About Me


  • I am a scholar of African religions and their foundational influence in the African Diaspora in the Americas. My work is interdisciplinary, drawing most heavily on Cultural Anthropology, but also Women and Gender Studies, Ritual and Performance, and Postcolonial Theory.
  • I lived and worked in Africa for almost six years – in Côte d’Ivoire and Kenya – teaching and working on issues of women, youth and development. I was married for 11 years to an Ivoirian and maintain strong family ties in Côte d’Ivoire. Recently I provided insight and evidence as an Expert Witness in a refugee asylum case for an Ivoirian refugee, drawing on research featured in my book An Intimate Rebuke.
  • An M.Div.  gave me broad and solid training in religious thought and practice. It features in my regular focus on Ethics and the moral features of embodied ritual and performance.
  • A popular professor with 20 years of classroom teaching, As the Dissertation Research Coordinator in a graduate program, I oversaw policy but especially enjoyed chairing and guiding dissertation work.
  • As a creative writer I won several Writers’ Residency Awards for Creative Non-Fiction. In 2019 I won an award in Ethnographic Writing from the Society of Humanistic Anthropology. For information on my memoir Ask for the Road see “Publications”
  • I have been a leader in the American Academy Religion and African Studies Association
  • My service on several Editorial and Advisory Boards of peer reviewed publications includes:
    • Religious Studies Review
    • Religion Compass Journal
    • Bloomsbury Book Series in Religion, Gender, and Sexuality
    • Journal of the American Academy of Religion
  • I have a strong record of service in Academic Administration, especially Institutional Accreditation  (see “Consultant” page or CV)

Other things about me:

    • I am a Swiss citizen as well as American, and speak fluent French as well as some Italian.
    • A long-time disciple of a yoga lineage, I earned a Level II certification as Yoga Instructor and also have certification in Yoga Nidra, a meditation-based form of deep integration.
    • I am trained in the Active Coping Assessment℠ System, a psychological measure for predicting management capability and performance outcomes, developed at The University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and worked as a consultant for Leslie Pratch & Co. to evaluate the match between executives’ capacities and organizational needs.
    • I earned two MOOC certificates with distinction through Coursera:
      • The History and Future of Thinking and Learning in Higher Education in the Digital Age”
        – Duke University, 2014.
      • Buddhism and Modern Psychology
        – Princeton University, 2016

For the latest, go to the “About” tab above and select “Events & Updates” from the pull-down menu.

To read my CV go to the “Professor” tab and see CV on pull-down menu.