Peter Mena

Peter Mena
Phone: (619) 260-2301
Office: Maher Hall 289

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, joined the department of Theology and Religious Studies in 2017. 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 the History of Christianity as well as Catholic Theology.

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’s first monograph, Place and Identity in the Lives of Antony, Paul, and Mary of Egypt: Desert as Borderland (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019), uses the work of Chicana writer, Gloria Anzaldúa, to consider the descriptions of space and identity in Christian hagiographies. It also examines Christian hagiographies as cultural, theological, and historical narratives that preserve ideas about identity, the body, orthodoxy and heresy, gender and sexuality, and space. His current research is focused on gender, performance, and the theater in ancient Christian literature.

Areas of Interest

Professor Mena teaches courses in Catholic Theology, Early Christianities, as well as, Latinx Theologies, and Chicanx Religious Identities—the latter of which explore the role of Christianity in shaping the practices, theologies, and aesthetics of Latinx and Chicanx communities. He currently teaches courses titled: Early Christianities; Women, Gender, and Christianity in the Ancient World; Chicanx Religious Identities; and Introduction to Catholic Theology. He is also interested in teaching courses that further explore late ancient Christianity and its relevance to contemporary cultures such as: Orthodoxy and Heresy in Ancient Christianity and Creation, Beauty, and the Cosmos in Antiquity. Professor Mena enjoys introducing students to ancient primary sources and having discussions with them about history/historiography and the role of theology in contemporary cultures.