One of his most fulfilling professional responsibilities is mentoring undergraduate students toward graduate and professional school. He maintains a purple garden, makes his own potpourri, and collects fine crystal and art depicting African American life and culture.
Derek S. Hicks is the Henry Luce Diversity Fellow in the School of Divinity at Wake Forest University. Earning his Ph.D. at Rice University in 2009, Derek has taught and lectured broadly on religion and American culture. In support of his scholarship, Hicks has been awarded fellowships from the Ford Foundation, the Fund for Theological Education, and most recently from the Louisville Institute. He is currently completing his first book entitled Recalibrating Race in the Black Faith Tradition (under contract, Palgrave Macmillan). He served as assistant editor of the volume entitled African American Religious Cultures (ABC-CLIO Press, 2010). Hicks also contributed chapters for two forthcoming books: Blacks and Whites in Christian America: How Racial Discrimination Shapes Religious Convictions with sociologists Dr. Michael Emerson and Dr. Jason Shelton (in press, NYU Press) and Religion, Food, and Eating in North America: An Anthology(under contract, Columbia University Press). Derek previously taught at Lancaster Theological Seminary and Rice University and was the Visiting Scholar of Religion in the Center for Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania (2010-11).
Margarita Simon Guillory is an Assistant Professor of Religion at the University of Rochester. Her research interests include American Spiritualism, identity construction in African American religion, and social scientific approaches to religion. She has published articles in Culture and Religion and Pastoral Psychology. Her latest work, Conscious Concealment: A Historical Analysis of the Repression/Expression of African American Spiritualists in Modern American Spiritualism will be included in a forthcoming edited volume entitled Histories of the Hidden God.