Maria Pilar Aquino, S.T.D.

Professor Emerita, Theology and Religious Studies

  • S.T.D., Pontifical University of Salamanca, Spain
  • S.T.L., Instituto Teológico de Estudios Superiores (ITES, Theological Institute of Superior Studies) of México City, accredited by the Pontifical Catholic University do Río Grande do Sul, Brazil

Maria Pilar Aquino, S.T.D., was a member of the USD Theology and Religious Studies faculty from 1993-2018 and was named Professor Emerita in the College of Arts and Sciences in 2019. During her illustrious career, Dr. Aquino’s primary areas of teaching and research were liberation theologies, social ethics, and feminist theologies, with special interests in intercultural approaches, conflict transformation, and religious peacebuilding studies. Even in retirement, she continues to serve both on national and international editorial boards of prominent theological journals.  Aquino has served as the first woman president of the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the United States, of which she is also a co-founder. She is internationally renowned for her pioneering work in Latin American and U.S. Latina feminist theologies of liberation.

Areas of Interest

Aquino taught upper division courses on liberation theologies, social ethics, feminist theologies, and justice and reconciliation. At both USD and other universities, she has taught a variety of graduate courses, including ecumenical traditions of social justice, Latina feminist theologies, truth and reconciliation commissions, religion and conflict transformation, and social conflict and religious peacebuilding. Aquino has the distinction of being appointed, in 2006, as Eusebio Francisco Kino, S.J. Professor of Faith and Culture by the Universidad Iberoamericana of Mexico City; in 2008-2009 as Steber Professor of Theology and Religious Studies by the University of San Diego; and in 2008-2009 as Visiting Professor of Theology by The Divinity School of Harvard University. Upon her retirement, a fund was created in her honor. Donations in her honor can be made to the Maria Pilar Aquino Fund, College of Arts and Sciences, which supports student research and activism in women’s and gender studies.