VU Divinity Breakfast to explore impact of faith and politics on women activists


– Two professors from very different academic disciplines come together Sept. 29 to discuss how faith and politics play increasingly important roles in the work of women activists.

Brooke Ackerly, assistant professor of political science, and Melissa Snarr, assistant professor of ethics and society, will address “Women Changing the World: Hope from Two Disciplines” during a community breakfast hosted by Vanderbilt University Divinity School. It is open to the public at a cost of $10 per person and takes place from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. in the Divinity School Refectory.

“We plan to tell stories of hope about women who are using their identities as women and also as people of faith to change the political and economic context around them,” Snarr said.

She has a strong research-based interest in women of faith in the living wage movement. Her writing, teaching and community involvement have centered on the intersection of religion, social change and social/political ethics. Snarr received her doctorate from


and previously directed the Ethics and Servant Leadership program at Emory’s Center for Ethics.

Ackerly, who studies women’s human rights activism around the world, has discovered the importance of faith for some activists. “For many of these women, faith is what keeps them going during intensely difficult political struggles,” she said. “There is also a tension between feminists who are using a secular framework and those who rely on faith in their work.”

Ackerly, who earned her doctorate at
, was previously a visiting fellow at the Center for International Studies at the

Southern California

. She also was a visiting assistant professor in political science at the

Los Angeles


The two professors said they hope to demonstrate how important it is for political scientists and religious experts to communicate across disciplines as they work to better understand how women are making changes around the world.

All those planning to attend are asked to RSVP by Sept. 22. Please call 343-3994 or register online at

Media contact: Ann Marie Deer Owens, 615-322-2706

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