Emilie Townes

Emilie Townes's picture

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.

Recent Posts by Author

As a daughter of a molecular biologist who was also a faithful tither to her church, I grew up in a world that saw no clear separation between science and religion.  It was in the air I breathed and the way in which I learned to see the world. More >
I’ve been following the uproar and then tamping down of the remarks Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson made in a recent GQ interview that equated homosexuality with bestiality, homosexuals as terrorists, and Black folk being happy in the pre-Civil Rights South.  Later, Robinson issued a statement to explain his remarks: More >
  We have a wonderful museum here in Nashville, the Frist Center for the Visual Arts.  The Frist is a non-collecting museum.  Without a permanent collection, it curates exhibitions or provides a home for traveling exhibitions from around the country and the world throughout the year.  This means that we get treated to everything from Carrie Mae Weems to Sylvia Hyman to German Expressionism. More >
 I am a football fan—a devout one at that.  Though I would not be a womanist if I did not add that I have no true genuine favorite team on the collegiate or professional levels.  I tend to root hard for the team that I'm closest to geographically.  So, now that I am at Vanderbilt, this means the Commodores are on my radar screen.  This is the first time that I’ve been at a Division I school whose team has a charismatic coach and a winning program.  Teams of heart but few wins marked my days at Ch More >
The week of June 24, 2013 was an exceedingly mixed bag for many of us.  On one hand, the Supreme Court struck down the Act to Define and Protect the Institution of Marriage (DOMA) that was enacted in 1996 on June 26th.  Then President Bill Clinton agreed with both houses of Congress that a federal law that allowed states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages was a good thing—effectively barring same-sex married couples from being recognized as spouses for the purpose of federal laws or receiving federal marriage benefits—insurance benefits for government employees, More >

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