Mariana Nájera

The 2021 recipient of the Balkishan Award, Mariana Nájera, submitted a chapter of her Senior Thesis in Religion in which she examines the theology of Marcella Althaus-Reid, a theorist whose work on Latin America is also at the intersection of religion, gender studies, and social justice.  Titled "Indecent Living, Indecent Loving: Marcella Althaus-Reid on Sex, Community, and Religion," Nájera's chapter places Althus-Reid in conversation with Chicana writer Gloria Anzaldúa to think through how each woman argues for frameworks that resist and transform hegemonic structures. Building upon her discussion of Anzaldúa's work in a prior thesis chapter, Nájera introduces Althaus-Reid as a scholar focused on conducting queer theological analyses of the manifold ways Christianity and colonialism have affected how Latinx women form relationships with God, sexuality, and society.  By analyzing Althaus-Reid’s project of indecent theology and her concept of indecency in the context of Latin American history and religion, Nájera shows how relationships with others can be the foundation for transgression, resistance, and more complex understandings of the sacred.