CARe and Doug Adams Gallery Staff
Elizabeth S. Peña, Director, is a museum professional and arts administrator, whose experience includes teaching graduate-level Museum Studies courses at the University of San Francisco and John F. Kennedy University and serving as a consultant for a wide variety of museum projects. Dr. Peña continues to undertake occasional consulting projects, in addition to participating in review panels for federal funding agencies, acting as a Peer Reviewer for the American Alliance of Museums, and serving on several non-profit boards. At the GTU, Dr. Peña also holds the position of Senior Lecturer in Art, Anthropology, and Museum Studies.
Lydia Webster, Assistant Curator, holds an MA in Religious Studies from the University of Edinburgh (2016) and an MA in Museum Studies from the University of San Francisco (2017). Before working full-time at CARe, she interned at the Doug Adams Gallery, curating the exhibition Sacred Garments: Orthodox Christian vestments from around the world. Her research interests include community-curated exhibitions and the intersection of sacred and secular space. Lydia has been working as the Assistant Curator at CARe since April 2018.
Joseph Melamed, Exhibitions Preparator, has been working with CARe since 2017. An Oakland-based artist, Joe graduated from the California College of Arts with an Master of Fine Arts Degree. He assists with the installation and de-installation of exhibitions at the Doug Adams Gallery, as well as working with artists and designers. Alongside his work at the Doug Adams Gallery, Joe serves as Programs and Operations Manager at KADIST in San Francisco.
Art & Religion Faculty
Kathryn Barush, Thomas E. Bertelsen Jr. Associate Professor of Art History and Religion, received a D.Phil. from Wadham College, University of Oxford in 2012 and has held positions as Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. and as curatorial assistant at the Yale University Center for British Art. She is the author of the monograph Art and the Sacred Journey in Britain, 1790-1850 (London: Routledge). Shifting the focus to the present day, Dr. Barush's current book project (Imaging Pilgrimage: Art as Embodied Experience, Bloomsbury Visual Culture) explores the transfer of 'spirit' from sites to representations through a critical examination of contemporary art (including assemblages of souvenirs, built environments, and reconstructions of sacred sites) created after or during pilgrimages with the intent to engender the experience for others.
In addition to her research and writing, Dr. Barush is an advisor to the British Pilgrimage Trust and a member of the advisory network of the Yale Center for Material and Visual Cultures of Religion. She is also an avid walker and has led a group of graduate student pilgrims along the Camino Ignaciano in Spain.
Thomas Cattoi, Associate Professor of Christology and Cultures Dwan Family Endowed Chair in Ecumenical and Interfaith Dialogue, is interested in the study of Christology, Patristics, Mahayana Buddhism (with particular attention to the Tibetan tradition), and the theology of inter-religious dialogue. His goal as a constructive theologian is to explore the interface between early Christian thought and comparative theology.
Dr. Cattoi served as Co-Chair of the Mysticism Group for the American Academy of Religion in 2009-2014, and was one of the founding members of the Buddhist-Christian dialogue interest group for the Catholic Theological Society of America. Prof. Cattoi is co-editor of the journal Buddhist-Christian Studies based at the University of Hawai'i. In 2018-20, he is serving as Chair of the Theology and Ethics Department in the GTU doctoral program. Prof. Cattoi is also a licensed psychotherapist (LMFT 106457) in the State of California.
Eduardo C. Fernández, SJ, Professor of Pastoral Theology and Ministry, approaches his teaching methodology with a view to what his students will enjoy, how they will receive their studies most effectively, what different media will help them integrate their studies with practice. He often invites relevant guest speakers to talk to his classes, and believes very strongly in incorporating media into the learning process, especially when it pertains to religious expression.
As Professor of Pastoral Theology and Ministry at the Jesuit School, Fr. Fernández teaches such courses as Church, Mission and Cultures; Hispanic Theology Seminar; Hispanic Religious Expressions; and Mestizo Spirituality and Art. He specializes in Latino theology, Mexican and Southwestern history, social justice and enculturation and the celebration of the sacraments in multicultural contexts.
Julia D.E. Prinz, VDMF, Lecturer in Christian Spirituality and Director of the Women of Wisdom and Action Initiative, holds advanced degrees in Political Science and Psychology from the Georg-August University Goettingen, Germany, theology degrees from the Friedrich-Willhelms University, Bonn, Germany, and the Pontifical Urbanian University, Rome, Italy. Dr. Prinz also completed a Ph.D in Christian Spirituality from the GTU in 2006, and has been a lecturer at the Jesuit School of Theology at Santa Clara University ever since. She was also appointed as Professor at the Instituto San Pablo Verbum Dei, Loeches-Madrid, Spain.
As a member of the Verbum Dei, she has been involved in base-community work with Hispanic and Asian immigrant populations in San Francisco since 1995. She has also served her congregation as a formation director and from 2008 to 2015, as the United States Provincial Superior, having partaken in numerous general Congregations in Rome and their Taskforces since 2001.
Fr. Anselm Ramelow, OP, Professor of Philosophy, is the Philosophy Department Chair at the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology. His classes combine dialogue, Socratic questioning and lecture for an engaging and intellectual structure. Anselm seeks to awaken the minds of his students to the fascination of being and truth, and hopes to instill in them the ability to think for themselves, to make creative connections across discourses, to relish truth and insight where they encounter it and to develop resistance to misleading intellectual fashions of the world. Some of the authors who inspire him include Plato, Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Max Scheler, Theodor W. Adorno, and Robert Spaemann.
Anselm is currently working on a book on philosophical aesthetics.
Devin Zuber, Associate Professor of American Studies, Religion, and Literature, is the Chair of the Department for Historical and Cultural Studies of Religion at the GTU. He teaches in the GTU PhD program's concentrations for Art & Religion, New Religious Movements, and Religion & Literature. His position is housed at the GTU's Center for Swedenborgian Studies (CSS), and much of his teaching and research remains focused on the nineteenth-century cultural reception of the Scandinavian scientist-turned-mystic, Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772). Dr. Zuber has also been a member of the Public Theology Inquiry Group at UC Berkeley's Center for the Study of Religion.
Prior to coming to Berkeley in 2011, Dr. Zuber taught at the University of Osnabrück and the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, both in Germany, and at Queens College in New York City. He has been a fellow, scholar-in-residence, or visiting research professor at the Eccles Centre for American Studies at the British Library (London), at the Wabash Center for Religion and Theology at Wabash College in Indiana, in Stockholm University’s Department for Aesthetics and Culture (Sweden), at the Mesa Writer's Refuge in Point Reyes, California (with the Gardarev Center), and at the Rachel Carson Center for the Environment at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. In 2016, he was also a scholar-in-residence at the former estate of the film director Ingmar Bergman on Fårö island (Sweden).
Elizabeth S. Peña, Senior Lecturer in Art, Anthropology, and Museum Studies, holds the PhD and MA in Archaeology from Boston University and a BA in Classical Archaeology from the University of Michigan. She conducted archaeological fieldwork at Old Fort Niagara State Historic Site, where she published on the role of women at the eighteenth-century fort and on the presence of trade networks that elucidated the role of wampum beads across time, space, and culture. Dr. Peña’s focus on material culture theory combines her archaeological research with her museum experience. At the GTU, she teaches on topics related to museums and religion, material culture theory, and object based learning. Dr. Peña also serves as the Director of CARe and the Doug Adams Gallery.
Christopher J. Renz, OP is a Professor of Liturgical Studies and Director of Institutional Research at the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology. His background as a scientist provides a lens through which he views all of his academic work in philosophy and theology. Fr. Renz asks questions such as, “How does this impact the human person in her or his everyday life?” or “How can this idea enhance one’s faith journey?” His goal is to understand not only the biology of the human body but also the “chemistry” of the human spirit.
Jacques Maritain, the well-known 20th century neo-Thomist philosopher, noted, “Left to the freedom of its spiritual nature, the intellect strives to engender in beauty.” Fr. Renz is interested in exploring the ramifications of such a statement in three particular areas: poetry, Catholic culture, and Catholic worship. The ubiquitous quest for experiences of beauty has implications not only for individuals but also for society. By (re)engendering a capacity for mystery, wonder, and awe in each and every person, the Catholic Church will make a profound contribution to the new evangelization, and redirect the faithful to a life that participates more fully and consciously in the Paschal Mystery itself.
Dessi Vendova, Postdoctoral Fellow in East Asian Art and Religion, comes to the GTU from Columbia University, where she earned PhD, MPhil, and MA degrees in Religion (Buddhism), with a specialization in early Indian and premodern Chinese Buddhism and art. Before her doctoral studies at Columbia University, Dr. Vendova spent eleven years studying and living in China and Japan, earning an BA in Chinese Language and MA in Classical Chinese Literature from Peking University, focusing on pre-Tang and Tang dynasty literature, religion and culture. She has also participated in wide-ranging field research and language study in India.
Her next project, “Trees in the Life of the Buddha,” will explore both textual and visual material related to religious practice connected with tree worship, the presence of trees, tree shrines, tree spirits, and other tree deities in early Buddhist texts and art.
Students - under construction!
Ashley Smiley (aka Smiley) is a GTU PhD Student in Historical and Cultural Studies in Religion with a concentration in Art and Religion. A native AfroFranciscan seeking to disrupt the status quo and catalyze transcendence one production at a time, Smiley's 16+ years within the San Francisco Bay Area’s performing arts community is framed by her work as a Production Manager, Stage Manager, Sound Designer, and House Technician for companies such as the African American Shakespeare Company, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Z Space, A.C.T., and Campo Santo. Smiley has recently recentered her focus on her creativity as a writer and storyteller and is in the development stages of her debut film-theatre hybrid, "Dirty White Teslas Make Me Sad". She is a member of the Campo Santo familia, a member of the JANGA’s House collective (led by Dr. Ayodele Nzinga and Cat Brooks), a Magic Theater commissioned artist, a Board Member for The Living Earth Show, and President of the Board of Directors for the Performing Arts Workshop. Currently Smiley serves as the Program Manager for the Bayview Opera House.
Christian Suba is a Religion & Literature PhD student at the GTU, working on his comprehensive exam based on the writing of James Baldwin. He is also the Graduate Student Assistant to the History and Cultures Department at the GTU. Christian recently earned his MA from the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University in Philosophy and Systematics. His thesis was titled The Eyes of James Baldwin: A Method of Critical Analysis on Behalf of the Marginalized.
Shadow Wilf is a GTU MA student affiliated with the Institute for Buddhist Studies. Their research interests include the connection between Japanese yokai and Buddhist temples, as well as gender transformation in Buddhism. Their previous work included topics such as tracing the gendered depictions of the bodhisattva, Avalokitesvara, in the popular imagination with official doctrine in Medieval China and Japan. In their free time, they are a creative writer and regular contributor to the Spoon Knife Anthology series.