Pearl Barros, Newest Religious Studies Professor
Although not new to SCU, Fall 2018 was Dr. Pearl Maria Barros’ first quarter as an Assistant Professor of the Religious Studies Department. Dr. Barros graduated magna cum laude from SCU in 2005 with a double major in English and Religious Studies. Her senior thesis won the RS Department’s 2005 Theodore Mackin Award. After teaching senior English and serving as assistant campus minister at Notre Dame High School in Salinas, CA for a year, she left to pursue theological studies at the graduate level. At Harvard Divinity School, she earned a Master of Theological Studies (2008) and a Doctor of Theology (2016) with a concentration in Religion, Gender, and Culture. Her current research brings Catholic feminist and other liberationist critiques of redemptive suffering into conversation with the concepts of suffering, subjectivity, and spirituality in the work of Chicanx theorist Gloria Anzaldúa.
Returning to SCU in Fall 2016 as an adjunct lecturer in the Religious Studies department., Barros teaches courses such as “The Christian Tradition,” “Women in Christian Tradition,” and “Feminist Theologies.” She also created a new course, “Sexuality and Spirituality in Latinx Literature and Theology” in order to highlight the interconnections between critical concepts from Chicanx writers and Latinx Christian feminist theologians. As most of her courses show, she asks students to engage foundational topics of Christian theology in light of contemporary and interdisciplinary modes of scholarship.
Now as Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, Barros spent this quarter teaching TESP 4: The Christian Tradition as well as writing two articles and designing new courses to propose to the university. Designed to fulfill upper division (RTC 3) requirements, these courses include “Theology of Parenting” and “Redeeming Suffering: Feminist Engagements of the Cross.” She hopes to offer both courses in the 2020-2021 academic year. Barros has also been exploring with colleagues Paul Schutz, Ph.D. and Roberto Mata, Ph.D. the possibility of teaching a multi-quarter course examining theology and privilege.
Thrilled about her new role at SCU, Barros remains committed to the Jesuit ideal of being a teaching scholar who shapes women, men, and those otherwise gender-identified, for others.