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Syracuse University, College of Arts and Sciences

Biko Mandela Gray

Mandela-Gray portrait

Assistant Professor


African American Studies

Women's and Gender Studies

513 Hall of Languages


Research and Teaching Interests

Dr. Gray’s work operates at the nexus and interplay between continental philosophy of religion and theories and methods in African American religion. His research is primarily on the connection between race, subjectivity, religion, and embodiment, exploring how these four categories play on one another in the concrete space of human experience. He also is interested in the religious implications of social justice movements. He is currently working on a book project that explores how contemporary racial justice movements, like Blacklivesmatter, demonstrate new ways of theorizing the connection between embodiment, religion, and subjectivity.


REL 100 Intro. to African American Religion REL 300 God the Activist


  • PhD, Rice University, Department of Religion, 2017
  • MA, Rice University, Department of Religion, 2013
  • MTS, Vanderbilt Divinity School, 2010
  • BA, Xavier University of Louisiana, 2008


  • Syracuse University, Assistant Professor, Department of Religion, 2017-Present
  • University of Houston, Lecturer, Department of Religion, 2014-2016


Book Chapters

  • “Show and Prove: Five Percenters and the Study of African American Esotericism,” in There is a Mystery, editors Margarita Guillory, Stephen Finley, and Hugh Page (Leiden: Brill Press, 2014).
  • “Bun B on Religion and Hip Hop: An Interview (by Biko Gray),” in Religion in Hip Hop: Mapping the New Terrain, ed. Anthony Pinn, Monica Miller, and Bernard “Bun B” Freeman (New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2015)

Journal Articles

Co-authored with Stephen C. Finley, “God is a White Racist: Immanent Atheism as a Religious Response to Black Lives Matter and Antiblack State-Sanctioned Violence,” published as part of a Roundtable discussion in the Journal of Africana Religions, Vol. 3, No. 4 (2015), 443-453.