Divinity School dean Emilie Townes featured at community breakfast

The Rev. Dr. Emilie Townes (Vanderbilt)

Vanderbilt Divinity School Dean Emilie M. Townes will hold an open forum at a Sept. 18 community breakfast hosted by the Divinity School. Townes will speak briefly about her continuing vision for the school and then take questions and comments from those in attendance.

The breakfast will be in the school’s Reading Room from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m.

Townes, the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Professor of Womanist Ethics and Society, is an ordained American Baptist clergywoman. She has embraced the opportunity “to be in conversation” with the Vanderbilt and Middle Tennessee communities as she guides a school historically known for its devotion to social justice.

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.

Townes earned a doctorate in philosophy from the Joint Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary/Northwestern University Program in Religious and Theological Studies. She also received a doctorate in ministry from the University of Chicago.

Townes currently serves as president of the Society for the Study of Black Religion. She was the first African American woman elected to the presidential line of the American Academy of Religion, which she led in 2008. Townes was inducted as a fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2009. She is a member of the 2016 class of Leadership Nashville.

She is a contributing blogger for the religion page of the Huffington Post and the Feminism in Religion Forum.

Those who would like to attend the breakfast, which costs $10, should make a reservation. Student registration is free. Please register online or call (615) 936-8453 by Sept. 14. Townes’ talk will be recorded and posted after the event at news.vanderbilt.edu.

The Divinity community breakfasts are made possible by a gift from Sylvia Sanders Kelley and Blaine Kelley Jr.