Emilie M. Townes was named the 16th dean of the Vanderbilt Divinity School in Nashville, Tennessee. She currently serves as the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of African American Religion and Theology at Yale Divinity School. She also is the associate dean of academic affairs. Before coming to Yale, she was the Carolyn Williams Beaird Professor of Christian Ethics at the Union Theological Seminary. Dr. Townes will assume her new role on July 1.
Professor Townes stated, “I am excited and honored to be asked to lead and guide a school with a long commitment to helping clergy and laity prepare for Christian ministry. It’s working to re-envision ministry to meet the needs of our times by combining spiritual and intellectual growth with a sense of social justice and the formation of new generations of scholars.”
Dr. Townes holds a bachelor’s degree, a master degree in divinity, and a doctorate of divinity from the University of Chicago. She holds a second doctorate from the joint Northwestern University/Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary program. She is the current president of the Society for the Study of Black Religion and is a past president of the American Academy of Religion.
Professor Townes is the author of Womanist Justice, Womanist Hope (Scholars Press, 1993) and In a Blaze of Glory: Womanist Spirituality as Social Witness (Abingdon Press, 1995). Her most recent book is Womanist Ethics and the Cultural Production of Evil (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006). Also, she is co-editor of Womanist Theological Ethics: A Reader (Westminster John Knox Press, 2011).