Alexander Fernández, a graduate student in the Department of Religious Studies, recently defended his master's thesis titled "Odú in Motion: Afro-Cuban Orisha Hermeneutics and Embodied Scholarship, Life Reflections of a Lukumí Priest." His thesis is an autoethnographic study of his life experiences as an initiated priest of the Afro-Cuban Lukumí tradition. Fernandez's work has been nominated for a Worlds Ahead Achievement Award at FIU.
Of Cuban heritage, Fernández was raised and initiated in the diverse and connected Afro-Cuban religious traditions, holding several titles as ritual specialist and advisor. Having worked both in the private sector and a decorated Veteran of the United States Navy, he is now utilizing these experiences and heritages to carve out an academic niche with regard to the theoretical understanding and advancement of Afro-diasporic religious practices. He will begin his doctoral studies in FIU's Department of Global and Sociocultural Studies in the fall of 2014.