WSRP Research Associate
Jennifer S. Leath's research concentrates on the intersection of sexualities and religions in sacred communities and spaces of African Diaspora. Her scholarship also engages the intersection of Afro-Diasporic women’s spiritualities and activism. Bridging concerns of religious ethics and African American studies, much of her current writing and teaching focuses on the sexual ethics and economies of historically Black churches in the United States.
Committed to interdisciplinary scholarship, Leath is preparing her first monograph, "Childcare Activists: Reframing Afro-Diasporic Faith from the Home to the Streets," which actively engages the intersection of the spiritualities, activism, and secular childcare work of Afro-Diasporic women in the United States. She has also begun work on a second monograph, titled "From Black to Quare (and then) to Where: Ethical Trajectories of Black Sexualities."
Leath's other research interests include the metaphysics of womanism, African and Afro-Diasporic approaches to sexualities in political economies, ecumenisms of the "global south," the intersections of Buddhist and womanist thought, and interdisciplinary approaches to interreligious dialogue. Prior to joining HDS as a 2014-15 Research Associate, she helped to establish the Center on African American Religion, Sexual Politics & Social Justice at Columbia University, working as the assistant director of research. In addition to her research, she is an active member of various academic communities, including the Society for the Study of Black Religion, the American Academy of the Religion, and the Society for Christian Ethics.
Is "Queer" the New "Black"?: Gender and Sexual Aspects of Afro-Diasporic Justice in the United States
What are the contemporary languages of "justice" and methodologies of "justice" making within the United States? This study addresses the peculiar life of "justice" as a concept that mediates the relationship between "queerness" and "blackness"—especially among women—within Afro-Diasporic communities.