Biography

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An award winning preacher, scholar and social justice organizer, I serve as the senior minister of the First Unitarian Universalist Church, Houston, Texas and as an African American Religious Studies Forum Affiliate with Rice University’s Center for Engaged Research and Collaborative Learning. My MDiv. is from Meadville Lombard Theological School. I have a PhD in American Studies and an AM in History from Harvard University where I wrote a dissertation on the relationship between theology and populism. Dan McKanan and Mayra Rivera Rivera were my advisors, Lisa McGirr was my third reader, and Sylvester Johnson served as my outside reader. I completed my undergraduate studies at Denison University.

I have offered sermons, led workshops, and presented my research to over one hundred congregations, academic institutions and conferences, art museums, and community organizations throughout North America and Europe including: Harvard Memorial Church, Harvard University, the University of Chicago, Rice University, the Confederación General de Trabajo (Spain), the Industrial Workers of the World (Centennial Conference), L’Association française d’Etudes Américaines (France), and Starr King School for the Ministry. I have taught at Meadville Lombard Theological School and at the Pre-College program of Harvard College.

At present, I am active, along with my congregation, in The Metropolitan Organization. I am also a member of the Democratic Socialists of America and was twenty years a member of the Industrial Workers of the World—organizing solidarity labor unions and strikes in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC. I served as the chair of the committee that re-established the IWW’s Organizing Department. While at Harvard I was one of the five founding members of the group that eventually became the Harvard Graduate Students Union. I have been involved in numerous other organizing projects: most notably as a founding member of Colectivos de Apoyo, Solidaridad, y Apoyo, a binational organization that between 2001 and 2011 coordinated solidarity efforts between internationals and indigenous communities in Chiapas and Oaxaca, Mexico.

My research has been supported by the American Studies program of Harvard University, a Harvard Merit Term-Time Fellowship, a Frederick Kettner Scholarship from the Biosophical Institute, the Fund for Nurturing Unitarian Universalist Scholarship, multiple Joseph Sumner Smith Scholarships, the Joseph Gittler Fund for Religion and Ethics, the Institute for Anarchist Studies, the Unitarian Universalist Association, and the Center for American Political Studies. I am a member of the American Academy of Religion, the American Historical Association, the American Studies AssociationCollegium: Scholarship Serving Unitarian Universalism, the Unitarian Universalist History and Heritage Society, the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association, and the Working Class Studies Association. I am also the author or co-author of two religious education curriculums and close to three dozen published essays, articles, book chapters and poems. Portions of my work has been translated into Danish and Spanish and has appeared in scholarly journals as well as such venues as the Houston Chronicle, UU World, the Industrial Worker, Sightings, and KATALOG—Journal of Photography and Video. I am currently working on a book on the varieties of populism in the United States. In the spring of 2019 I gave the Minns lectures on Unitarian Universalism and American Populism. My brother is the painter Jorin Bossen and my father, and sometime collaborator, is the art historian and scholar of journalism Howard Bossen.

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