Reverend Dr. Emilie M. Townes is the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Professor, Dean emerita and University Distinguished Professor of Womanist Ethics and Society and Gender and Sexuality Studies at Vanderbilt University, becoming the first African American to serve as Dean of the Divinity School in 2013. She is the former Andrew W. Mellon Professor of African American Religion and Theology at Yale University Divinity School.
She was the first African American and first woman to serve as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the Yale Divinity School. She is the former Carolyn Williams Beaird Professor of Christian Ethics at Union Theological Seminary and Professor of Social Ethics at Saint Paul School of Theology. She is editor of two collection of essays,; she has authored four books including her groundbreaking book, Womanist Ethics and the Cultural Production of Evil. She is co-editor of three books including Walking Through the Valley: Essays: Womanist Explorations in the Spirit of Katie Geneva Cannon (2022).
Townes was elected a Fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2009. In 2008 she was the first African American woman to serve as president of the American Academy of Religion. She served a four-year term as president of the Society for the Study of Black Religion from 2012 to 2016. In 2024-2025 she will be the first Black woman to serve as president of the Society of Christian Ethics.
To learn more about Emilie and her work, go to her website at https://divinity.vanderbilt.edu/people/bio/?pid=emiliem-townes