Today we’re welcoming Anya and Elyse, two Religious Studies scholars working in completely different fields. But, as usual, we found a lot to talk about!
As you know, they had to answer a very difficult question and here are their answers:
El/yse Ambrose, Ph.D. (they/them)* is a blackqueer ethicist, creative, and educator whose research, art, and teaching lie at the intersections of race, sexuality, gender, and spirituality/religion.
Ambrose’s forthcoming book, A Living Archive: Embodying a Blackqueer Ethics (T&T Clark [Bloomsbury, London], Enquiries in Embodiment, Sexuality, and Social Ethics series) offers a construction of a communal-based ethics of sexuality and grounded in blackqueer archive. Their artistic work-in-progress, mycountryboy|what do i know, is a photo-sonic study of Ambrose’s paternal roots that addresses themes of space and place, religion, rejection, blackqueerness, opacity, and healing.
Ambrose’s most recent completed photo-sonic exhibition, “Spirit in the Dark Body: Black Queer Expressions of the Im/material,” premiered in November 2019 during the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion at the L Street Fine Arts Gallery (San Diego, CA) and has shown at the House of Mark West (Bronx, NY)— one of the few black queer-owned galleries in the country.
Ambrose currently serves as Assistant Professor of Religious Studies and Black Study at the University of California, Riverside. Their research has been supported by the Louisville Institute for the Study of American Religion, the Forum for Theological Exploration, Columbia University’s Center on African American Religion, Sexual Politics, and Social Justice, the Henry Luce Foundation, the Yale University LGBT Studies Fellowship, Auburn Seminary and CrossCurrents Journal.
Ambrose’s work and commentary have been featured in the Huffington Post, the Christian Century and their podcast Contemplating Now, Medium, ForHarriet.com, Vice, and CBC Radio One’s Tapestry.
Elyse Ambrose resides in Southern California and the Bronx, New York City. They are a proud plant sibling and parakeet parent.
*As a blackqueer agender woman, my name is my best and preferred referent. However, in line with English language conventions, “they/them” are the appropriate pronouns to employ.
Anya Foxen is an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. She received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her research focuses on the intersection of South Asian yogic and tantric traditions with Western esotericism and metaphysical spiritualities. Her special areas of interest include gender and embodiment, as well as the interplay of religion and science. She is the author of three books: Is This Yoga? (Routledge, 2021, with Christa Kuberry); Inhaling Spirit (Oxford University Press, 2020); and Biography of a Yogi (Oxford University Press, 2017). She is also a “retired” yoga teacher and long-time practitioner.
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