Professor Townes’s teaching and general research interests focus on Christian ethics, womanist ethics, critical social theory, cultural theory and studies, as well as on postmodernism and social postmodernism. Her specific interests include health and health care; the cultural production of evil; analyzing the linkages among race, gender, class, and other forms of oppression; and developing a network between African American and Afro-Brazilian religious and secular leaders and community-based organizations. Among her many publications are Womanist Ethics and the Cultural Production of Evil, In a Blaze of Glory: Womanist Spirituality as Social Witness and Breaking the Fine Rain of Death: African American Health and a Womanist Ethic of Care; . Prior to her appointment at Vanderbilt as dean and the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Professor of Womanist Ethics and Society, Professor Townes was the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of African American Religion and Theology at Yale Divinity School and the Carolyn Beaird Professor of Christian Ethics at Union Theological Seminary in New York. She served as president of the American Academy of Religion in 2008 and is the current president of the Society for the Study of Black Religion (2013-2016). Professor Townes is an ordained American Baptist clergywoman.