Centering Race & Gender in the Contemporary Study of Religion: A Roundtable

Friday December 4th 2020, 10:00 - 11:45AM
Event Sponsor
Department of Religious Studies, The Ho Center for Buddhist Studies at Stanford
Virtual via Zoom
Centering Race & Gender in the Contemporary Study of Religion: A Roundtable

Centering Race & Gender in the Contemporary Study of Religion: A Roundtable is the inaugural roundtable in a series for graduate students, post-docs, faculty, and researchers working at the intersection of race and gender in the contemporary study of religion. Panelists will provide brief opening statements on their work, followed by a discussion.

This event is by invitation only and pre-registration is required. Please contact Chanhee Heo: for questions.

• Ralph H. Craig III, PhD Student, Religious Studies, Stanford University
• Chanhee Heo, PhD Student, Religious Studies, Stanford University
Moderator: TBD



Yavilah McCoy
CEO and Executive Director of Dimensions Educational Consulting INC

Bio: Yavilah McCoy, is the CEO of the Diversity consulting group DIMENSIONS Inc. Through Dimensions, Yavilah services an international portfolio of clients in the areas of Education, Philanthropy, and Social Justice. As an anti-racism activist with an international platform, Yavilah provides training and consulting to numerous social justice projects that span multiple identities and communities. Yavilah serves on the steering committee of the national Women’s March and has been a core part of many large-scale national movement teams, bringing a uniquely intersectional perspective to the ongoing work of racial justice and collective liberation. Yavilah is a pioneer of the Jewish diversity and equity movement and is an advocate and mentor for the empowerment of a transglobal community of Jews of Color. Yavilah was an inaugural recipient of the Spielberg Foundation’s Joshua Venture Fellowship and directed the launch of the “Ruderman Synagogue Inclusion Project” for Combined Jewish Philanthropies and the Ruderman Family Foundation. Yavilah also directed the Bronfman Philanthropy’s Curriculum Initiative in Boston, where she provided educational consultancy to 600 prep schools across the nation. Yavilah was voted one of “16 Faith Leaders to Watch” by the Center for American Progress in Washington, DC, is a certified coach for the Auburn Theological Seminary's Pastoral Coach Training Program and an inaugural fellow of the Sojourner Truth Leadership Circle. Yavilah is a renowned national speaker, educator, and spiritual practitioner and in celebration of the musical traditions passed down to her from three generations of her African-American Jewish family, is also the writer, producer and performer of the Jewish Gospel theatrical production “The Colors of Water.”



Sylvia Chan-Malik
Associate Professor in Department of American and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Rutgers University

Bio: Professor Sylvia Chan-Malik is Associate Professor in Departments of American and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Rutgers-New Brunswick , where she directs the Social Justice Program, chairs the Faculty Advisory Board of the Center for Islamic Life (CILRU), and teaches courses on race and ethnicity in the United States, Islam in/and America, social justice movements, and food justice. She is the author of Being Muslim: A Cultural History of Women of Color in American Islam (NYU Press, 2018), which offers an alternative narrative of American Islam in the 20-21st century that centers the lives, subjectivities, and voices of Black American Muslim women, and was named a 2018 Outstanding Academic Title by Choice Magazine. She speaks frequently on issues of U.S. Muslim politics and culture, Islam and gender, and racial and gender politics in the U.S., and her commentary and writing has appeared in numerous scholarly anthologies and journals, including The Cambridge Companion to American Islam(Cambridge, 2016) and With Stones in Our Hands: Writings on Muslims, Racism, and Empire (UMinn, 2018), as well as media venues such as NPR, Slate NewsThe InterceptMiddle East EyeDaily BeastPRI, Huffington Post, Patheos, Religion News Service, and more. She holds a Ph.D in Ethnic Studies from the University of California at Berkeley, an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Mills College, and is an advisory board member of the Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative (MuslimARC). 



Jolyon Baraka Thomas
Assistant Professor and interim Graduate Chair of Religious Studies at the University of Pennsylvania

Bio: Jolyon Thomas is Assistant Professor and Interim Graduate Chair of Religious Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of Faking Liberties: Religious Freedom in American-Occupied Japan (University of Chicago Press, 2019) and Drawing on Tradition: Manga, Anime, and Religion in Contemporary Japan (University of Hawai`i Press, 2012). He is currently working on a new book titled Difficult Subjects: Religion and the Politics of Public Schooling in Japan and the United States. He is also co-editing the New Nanzan Guide to Japanese Religions.  



Pamela Ayo Yetunde
Assistant Professor of Pastoral and Spiritual Care and Counseling at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities

Bio: Pamela Ayo Yetunde, J.D., Th.D., is a pastoral counselor, the co-founder of Center of the Heart (, and founder of Audre: Spiritual Care for Women with Cancer.  She is the author of Black and Buddhist: What Buddhism Can Teach Us About Race, Resilience, Transformation and Freedom (Shambhala, 2020), Buddhist-Christian Dialogue, U.S. Law, and Womanist Theology for Transgender Spiritual Care (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020) and Object Relations, Buddhism, and Relationality in Womanist Practical Theology (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018).