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TownesEmilie M. Townes
Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Andrew W. Mellon Professor of African American Studies in Religion and Theology
A.B., A.M., D.Min., University of Chicago; Ph.D., Northwestern University

What keeps me alive and engaged here at Yale is the fact that I am exploring traditions that have driven people to incredible heights of valor and despicable degrees of cravenness. At Yale, teaching and research is not a sterile objective enterprise. I have the great privilege of teaching in a community of faith that is profoundly tethered to the fullness and incompleteness of people’s lives as we respond to the drama of history lived in creation.

 We cannot and we should not proceed as if we are engaged in ideas as though people are not related to them. We are people of faith exploring the mysteries of faith and the hard edges of living.  Yale gives me the space, and more importantly the invitation, to engage in my teaching with passion and precision and to not believe—for myself or my students—that faithful engagement in our education means that we are being called to be the dipsticks for intellectual hubris.

JenkinsWillis Jenkins
Margaret Farley Assistant Professor of Social Ethics
B.A., Wheaton College; M.A., Ph.D., University of Virginia

There is simply no better place than Yale to pursue interdisciplinary work in ethics, theology, environmental studies, and social justice. My research explores how faith communities can draw on their theological traditions in order to confront new problems, and how they can collaborate with other communities as they do.

At YDS there are not only excellent programs in the disciplines of Christian thought, but a creative community of students and scholars engaged with culture, church, and society. The opportunities here are told in the list of classes I can offer: I teach classes co-listed with the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies (“Environmental Ethics,” “Environmental Theologies”) and with International Affairs (“Global Ethics”), and I teach interdisciplinary classes created with other scholars at YDS (“Scripture and Social Ethics”) and with community leaders in New Haven (“Neighborhood Ethics”).

WengerTisa Wenger
Assistant Professor of American Religious History
B.A., Eastern Mennonite University; M.A., Claremont Graduate University; M.A., Ph.D., Princeton University

I teach at YDS first of all because the students here are absolutely fantastic. Most are excellent academically, but even more than that, they are here for a reason. Whether or not they intend to go into the ministry, most are discerning or already pursuing a calling, and are passionately committed to faith and to justice. As an historian of American religion, I seek to engage these students in the project of historical interpretation, and to help them see that history is not static but always changing depending on the questions we bring to it.

In the process, I want students to become more conscious, not only of how historians approach their material, but also of how history is interpreted and deployed throughout the culture, and how it might be relevant to the students’ own work. Many of these students will become church and community leaders. Offering them a wider angle of vision, a historically informed perspective on contemporary American culture and religion, seems to me a valuable and deeply rewarding task.

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