Holstein Dissertation Fellowship Mentors 2021-2022

Xochitl Alvizo
Xochitl Alvizo teaches in the area of Women and Religion and the Philosophy of Sex, Gender, and Sexuality at California State University, Northridge. She brings an intercultural feminist approach to theology and the study of religion. Her research areas include feminist and queer theologies, congregational studies, ecclesiology, and the emerging church. She is co-founder of Feminism and Religion ( – an online project bringing together feminist voices from around the world to dialogue about feminism in religion – and, along with Gina Messina, is co-editor of the volume Women Religion Revolution (FSR Books, 2017).


Mentee: Garrett Kiriakos-Fugate

Talia Mae Bettcher
Talia Mae Bettcher is a Professor of Philosophy at California State University, Los Angeles and she currently serves as Chair of the Academic Senate. Some of her articles include “Evil Deceivers and Make-Believers: Transphobic Violence and the Politics of Illusion” (Hypatia 2007), “Trapped in the Wrong Theory: Re-Thinking Trans Oppression and Resistance” (Signs 2014), and “When Selves Have Sex: What the Phenomenology of Trans Sexuality Can Teach about Sexual Orientation” (Journal of Homosexuality 2014). With Susan Stryker, she co-edited the Transgender Studies Quarterly special double issue “Trans/Feminisms” (2016). She is currently completing the monograph “Intimacy and Illusion: An Essay in Trans Philosophy” (under contract with University of Minnesota Press).


Mentee: Siobhan Kelly

Erika W. Dyson
Erika W. Dyson, Ph.D., Willard W. Keith Jr. Fellow in the Humanities and Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Harvey Mudd College, specializes in American religious history, with an emphasis on occult religions, church/state relations, and science and religion. Previous research has focused on how American Spiritualists have fought to protect their mediums and healers from prosecution as fortune tellers by remaking their religion along the lines of respectability politics and judicial definitions of religion. Her current book project is tentatively (and perhaps excessively) titled “Discontinuous Chant: The Racial Transubstantiation of Emma Dunham Kelley-Hawkins and Other Queer Family Histories.” In it, she looks at how memory, objects, lies, and history-writing intertwine in the ways people narrate themselves into livable lives and make possible the return of beloved dead authors.


Mentee: Brian Blackmore

Arthur L. Little, Jr.
Arthur L. Little, Jr., associate professor of English at University of California at Los Angeles, is the author of Shakespeare Jungle Fever: National-Imperial Re-Visions of Race, Rape and Sacrifice (Stanford 2000), Shakespeare and Critical Race Theory (Arden, forthcoming 2022) and editor of the forthcoming White People in Shakespeare (Arden, forthcoming 2022), in addition to a project in progress on “Black Hamlet.” He has also lectured nationally and internationally at universities, conferences, and public venues. His research and teaching focuses primarily on Shakespeare, race, queer sexualities, gender, and social justice.


Mentee: Emma McCabe

Peter Mena
Peter Mena is a historian of Christianity with expertise in Christian Late Antiquity. His interests in the literature and cultures of the late-ancient Mediterranean and in contemporary literary and critical theories have furthered his work in considering Latina/o/x theologies and Chicana/o/x religious identities. He teaches courses in Catholic Theology and Early Christianity at the University of San Diego. Mena has written about Christian hagiographies in Late Antiquity and their function as cultural, theological, and historical narratives that preserve ideas about ancient Christian understandings of identity, the body, health, pain and disease, orthodoxy and heresy, gender and sexuality, and space. His award-winning book, Place and Identity in the Lives of Antony, Paul, and Mary of Egypt: Desert as Borderland, (Palgrave MacMillan) utilizes the work of Chicana writer, thinker, and poet, Gloria Anzaldúa, to consider the descriptions of space and identity in Christian hagiographies and was awarded the Hispanic Theological Initiative’s Annual Book Prize in 2020. Mena has served on the editorial boards of Feminist Studies in Religion, Studies in Late Antiquity, and the Journal of Hispanic/Latino Theology. He is also a member of the Task Force for LGBTQ+ members of the Society of Biblical Literature.


Mentee: Molly Greening