Helene Slessarev-Jamir

Mildred M. Hutchinson Professor of Urban Studies; Professor of Ethics, Politics, and Society B.A., University of California, Berkeley; M.A., University of Illinois, Chicago; Ph.D., University of Chicago

Helene Slessarev-Jamir is currently researching the character of religiously inspired justice work in response to globalization and American empire. She is working on a book on contemporary progressive prophetic activism in the United States that will include chapters on congregational community organizing, activism in support of worker justice, immigrant rights, peace-making, and ending global poverty.

Her earlier work includes reports on national promising practices in community-based ministry among Asian and Hispanic immigrant religious communities published by the Annie-E. Casey Foundation She has also written articles on congregational based community organizing and the role of public theology in an age of empire. She has an extensive background doing community-based consulting work and worked as a union and community organizer in Washington D.C. and Chicago prior to going to graduate school.

She is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Sojourners and serves on the UMC’s National Committee for Hispanic/Latino Ministry and its National Immigration Task Force.


B.A. – University of California, Berkeley
M.A – University of Illinois, Chicago
Ph.D. – University of Chicago

Recent Publications / Achievements

Prophetic Activism: Progressive Religious Justice Movements in Contemporary America, 2011, New York, New York University Press.

“Prophetic Activism in an Age of Empire,” Political Theology, Vol. 11, no. 5, 2010

“The Contested Church: Multiple Others of the Evangelical Multitude” in Bruce Benson and Peter Heltzel, eds.,Evangelicals and Empire: Christian Alternatives to the Political Status Quo, (Grand Rapids MI: Brazos Press: 2008)

“The Mission of Public Theology in an Age of Empire”Missiology: An International Review, Vol.XXXIV, no. 1, January 2006.

Sustaining Hope and Creating Opportunities: Family Focused Ministry among Hispanic Immigrants, Published by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, January 2004.

A Place of Refuge and Sustenance: How Faith Institutions Strengthen the Families of Poor and Disadvantaged Asian Immigrants, Published by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, December, 2003.

The Betrayal of the Urban Poor Philadelphia PA: Temple University Press, 1997.

Job Training Under the New Federalism Gary Orfield and Helene Slessarev, Chicago: Illinois Unemployment and Job Training Research Project, 1986.