Department ofReligious Studies


Welcome New Faculty

Dr. Pearl Maria Barros received her B.A. in English and Religious Studies from Santa Clara University.  Her thesis, “Learning to Listen: An Analysis of the Discrepancy Between ‘First World’ and Two Thirds World Christian Feminist Biblical Studies” won the 2005 Theodore Mackin Senior Thesis Award.  In 2006, she left her beloved California to pursue graduate studies in theology at Harvard Divinity School, earning her MTS in 2008.  Dr. Barros continued at Harvard for doctoral studies, completing her Th.D. in Religion, Gender, and Culture in 2016.  Her research focuses on the relationships between sexuality, subjectivity, and spirituality in Latina women’s writings, especially in Anzaldúan thought.  Currently, she is working on a book exploring the role of spirituality as decolonial epistemology within Gloria Anzaldúa’s writings.  Dr. Barros specializes in Christian theology with an emphasis on theological anthropology, feminist and other liberationist theologies, and decolonial thought.  She is an Editorial Assistant for Theological Studies and is also a member of the Critical Gender Studies Research Initiative at SCU.


Lynn Jencks received her B.A. in Celtic Studies from Fairhaven College, Western Washington University in 2000. She earned her M.A. in Theology at Xavier University in Cincinnati, OH in 2008, where she wrote a thesis on the agendas of the wealthy in medieval English church windows. She received a Mellon Doctoral Fellowship from Northwestern University in 2008 to pursue a Ph.D.  She will receive her PhD in Religious Studies and a Graduate Certificate in Gender & Sexuality Studies from Northwestern University, Evanston, IL in December of 2016.  Her dissertation is entitled “¡Bendecidos, Encendidos, y en Victoria!  An Ethnographic Study of Latina/o Immigrant Charismatic Catholicism.”

While attending Northwestern University, she received offers for dissertation fellowships both from the Louisville Institute and the American Association of University Women.  She also received the Graduate Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching for her course in Christian contextual and liberation theologies.  She has published several articles, including her most recent, “Depression, Psychotherapy, and Healing Amongst Hispanic Immigrant Charismatic Catholics in the United States” in DeGruyter’s Open Theology (2016). Her research interests include contextual and liberation Christian theologies, particularly feminist and womanist perspectives, ethnography as a theological method, and Celtic religions.

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