Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures
Mayra Rivera is Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Religion and Latinx Studies at Harvard University. She is vice president of the American Academy of Religion.
Rivera works at the intersections between continental philosophy of religion, literature, and theories of coloniality, race and gender—with particular attention to Caribbean postcolonial thought. Her research explores the relationship between discursive and material dimensions in shaping human embodiment. Her book, The Touch of Transcendence: A Postcolonial Theology of God (2007), explores the relationship between models of divine otherness and ideas about interhuman difference. She is also co-editor, with Stephen Moore, of Planetary Loves: Spivak, Postcoloniality, and Theology (2010) and, with Catherine Keller and Michael Nausner, of Postcolonial Theologies: Divinity and Empire (2004). Her most recent book, Poetics of the Flesh (2015), analyzes theological, philosophical, and political descriptions of “flesh” as metaphors for understanding how social discourses materialize in human bodies.
Rivera is currently developing a project that explores narratives of catastrophe and/as Genesis in twentieth-century Caribbean writing.