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March Madness of Religion: West Bracket

March Madness is an opportunity for college basketball fans to look around the United States at teams that they don’t usually follow and learn about players, coaches, and stories. At Global Theology, I wanted to take a look at the faculty teaching in religious studies, theology, Biblical studies, and related fields to form my own “bracket”. Each person highlighted has a brief description (usually from the school’s department page) and link to a blog, article, video, or book where you can learn more about them.

East Bracket | West Bracket | Midwest Bracket | South Bracket


barazaGonzaga University (1): Patrick Wanakuta Baraza

Dr. Baraza is an ordained priest from the diocese of Kitale, Kenya. He has been teaching African Catholicism and Islamic Civilization in the Religious Studies Department at Gonzaga University since 2005. He is the author of “Rival Claims for the Soul of Africa” as well as “Drumming up Dialogue: The Bukusu Model for the World“.

What GU Students Can Learn in Africa (blog)



galeWest Virginia (4): Aaron Gale

Aaron M. Gale is an associate professor of religious studies at West Virginia University as well as the director of WVU’s Program for Religious Studies. Dr. Gale’s research has centered upon the Jewish roots of early Christianity, specifically as it relates to the community associated with Matthew’s Gospel. This research has resulted in various publications including the book Redefining Ancient Borders: The Jewish Scribal Framework of Matthew’s Gospel.

Faculty Bio Page

 clarkXavier (11): Adam Clark

Adam Clark, Associate Professor of Theology at Xavier University, is committed to the idea that theological education in the twenty first century must function as a counter-story. One that equips students to read against the grain of the dominant culture and inspires them to live into the Ignatian dictum of going forth “to set the world on fire.”  His courses on Black Theology, Jesus and Power, Faith and Justice and Religion and Hip Hop contribute to the Jesuit practice of educating students in the service of faith and the promotion of justice. He currently serves as co-chair of Black Theology Group at the American Academy of Religion, actively publishes in the area of black theology and black religion and participates in social justice groups at Xavier and in the Cincinnati area.

Religion, Race, and Ethics in “The Birth of a Nation” (audio)

Christianity and Kwanzaa (blog)

Faculty Bio Page

navaArizona (2): Alex Nava

Alex Nava received his MA and PhD from the University of Chicago in Religious Studies.  Since arriving at the University of Arizona in 1999, he has created several courses, including ‘Love and World Religions,’ ‘The Question of God,’ ‘Religion and Culture in the Southwest,’ ‘Rap, Culture, and God’ and ‘Religion in Latin America.’ He also teaches the nation’s first Hip Hop minor program and is the author of Wonder and Exile in the New World.

‘Ghetto Gospel’: Life Lessons From Street Scriptures (blog)

Faculty Bio Page


Read more: East Bracket | West Bracket | Midwest Bracket | South Bracket

Michael Shepherd is the editor of Global Theology and an assistant professor of political science and intercultural studies at Hope International University in Fullerton, CA.



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