Academic Site

Introducing Dr. Mary Ann Clark

(pdf version of cv)

Academic Interests

Educational Background

Grants and Financial Awards

  • Best Paper by an Independent Scholar. Western Commission on Religions Studies (AAR/SBL regional) annual meeting, Phoenix, Arizona, 2010.
  • University of Florida, Center for Latin American Studies, Rockefeller Residential Fellowship, Spring 2003. Religion in the Americas: Constructing Self, Community and Nation in the Age of Globalization

Recent Work

Books and Book Chapters

Essays and Articles

Book Reviews

  • Palmié, Stephan. The Cooking of History: How Not to Study Afro-Cuban Religion. University of Chicago Press 2013.  Religious Studies Review (pending).
  • Love, Velma E. Divining the Self: A Study of Yoruba Myth and Human Consciousness. Pennsylvania State University Press 2012. Religious Studies Review (pending).
  • Palmié, Stephan. The Cooking of History: How Not to Study Afro-Cuban Religion. University of Chicago Press 2013. Nova Religio (pending)
  • Tishken, Joel E., Toyin Falola and Akintunde Akinyemi (eds). Sango in Africa and the African Diaspora. Indiana University Press, 2009.  Nova Religio (pending).
  • Olupona, Jacob K and Terry Rey (eds.), Orisa Devotion as World Religion: The Globalization of Yoruba Religious Culture. Nova Religio Feb 2011, Vol 14. No. 3: 122-24
  • Bellegarde-Smith, Patrick  (ed), Fragments of Bone: Neo-African Religions in a New World. Nova Religio Feb 2010, Vol. 13, No. 3: 110–111
  • Matory, J. Lorand. Black Atlantic Religion: Tradition, Transnationalism, And Matriarchy in the Afro-Brazilian Candomblé. Religious Studies Review  35:3 (September 2009) 197.
  • Bellegarde-Smith, Patrick and Claudine Michel. Haitian Vodou: Spirit, Myth and Reality. Nova Religio 14:4 (pending).
  • Johnson, Paul Christopher. Diaspora Conversions: Black Carib Religion and The Recover of Africa. Nova Religio 14:4 (pending).
  • Johnson, Paul Christopher. Diaspora Conversions: Black Carib Religion and The Recover of Africa. Religious Studies Review 35:2 (June 2009) 136.
  • Bristol, Joan Cameron. Christians, Blasphemers, and Witches: Afro-Mexican Ritual Practice in the Seventeenth Century. Religious Studies Review. 35:1 (March 2009) 66-67.
  • Garoiutte, Claire and Anneke Wambaugh. Crossing the Water: A Photographic Path to the Afro-Cuban Spirit World. Religious Studies Review 34:3 (September 2008). 224.
  • Ward, Martha. Voodoo Queen: The Spirited Lives of Marie Laveau. Religious Studies Review 34:2 (June 2008). 123.
  • Cros Sandoval , Mercedes. Worldview, The Oricha, and Santería: African to Cuba and Beyond. Religious Studies Review 34:2 (June 2008). 120.
  • Bellegarde-Smith, Patrick (ed). Fragments of Bone: Neo-African Religions in a New World. Nova Religio 14:3 (pending).
  • Long,Carolyn Morrow. Spiritual Merchants: Religion, Magic and Commerce. Nova Religio 11:2 (Nov 2007) 136–137.
  • Mason, Michael Atwood. Living Santería: Rituals and Experiences in an Afro-Cuban Religion. Anthropos Redaktion 100:1 (February 2005). 283.
  • Grimes, Ronald L, Deeply Into the Bone: Re-Inventing Rites of Passage. Nova Religio 9:2 (Nov 2005) 130-131.
  • De La Torre, Miguel. Santería: The Beliefs and Rituals of a Growing Religion in America. Nova Religio 9:2 (Nov 2005) 116-117.
  • Brown, David H. Santería Enthroned: Art, Ritual and Innovation in an Afro-Cuban Religion. Nova Religio 9:1(Aug 2005) 112-114.
  • Mason, Michael Atwood. Living Santería: Rituals and Experiences in an Afro-Cuban Religion. Nova Religio 8:1(Jul 2004) 120-121.
  • Pessar, Patricia R. From Fanatics to Folk: Brazilian Millenarianism and Popular Culture. Nova Religio (forthcoming).
  • Johnson, Paul Christopher. Secrets, Gossip, and Gods: The Transformation of Brazilian Candomblé. Nova Religio 9:4(May 2006) 129-130.

Teaching Experience

  • Yavapai College, Prescott, Arizona
    • Introduction to Philosophy, 2007-11
    • Critical Thinking, 2013-14
    • Comparative Religions, 2008-10, 2012-Present
  • University of Houston, Houston, Texas. Lecturer
    • Introduction to Religious Studies, 2002, 2004-2005
  • University of Houston, Clear Lake,Houston, Texas. Adjunct
    • Basic Texts I: Western Tradition to Renaissance, 2005-2013
    • Basic Texts III: Asia, Africa and Native America (undergraduate ), 2001-2005
    • Peoples of Africa  (undergraduate/graduate Anthropology course), 2000-03, 2005
    • Religion and Global Change (graduate Sociology course), 2001-02
  • Kingwood College, Houston, Texas.
    • Introduction to Philosophy, 2000-01
  • Rice University, Houston, Texas.
    • Afro-Caribbean Religious Thought (undergraduate Religious Studies course) (Summer Session, 2001)
    • African Religions in the Americas (undergraduate Religious Studies course) (Syllabus available from American Academy of Religion Syllabus Project, http://www.wlu.ca/~wwwaar/.) (Summer 1999)

Invited Lectures and Presentations

  • Santeria Divination and Destiny, for Prophets and Prophecy class. Centenary College, Shreveport, Louisiana. 2003, 2005.
  • “¡Hola Orisha! An Introduction to the Icons and Iconography of Santería.” Presentation in conjunction with the exhibit Cuba Plástica: Recent Art from Cuba at The Meadows Museum of Art at Centenary College of Louisiana, Shreveport, LA, September 24, 2006.
  • “Unraveling the Memorative Web of the Santería Altar Display.” Orality And Literacy III: Memory conference sponsored by the Rice University Center for the Study of Cultures. October 2003.
  • “Performing Theology: SanteríaTrono as Memorative Web.” Religion, Globalization, and Identity in the Americas: Research Agendas for the Future, 51st annual conference of the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Florida. April 2003.
  • “Syncretism, Acculturation and Hybridity: The Development of Santería Altar Displays.” Ritual and Spirits: Religious Contact and Change in the Early Atlantic World, a symposium at the Harn Museum of Art, Gainesville, Florida presented by the History Department of the University of Florida. October 2000.

Papers and Presentations

  • “Kongolese Christianity and the Development of the Black Church in America.” Annual meeting, Western Commission for the Study of Religion (AAR/SBL regional), Phoenix, Arizona, March 2010. Won Best Paper by an Independent Scholar Award.
  • “There is No Orisha as Lucky as the Stomach: Feasting and Feeding within Santería Ritual Practice.” .” Annual meeting, American Academy of Religion, Religion and the Social Sciences Section, November 2007.
  • “Adelante, Good Spirit: Spiritism and Ancestor Veneration among Santería Practitioners.” Annual meeting, Southwest Commission on Religious Studies, (AAR/SBL regional), Association for the Scientific Study of Religion, Dallas, Texas March 2006.
  • “Santería Sacrificial Rituals: A Reconsideration of Religious Violence.” Annual meeting, American Academy of Religion, Indigenous Religions Section, November 2005.
  • “An Exploration of Theodicy in the Santería Religious Tradition.”Annual meeting, Southwest Commission on Religious Studies, (AAR/SBL regional), Association for the Scientific Study of Religion, Dallas, Texas March 2005.
  • “Where Women Rule: An Explication of Santeria as a Female-Normative Religion.” Annual meeting, American Academy of Religion, Women & Religion Section, November 2004.
  • “Ambiguities in Santeria Possession Trance: Challenges to the Unitary and Gendered Self.” Annual meeting, American Academy of Religion, Mysticism Group, November 2004.
  • “Where Men are Wives: Exploring Gender Ideology in American Orisha Traditions.” Annual meeting, African Studies Association, Philosophy and Religious Studies Section, November 2004.
  • “Religious Exchange and Gift-Giving: Relationship in Motion.” Annual meeting, Southwest Commission on Religious Studies, (AAR/SBL regional), Association for the Scientific Study of Religion, Dallas, Texas March 2004
  • “Healing Rituals in the Suburbs: African-Based Healing among Middle-Class Americans.” Annual meeting, American Academy of Religion, African Religions Group and Religions, Medicine, and Healing Consultation Joint session, November 2003.
  • “When Men are Wives and Women are Kings: Using Santeria Ritual Practice to Deconstruct Notions of Gender.” Annual meeting, American Academy of Religion, Women and Religion Section, November 2002.
  • “’He Kills in the House and Kills on the Farm:’ Religion and Violence from a West African Religious Perspective.” Annual meeting, Southwest Commission on Religious Studies, (AAR/SBL regional), Association for the Scientific Study of Religion, Dallas, Texas March 2002.
  • “The Body-Mind Problem and the Question of Possession Trance.” Annual meeting, Southwest Commission on Religious Studies, (AAR/SBL regional), Association for the Scientific Study of Religion, Dallas, Texas March 2001.
  • “Santería Altar Displays as Memory Palaces.” Annual meeting, American Academy of Religion, Comparative Studies in Religion Section and African Religions Group, November 2000.
  • “Spirit Made Flesh: Possession Trance as Radical Challenge to Concepts of Personal Identity.” Annual meeting, American Academy of Religion, Black Theology Group, November 2000.
  • “Syncretism, Acculturation and Hybridity: Santería through an Africanist Lens,” Houston African Studies Group, May 2000.
  • “Santería Ritual Garments: A Cross-Cultural Analysis.” The Female Principle: Eclipses and Re-Emergences,” Conference on the Suppression of Femaleness in Human Cultures, University of Texas at Arlington, March 2000.
  • “You Are (Not) Shango: Jungian Archetypes in Contemporary Santeria.” Annual meeting, Southwest Commission on Religious Studies, (AAR/SBL regional), Association for the Scientific Study of Religion, Dallas, Texas March 2000.
  • “Santería Ritual Garments: A Cross-Cultural Analysis.” Annual meeting, National Association of Hispanic and Latino Studies, Houston, Texas, February 2000.
  • “Secret Language of the Orisha.” Annual meeting, Southwest Commission on Religious Studies, (AAR/SBL regional), Association for the Scientific Study of Religion, Dallas, Texas March 1999.
  • “The Ways of Ashé: African Religion in the New World.” Lyceum Program, San Jacinto Junior College Central, Pasadena, Texas. October 1998.
  • “The Invisible Made Visible: The Radical Interpenetration of the Divine into the Human Lifeworld.” Annual meeting, Society for Philosophy in the Contemporary World, Estes Park, Colorado. August 1998.
  • “Material Culture as Locus of Memory: Theological Displays on Santería Altars.” Annual meeting, Southwest Commission on Religious Studies, (AAR/SBL regional), Association for the Scientific Study of Religion, Dallas, Texas March 1998.
  • “The Santa Barbara Phenomena: Ambiguity in Yoruba-based Religion.” Annual meeting, Southwest Commission on Religious Studies (AAR/SBL regional), Association for the Scientific Study of Religion, Dallas, Texas. March 1997.
  • “Making Saint: Liminality, Presentation and the Iyawo in Contemporary Santería.” Annual meeting, American Academy of Religion, African Religions Group and Religions in Latin America and Caribbean Group, November 1996.
  • “Integrating the Net into the Religion Classroom: Some Notes from the Field.” With Dr. Edith Wyschogrod. Annual meeting, Society for Biblical Literature, Computer Assisted Research Group. November 1995.
  • “Empirical Study of Neo-Paganism: Attitudes toward Death and Dying Using the Internet.” Annual meeting of the Southwest Commission on Religious Studies (AAR/SBL regional) Association for the Scientific Study of Religion, Dallas, Texas. March 1995.

Interviews in Popular Media

  • Interviewed and quoted in “Shrine found near bodies spurs voodoo probe,” (Dallas) WFAA-TV Channel 8, February 8, 2007
  • Interviewed and quoted in “Santería mysticism enters online realm,” (Miami) Sun-Sentinel, July 23, 2005
  • Interviewed and quoted in “Catching the Spirit: Afro-Latino Religions Brought to Light,” MiGente.com, March 11, 2005.
  • Interviewed and quoted in “Something worked magic for assault defendant/Hints of Santeria popped up at trial; ‘high priest’ given probation,” Houston Chronicle, 12 February 2005, B3.
  • Interviewed and quoted in “Advice from Beyond the Grave: Behind Closed Doors, an Ancient African Religion Alive in York,” York Sunday News, 24 February 2002, A2, A11.
  • Interviewed and quoted in “Angeles Forest Sacred Site for Followers of Santería,” Los Angeles Times, 12 January 2002, Religion Section.

Professional Associations

Community Service

  • Nominating Committee, Southwest Commission on Religious Studies (AAR Region), 2002.
  • Secretary, Association for the Scientific Study of Religion Southwest Commission on Religious Studies, 1996-1999, 2000-2005.

Other Seminars/Workshops Presented

  • All About Scrivener. Prescott Macintosh Users Group, Prescott, AZ (July 2017)
  • Making of a Unitarian Universalist. Granite Peak Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Prescott, AZ. (April 2017)
  • Then Why Not Every Man: How American Developed a More Africa Way of Looking at God and Salvation. Prescott Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Prescott, AZ. (June 2016).
  • The Meaning of Lucretius’s Poem for Contemporary Unitarian Universalists, Granite Peak Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Prescott, AZ. (July 2015)
  • Our African-American Religious Heritage, Prescott Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Prescott, AZ (August 2014).
  • Our African-American Religious Heritage, Granite Peak Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Prescott, AZ (March 2014). Listen at http://gpuuc.squarespace.com/sermons/2014/3/27/our-african-american-religious-heritage.htm
  • Where Men are Wives: An introduction to Yoruba Religion, Pacific Southwest District Women’s Conference workshop. (April 21, 2012) Camp de Benneville Pines, California.
  • Where Men are Wives: An introduction to Yoruba Religion, Southwest Unitarian Universalist Women’s Conference workshop. (February 26, 2012) Houston, Texas.
  • God is Not One, Adult Religious Education Class at Granite Peak Unitarian Universalist Congregation , Prescott, AZ. (Fall 2011-Spring 2012). Based on Stephen Prothro’s book God is Not On
  • Introduction it iWeb, Prescott Macintosh Users Group, Prescott, AZ (March 2011)
  • Introduction to Evernote, Prescott Macintosh Users Group, Prescott, AZ (October 2010)
  • Kongolese Saint Anthony, Granite Peak Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Prescott, AZ (February 2010)
  • Place of Duality, Place of Duality, Granite Peak Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Prescott, AZ (August 2009)
  • Ways of Ashé, Granite Peak Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Prescott, AZ (July 2007)
  • Buddhism and UU Principles, Place of Duality, Granite Peak Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Prescott, AZ (June 2007)
  • Reason for the Season. San Marcos Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, San Marcos, Tx (December 2006)
  • Ways of Ashé: African Religion in the New World. San Marcos Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, San Marcos, Tx (October 2006)
  • Reason for the Season. Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Bell County, Morgans Point, Texas (December 2005)
  • Where Men are Wives and Mothers Rule: An Exploration of Santería Beliefs and Practices. SIETAR (The Society for Intercultural Education, Training and Research). Houston, Texas (October 2005)
  • The Sacred Me:  Living as though the God in All Life Mattered, September 19, 2004. Bay Area Unitarian Universalist Church, Houston, Texas
  • Intro to Afro-Cuban Spirituality, June 9, 2002. Northwest Community UU Church
  • Ways of Ashé: An Introduction to African Religious Thought. Six week series. Bay Area Unitarian Universalist Church, Houston, Texas (December 2000 through January 2001).
  • Introduction to Santería. Presented as part of the PaganLecture Series, Bay Area Unitarian Universalist Church, Houston, Texas (November 2000).
  • Orisha on my Doorstep: A West African Pantheon in the Americas. C. G. JungEducational Center of Houston, Texas, Inc. (May 2000).Santería Healing: African Traditions in Contemporary America. Houston Chapter of American Holistic Nurses Association (AHNA) and The Institute of Religion. Houston, Texas (April 1999).
  • Finding the Saints in Santería: The Place of Catholic Figures in Afro-Cuban Religion. Christ Church Cathedral (Episcopalian) Adult Education Series. Houston, Texas (April 1999).
  • Ways of Ashé: An Introduction to Santería. Four-week series. St. Luke Methodist Church, Friendship Class. Houston, Texas (September 1998).
  • Religious Exchange and Gift-Giving: Relationships in Motion. Sunday Service. Bay Area Unitarian Universalist Church, Houston, Texas (June 1998).
  • Santería Sundays. Six-session series. First Unitarian Universalist Church, E.A.R.T.H. CUUPS group. Houston, Texas (January to October 1998). Four sessions presented to St. Luke’s Methodist Friendship Class. Houston, Texas (September 1998).
  • Meeting Yemaya, the Mother of the Waters. Workshop. Southwest Unitarian Universalist Women’s Conference, Houston, Texas (February 1997).
  • Speaking with the Dead: An Introduction to Afro-Caribbean Spiritism. Talk. Jung Center, Houston, Texas (August 1996).
  • The Ways of Ashé: African Religion in the New World. Sunday Service. Live Oak Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Austin, Texas (December 1995); Thoreau Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Needville, Texas (February 1996); Bay Area Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Houston, Texas (March 1996).
  • Paganism 101: A Basic Introduction to UU Paganism. Four-day workshop. Southwest Unitarian Universalist Summer Institute, Lake Texoma, Oklahoma (August 1993, August 1994).
  • Designing Rituals You Can Use. Workshop. Southwest Unitarian Universalist Women’s Conference, Tulsa Oklahoma (February 1991); Dallas, Texas (February 1992); Shreveport, Louisiana (February 1994).
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