Vanderbilt Divinity School dean to reflect on troubling times

The Rev. Dr. Emilie Townes (Vanderbilt University)
The Rev. Dr. Emilie Townes (Vanderbilt University)

Emilie Townes will lead off Vanderbilt Divinity School’s community breakfasts for the 2016-17 school year as the featured speaker Sept. 20. Townes is dean of the Divinity School and the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Professor of Womanist Ethics and Society.

“Talk that Talk: Reflections from the Dean” will be from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. in the school’s Reading Room.

“I plan to discuss our troubling times in the context of being a Christian social ethicist, and the challenges that we face for Vanderbilt Divinity School, for our religious and social communities, and for our society,” Townes said.

Townes 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. After her remarks, Townes will take questions and comments from those in attendance.

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 study 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 also was in 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.

The cost of the breakfast is $10 for the public. There is no charge for students, but reservations are necessary. Please call 615-936-8453 or register online.