Dr. Nixon S. Cleophat

  • Nixon Cleophat

    Nixon Cleophat’s passion for learning and teaching propelled him to pursue graduate studies in biblical, theological, ethical, and religious studies. In 2014, he received his Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) from Union Theological Seminary, historically affiliated with Columbia University, in the City of New York; attended Harvard Divinity School and pursued a Master of Divinity (MDiv) in Biblical Studies and Political Theology; and earned a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in English/Educational Studies from Salem State University’s Honors Program in Salem, Massachusetts.

    Cleophat is a teacher-scholar who is committed to bring marginalized histories, voices, stories, and cultures into mainstream academic discourses on philosophy, theology, religion, and ethics. During his tenure at Union Theological Seminary he engaged progressive theological traditions such as Christian Existentialist and Realist philosophies and theologies, and presented papers at and participated in several conferences of the American Academy of Religion.

    Cleophat has also devoted a great deal of time researching the contours of African and diaspora indigenous religions, Black Power, Black Theology, African Liberation Theology, Latin American Liberation Theology, Womanist/Feminist Theological Ethics. He engages indigenous religious traditions because he is convinced they are liberative sources that can be used to address social and ecological problems affecting humanity, the historically oppressed, and the natural world. 

    Cleophat’s research project looks into how Haitian Vodou deals with sin, redemption, pneumatology, and ecology. He explores this topic in his dissertation, titled “A Critical Examination of Reinhold Niebuhr's and James Cone's Views on Sin and Redemption: toward a Haitian Vodounist Theology of Social Evil and Human Liberation.” Recently, he has expanded the scope of his research interest in a two-volume anthology: Vodou in Haitian Memory: The Idea and Representation of Vodou in Haitian Imagination (first vol.) and Vodou in the Haitian Experience: A Black Atlantic Perspective (second vol.), which he is co-editing.

    When Cleophat is not in the classroom, he enjoys traveling to Haiti, especially to the rural areas to interact with Haitian peasants to learn about different practices of Haitian Vodou, especially the way marginalized communities there rely on Vodou for survival as well as to cultivate a healthy green living and lifestyle. He plans to travel to the Republic of Benin, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, and Nigeria to enhance his knowledge of African religions, histories, societies, and cultures. 

    In his spare time, Cleophat enjoys going out, hanging out with his friends, cooking for his loved ones, sipping on red wine on cool Friday nights, and taking long walks. He is in love with nature, its mystery, and its beauty.

    Spring 2018
    Course Title
    RLST 100 Introduction to Religion
    2:00–3:15 p.m.
    HSS 126
    RLST 110 World Religions

    PANF 131
    Intro to Pan-African Studies
    5:05–6:20 p.m. HSS 206
    Office Hours
    Day  Time
    Tuesday 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m.
    1:00–4:00 p.m.
    11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m.

    Contact Information