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Associate Professor of Social Ethics, Union Theological Seminary

Dr. Azaransky is author of This Worldwide Struggle: Religion and the International Roots of the Civil Rights Movement (Oxford University Press, June 2017) which identifies a network of black Christian intellectuals and activists who looked abroad, including in other religious traditions, for ideas and practices that could transform American democracy. From the 1930s to the 1950s, they drew lessons from independence movements around for the world for an American racial justice campaign. The book reveals fertile intersections of worldwide resistance movements, American racial politics, and interreligious exchanges that crossed literal borders and disciplinary boundaries.

Dr. Azaransky’s other publications include The Dream is Freedom: Pauli Murray and American Democratic Faith (Oxford University Press, 2011) and an edited volume Religion and Politics in America’s Borderlands (Lexington, 2013). She is co-author of the successful application for Pauli Murray’s childhood home in Durham, NC to be named a National Historic Landmark.

She is currently working on a book about mid-century campaigns to desegregate New York City public schools and on a spiritual biography of Bayard Rustin.

Dr. Azaransky earned her B.A. with High Honors at Swarthmore College with a major in Religion in 1998. As a Watson Fellow, she conducted research on cross-community women’s peace organizing in Northern Ireland, Israel and the West Bank, and Sri Lanka in 1998-1999. She received her Master of Theological Studies from Harvard in 2001 and her Ph.D. from the University of Virginia in 2007. Before joining the Union faculty, she taught in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of San Diego.


  • –present
    Associate Professor of Social Ethics, Union Theological Seminary