Emilie Townes

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Emilie Townes
Born(1955-08-01)August 1, 1955
Durham, North Carolina, U.S.
Occupation(s)author, professor, theologian, American Baptist minister
Academic background
EducationUniversity of Chicago (BA)
University of Chicago (MA)
Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary (PhD)
Academic work
DisciplineWomanist theologian
InstitutionsUnion Theological Seminary, Yale Divinity School, Vanderbilt Divinity School

Emilie Maureen Townes (born August 1, 1955, Durham, North Carolina) is an American Christian social ethicist and theologian, currently Dean and E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Professor of Womanist Ethics and Society at the Vanderbilt University Divinity School. She was the first African-American woman to be elected president of the American Academy of Religion in 2008[1] and served as president of the Society for the Study of Black Religion from 2013–2016.

Education and career[edit]

Townes holds degrees from the University of Chicago (AB in Religion in the Humanities, AM in Religion, DMin) and from the joint Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary/Northwestern University program (PhD). She taught at Saint Paul School of Theology, Union Theological Seminary in New York, and Yale Divinity School, holding named chairs at both Union and Yale.[2] In 2013 she became Dean of Vanderbilt Divinity School. She has been an ordained American Baptist minister since 1980.[3]


Major works[edit]


  • Womanist Ethics and the Cultural Production of Evil (Palgrave Macmillan Press, 2006).
  • Breaking the Fine Rain of Death: African American Health Care and a Womanist Ethic of Care (Continuum, 1998).
  • In a Blaze of Glory: Womanist Spirituality as Social Witness (Abingdon Press, 1995).
  • Womanist Justice, Womanist Hope (Scholars Press, 1993).

Co-edited books[edit]


  1. ^ "Past Presidents | aarweb.org". www.aarweb.org. Retrieved 2018-11-12.
  2. ^ a b "Emilie Townes". vanderbilt.edu. Retrieved March 12, 2017.
  3. ^ LaRosa, Patricia E.; Cameron, Ruth Tonkiss (2006). "Finding Aid for emilie m. townes papers, [1963-2015]" (PDF). The Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary. Retrieved 21 November 2019.
  4. ^ "Townes, Emilie". worldcat.org. Retrieved March 12, 2017.
  5. ^ "Emilie Townes named dean of Vanderbilt Divinity School". vanderbilt.edu. December 28, 2012. Retrieved March 12, 2017.
  6. ^ Owens, Ann Marie Deer. "Emilie Townes is recipient of higher education Pacesetter Award". Vanderbilt University. Retrieved 2018-11-12.