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Emilie Townes - Vanderbilt University. Nashville, TN, US

Emilie Townes Emilie Townes

Dean of the Divinity School; E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Professor of Womanist Ethics and Society | Vanderbilt University

Nashville, TN, UNITED STATES

An expert in Christian ethics, womanist theology and womanist perspectives on health care, economic justice, poetry and literary theory.

Multimedia

Publications:

Emilie Townes Publication Emilie Townes Publication Emilie Townes Publication

Documents:

Photos:

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Videos:

Dr. Emilie Townes: Shadowboxing the Ridiculous Community Breakfast with Emilie Townes, Taking on Demons Take Ten With Rev. Dr. Emilie Townes

Audio:

Biography

The Rev. Dr. Emilie M. Townes, a distinguished scholar and leader in theological education, is dean of Vanderbilt Divinity School. Townes' broad areas of expertise include Christian ethics, cultural theory and studies, postmodernism and social postmodernism. She has been a pioneering scholar in womanist theology, a field of studies in which the historic and current insights of African American women are brought into critical engagement with the traditions of Christian theology. She is an ordained American Baptist clergywoman.

Areas of Expertise (8)

Theological Education Baptist Studies Cultural Theory and Studies African American Women and Religion Womanist Ethics Christian Ethics Postmodernism and Social Postmodernism African American Culture

Accomplishments (1)

John A Rhind Award (professional)

Divinity School Visiting Committee, Committee on Ministry, University of Chicago, 1981

Education (4)

The Joint Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary: Ph.D. 1989

University of Chicago: D.Min., Divinity School 1982

University of Chicago: M.A., Divinity School 1979

University of Chicago: B.A., Religion and the Humanities 1977

Affiliations (7)

  • American Academy of Arts & Sciences : Fellow
  • American Theological Society : Member
  • Society for the Study of Black Religion : Member
  • Society of Christian Ethics : Member
  • American Academy of Religion : Member
  • Journal of Africana Religions : Editorial Board Member
  • Soma: An International Journal of Contemporary Theology Discourses and Counter-Discourses : Editorial Board Member

Selected Media Appearances (7)

We Talked to People of Faith About Being Both Religious and Pro-Choice

SELF  

2019-07-16

“I've listened to all of the arguments about when life happens, and I think of something my mother, who was a scientist, once told me. She said, ‘As scientists, we can run the experiments. We can give you explanations for how things happen on a cellular level. We can do all these things, but at a certain point it becomes a mystery, and in that mystery is God.’ And I think she's right on target with that: This is something that God handles, and what any one person would do in this situation shouldn't infringe upon someone else's right to make a different decision. It is a choice that calls for deep discernment.

I do know that we need to be a lot more responsible once life gets here. We focus so much on the unborn that we fail to see that we have a miserable safety net in this country when it comes to helping women and children have healthy lives with adequate health care. We should ultimately be caring for folks wherever they are.”

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Vanderbilt names university chaplain

Nashville Post  

2019-04-03

Dr. Emilie Townes, who serves as dean of the Vanderbilt Divinity School and as E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Professor of Womanist Ethics and Society, said “the Divinity School look forward to continuing its “strong working relationship with the Office of Religious Life under Christopher’s leadership.”

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Academics, Experts Share Diversity Dreams for 2019

Diverse: Issues in Higher Education  online

2019-01-02

Dr. Emilie M. Townes, professor of American studies and womanist ethics and society at Vanderbilt Divinity School, said she wants to see ” the upper administration in colleges and universities begin to reflect the diversity, access and inclusion being encouraged in the student and faculty populations of those universities.”

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Black Lives Matter co-founder to speak at Vanderbilt University event

FOX17 Nashville  online

2018-09-11

“This symposium represents the spirit of collaboration and the importance that we, as a university, place on open and mutual conversations about the important issues of our day,” said Emilie Townes, dean of Vanderbilt Divinity School and the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Professor of Womanist Ethics and Society. “The importance of our addressing racial justice as a university and as a nation is as important today as it has ever been in the life of this country.”

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Katie Cannon, 68, Dies; Lifted Black Women’s Perspective in Theology

New York Times  online

2018-08-14

“What Cannon launched insists that God’s creation is much larger and more diverse when we listen to and learn from the moral wisdom found in the everyday lives of Black women,” the Rev. Dr. Emilie M. Townes, dean of the Divinity School at Vanderbilt University, wrote in an email. “Her insistence that we listen and learn also helped give other groups who had been left out of scholarship or ministry a way to claim their space under the sun.”

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Six Black Women at the Center of Gravity in Theological Education

NBC News  online

2017-07-10

And they follow in the footsteps of other firsts, like Dr. Emilie M. Townes who was named dean of Vanderbilt University Divinity School in 2012. She was one of the first African-American female deans of a theological institution, according to reports, and only the second woman at Vanderbilt.

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The Future of Religion Is Ascendant

Wall Street Journal  online

2015-04-26

Far from a dying thing, religion is flourishing and will continue to do so.

This is a trend driven not so much by ideology (whether conservative, progressive or in between) or by issues of the day that generate religious debate (prayer in schools, for example, or same-gender marriage). Rather, it springs from the simple fact that the world’s population keeps growing, and by most predictions will continue to do so for the foreseeable future—barring disease, famine, political upheaval, war or other factors we cannot predict.

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Selected Event Appearances (5)

Does Your House Have Lions?: Citizenship and Faith in Today’s World

UNIVERSITY CHAPLAIN’S SPEAKERS SERIES  Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN

2014-02-26

Living Beyond the Fold of Old Wounds: Womanist Liner Notes in the Diaspora

PAULI MURRAY/NANNIE HELLENS BURROUGS LECTURE ON WOMEN AND RELIGION  The Office of Black Church Studies, Duke University Divinity School

2014-02-24

Christian Ethics and Womanist Theology

MCPHERSON LECURESHIP  First Presbyterian Church, Durham, NC

2014-02-23

Does Your House Have Lions?: Citizen and Faith and Faith in Today’s World

MACKENZIE LECTURESHIP  First Congregational United Church of Christ, Boulder, CO

2014-01-31

What is Queer About Your Work

Human Rights Campaign Foundation Religion and Faith Program  Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN

2013-07-25

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