Rachel Elizabeth Harding, is Associate Professor of Indigenous Spiritual Traditions in the Department of Ethnic Studies at the University of Colorado Denver. A native of Georgia, a writer, historian and poet, Rachel is a specialist in religions of the Afro-Atlantic diaspora and studies the relationship between religion, creativity and social justice activism in cross-cultural perspective. She is a Cave Canem Fellow and holds an MFA in creative writing from Brown University and a PhD in history from the University of Colorado Boulder. Dr. Harding is author of A Refuge in Thunder: Candomblé and Alternative Spaces of Blackness as well as numerous poems and essays. Rachel’s second book, Remnants: A Memoir of Spirit, Activism and Mothering, combines her own writings with the autobiographical reflections of her mother, Rosemarie Freeney Harding, on their family history and the role of compassion and spirituality in African American social justice organizing.
Rachel is an ebomi (elder initiate) in the Terreiro do Cobre Candomble community in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, where she has been a participant for over 20 years.