Department of Religious Studies
PhD, University of California, Santa Barbara (specializing in the history of religions in the Americas).
Dr. Leon received the Master of Theological Studies (MTS), from the Harvard University Divinity School where he studied American religious history and liberation theology; he earned simultaneous A.B. degrees from the University of California, Berkeley, in Chican@ Studies and Rhetoric. He is the author of La Llorona's Children: Religion, Life, and Death in the United States--Mexican Borderlands (UC Press, 2004); and co-editor with Gary Laderman of the Encyclopedia of Religion and American Cultures (Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO), 2003. He is currently writing a book entitled American Religious Politics from the Border: Cesar Chavez in light of Gandhi and Martin Luther King (under contract, UC Press); and working on a critical study of "machismo" focusing on the intersection of spirituality and eroticism among Latino men, tentatively entitled American Machos: Religious Erotics among Latino Men. With Laura E. Perez he is co-editing a collection of essays on De-Colonizing Spirituality and Sexuality.
His teaching areas include religion and politics in the United States; Latino/a borderland religions; method and theory in the study of religions; cultural studies; and queer theory.