NAME: Robyn Henderson-Espinoza
BIRTHDAY: 30 July 1976
FAVORITE QUOTES: “I am the daughter of a Chicana & an Anglo. I think most days I am an embarrassment to both groups.” Cheríe Moraga
“Why am I compelled to write?… Because the world I create in the writing compensates for what the real world does not give me. By writing I put order in the world, give it a handle so I can grasp it. I write because life does not appease my appetites and anger… To become more intimate with myself and you. To discover myself, to preserve myself, to make myself, to achieve self-autonomy. To dispell the myths that I am a mad prophet or a poor suffering soul. To convince myself that I am worthy and that what I have to say is not a pile of shit… Finally I write because I’m scared of writing, but I’m more scared of not writing.” Gloria Anzaldúa
“Spirit is matter stretched oh so thin” Ralph Waldo Emerson
Born to a Mexican woman and an Anglo man in Northern Mexico, the Republic of Texas, Robyn moved to Chicago, IL for graduate school, and completed a master’s degree in theological ethics at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary (on the campus of Northwestern University). Following graduate school, Robyn worked in domestic violence & sexual assault fields before joining the Office of the Illinois Attorney General. In 2009, Robyn began doctoral work at the University of Denver/Iliff School of Theology studying Constructive Philosophical Theologies, Critical Social Theories and Culture, along with Latin@ Studies. Robyn’s primary academic interest is the materiality of the Mestizaje body as a site for a formative philosophical discourse; this includes the interplay of ontology, epistemology, and ethics, informed by diverse thinkers, but especially Deleuze & Anzaldúa in conversation with one another. More specifically, Robyn is committed to a type of constructive philosophical theology that braids together ontology, epistemology, and ethics diffractively, and done with critical and comparative approaches and methodologies using diverse queer theories. Robyn begins in the borderlands of analysis by engaging in socio-analytic exercises via transdisciplinary methods to critique the superiority of white discursive analyses. Robyn often refers to this as being committed to an ethics of anti-disciplinary.
Robyn seeks a critically material and discursive reflection on material bodies, broadly understood, as a site for philosophical discourse. Robyn does this with particular attention to the ways in which moral philosophy, intersectional analysis, and queer theories, each in conversation with critical social theories, extends the discipline of Constructive Philosophical Theologies and Culture. The work that Robyn pursues disrupts current normative intersections of critical theory and philosophy. Robyn is inspired by the life and work of Gilles Deleuze, Deleuze & Guattari, the “maverick” philosophers: Nietzsche and Spinoza, and most importantly Robyn’s teacher, mentor, and friend: Dr. AnaLouise Keating and Gloria Anzaldúa. Robyn sees this work as a primary example of rhizomatic thinking, constructed in diffractive intersections that points toward radical social change. This work points toward a queer political theology that Robyn hopes to develop by engaging the intersection of Constructive Theology and European Continental Thought. Robyn has been nominated for three years as a fellow for Princeton Theological Seminary’s Hispanic Theological Initiative and now participates as part of the teaching faculty at the Hispanic Theological Initiative, and was also chosen to participate in the Human Rights Campaign’s firstSummer Institute for LGBTQIA students in Religious/Theological Studies. The Summer Institute was hosted at Vanderbilt Divinity School.
Robyn hopes to teach at the University or graduate level to shape the discourse concerning Material bodies relative to Race, Sexuality, and the domains of Ontology, Epistemology, and Ethics through teaching, writing, and being involved in varying communities where marginalized people are present. Robyn self-identifies as a Christian Agnostic and QueerMestizaje. Becoming a good translator of both high theory, theology, and ethics, is the foundation of Robyn’s identity as a scholar.