Peter Mena

Peter Mena
Phone: (619) 260-2301
Office: Maher Hall 292

Assistant Professor, Theology and Religious Studies

  • Ph.D., Drew University, History of Christianity
  • M.A., Union Theological Seminary, History of Christianity
  • M.L.A., St. Edward’s University, Early Christian Studies
  • B.A., University of Texas at Austin, History and Religious Studies

Peter Mena, PhD, 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, has furthered his work in considering Latinx theologies and Chicanx religious identities. He teaches courses in Catholic Theology and Early Christianity.

Scholarly Work

Professor Mena’s scholarly work focuses on the history of Christianity in Late Antiquity. He uses critical theories (postcolonial, gender and queer theories, and cultural studies) as an approach to study the past with the goals of considering current political, social, cultural moments. 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 dissertation, “Borderlands/La Frontera of the Late Ancient Egyptian Desert: Space, Identity, and the Ascetic Imagination,” uses the work of Chicana writer, Gloria Anzaldúa to consider the descriptions of space and identity in Christian hagiographies. He argues that the ancient desert is constructed as a borderland for Christian ascetics and the negotiation of identities are intrinsically tied to the descriptions of desert space. This work is currently under review for publication as a monograph.

Areas of Interest

Professor Mena teaches courses in Catholic Theology and Early Christianity. He is interested in teaching courses in Latinx Theologies and Chicanx Religious Identities which explore the role of Christianity in shaping the practices, theologies, and aesthetics of Latinx and Chicanx communities. He is also interested in teaching courses that further explore late ancient Christianity and it relevance to contemporary cultures such as: Orthodoxy and Heresy in Ancient Christianity and Christianity, Gender, and Sexuality in the Ancient World.