Aisha M. Beliso-De Jesús

Associated Faculty
Professor of American Studies


Aisha M. Beliso-De Jesús, Ph.D. is a cultural and social anthropologist who has conducted ethnographic research with Santería practitioners in Cuba and the United States, and police officers and Black and Brown communities affected by police violence in the United States. Her research and teaching span the Caribbean, Latin America, Africa, and Afro-Latinx circulations. Dr. Beliso- De Jesús’ work contributes to cultural and media studies, anthropology of religion, critical race studies, Black and Latinx transnational feminist and queer theory, African diaspora religions, and studies on police and militarization.

Her first book, Electric Santería: Racial and Sexual Assemblages of Transnational Religion (Columbia University Press, 2015) won the 2015 Albert J. Raboteau Award for Best book in Africana Religions. It details the transnational experience of Santería in which racialized and gendered spirits, deities, priests, and religious travelers remake local, national, and political boundaries and actively reconfigure notions of technology and transnationalism. She is completing a book, Zombie Patrol: Policing African Diaspora Religions which examines the criminalization and racialization of Black and Brown religions in the U.S. Dr. Beliso- De Jesús is also currently launching a team-based ethnographic research project on police use of force in New Orleans, LA funded by the National Science Foundation.

Her publications include articles in American Ethnologist, Cultural Anthropology, Signs, the Journal of Africana Religions, and the Journal of the American Academy of Religion. She comes to Princeton after eight years at Harvard Divinity School where she was Professor of African American Religions and member of the Cuba Policy Committee at the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, a faculty member of the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, and the Safra Center for Ethics.

Dr. Beliso- De Jesús is the co-founder of the Center for Transnational Policing (CTP) at Princeton University, and associate editor of Transforming Anthropology, the flagship journal for the Association of Black Anthropologists. For over twenty years, she has worked with numerous grassroots, public policy, substance abuse, and other nonprofit organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area advocating social justice issues, teen-parent support, alternative healing approaches for Latinx communities, and empowerment strategies for youth of color.


  • PH.D., Cultural and Social Anthropology, Stanford University
  • M.A. Cultural and Social Anthropology, Stanford University
  • B.A. Chicano and Latino Studies, UC Berkeley