Dr. Rachel Elizabeth Harding

Dr. Rachel Elizabeth Harding is Assistant Professor of Indigenous Spiritual Traditions in the Department of Ethnic Studies at the University of Colorado Denver. A native of Georgia, a writer, historian, and poet, she is a specialist in religions of the Afro-Atlantic diaspora and studies the relationship between religion, creativity, and s­ocial justice activism in cross-cultural perspective. A Cave Canem Fellow, she­­­ holds an MFA in creative writing from Brown University and a PhD in history from the University of Colorado Boulder. Dr. Harding is author of A Refuge in Thunder: Candomblé and Alternative Spaces of Blackness (Indiana University Press, 2000) as well as numerous poems and essays. She is currently editing a collection of her mother’s writings on the role of compassion and spirituality in African American activism. Dr. Harding serves on the coordinating committee for the African Diaspora Religions Group of the American Academy of Religion and is a member of the editorial boards of Saberes em Perspectiva (Brazil) and the Journal of Africana Religions. She regularly organizes study-tours to Brazil with an emphasis on Afro-Brazilian history, culture, and ritual practice. She is also an initiate of Oxûm and an ebômi of the Terreiro do Cobre Candomblé community in Salvador, Bahia where she has been a member for 20 years.