Aisha M. Beliso-De Jesús

Aisha M. Beliso-De Jesús

Professor of African American Religions
Aisha M. Beliso-De Jesús

On leave

Academic year 2017–18


  • BA, University of California, Berkeley
  • MA, PhD, Stanford University


Aisha M. Beliso-De Jesús, PhD is Professor of African American Religions at Harvard Divinity School. A cultural and social anthropologist, Dr. Beliso-De Jesús has conducted ethnographic research with Santería practitioners in Cuba and the United States since 2003. Her book, Electric Santería: Racial and Sexual Assemblages of Transnational Religion (Columbia University Press, 2015) details the transnational experience of Santería, in which racialized and gendered spirits, deities, priests, and religious travelers remake local, national, and political boundaries and actively reconfigure notions of technology and transnationalism. Her publications include articles in American Ethnologist, Cultural Anthropology, and Signs: A Journal of Women in Culture and Society. She is a member of the Cuba Policy Committee at the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, an associate of the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University, and a Ford Foundation Fellow.

Her current research, “Policing African Diaspora Religions,” draws on ethnographic research with police and religious practitioners in the United States exploring questions of race, religion, and policing. Professor Beliso-De Jesús is interested in the role of racialized media in everyday policing contexts and the role of horror in the criminalization of particular religious practices. For nearly 16 years, she has worked with numerous grassroots, public policy, substance abuse, and other nonprofit organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area advocating social justice issues, teen-parent education, and nonviolence for youth of color. Some of her topical areas of research and teaching include: ethnography of transnational religions; African diaspora religious studies; transnational feminisms; anthropology of media and the internet; postcolonial and critical theory; anthropology of the Caribbean and Latin America; media, film, and cultural studies; and race, gender, and sexuality. She is the co-founder of the Transnational Consortium for the Study of Policing (TCSP) and associate editor of Transforming Anthropology, the flagship journal for the Association of Black Anthropologists.


  • Electric Santería: Racial and Sexual Assemblages of Transnational Religion (Columbia University Press, 2015) Publisher page


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