E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Chair in Ethics and Society
Professor of Ethics and Society
On leave Fall 2023
Dr. Stacey Floyd-Thomas is Associate Professor of Ethics and Society at Vanderbilt University Divinity School and College of Arts and Sciences and Executive Director of both the Society of Christian Ethics (SCE) and the nationally-acclaimed Black Religious Scholars Group (BRSG) and serves as co-founder of the Society for the Study of Race, Ethnicity and Religion (SRER).
Her research and teaching interests lie at the intersection of ethics, feminist/womanist studies, Black Church studies, critical pedagogy, critical race theory, and postcolonial studies with an overall approach to the study of Christian social ethics that engages broad questions of moral agency, cultural memory, ethical responsibility and social justice. Drawing upon socio-historical methods and liberation ethics, her work in Christian social ethics has a threefold focus—race, gender, and class—and she is equally interested in the challenges of religious pluralism, social justice and the political world. She is concerned with what she calls "the why crisis" of faith. This task demands more than the conventional modes of descriptive analysis, normative interpretation, and social critique but lends itself to a “meta-ethics” that guides moral reasoning and ethics towards constructive thought that leads to visions of social justice and the common good. She considers the work of religious discourse and Christian faith to be inseparable from thinking about how to construct a justice-seeking community.
Floyd-Thomas’ research trajectory envisions the challenge for constructive ethics in making liberationist discourse and theologies more viable. This is exemplified in her numerous publications including numerous articles, book chapters, six books, namely, Mining the Motherlode: Methods in Womanist Ethics (Pilgrim Press, 2006), Deeper Shades of Purple: Womanism in Religion and Society (New York University Press, 2006), and Black Church Studies: An Introduction (Abingdon Press, 2007), U. S. Liberation Theologies: An Introduction (New York University Press, 2010), Beyond the Pale: Reading Ethics from the Margins (Westminister John Knox Press, 2011), Beyond the Pale: Reading Theology from the Margins (Westminister John Knox Press, 2011), and two book series for which she serves as general editor: Religion and Social Transformation (NYU) and ‘Making It Plain’: Approaches in Black Church Studies (Abingdon). Her current research projects – Exodus in America: The Unlikely Alliance between White Jews and Black Christians; Liberation Theologies in the United States: An Introduction; Making It Plain: Approaches to African American Christian Social Ethics; The Westminster John Knox Dictionary of African American Religion and Thought – continue to address the ongoing challenge of liberationist discourse and interdisciplinary scholarship.
Whether you engage her through her books and articles, hear her on the lecture circuit, enroll in her classes, read her online lectionaries (African American Lectionary), or attend the many workshop and seminars she gives, it is blatantly clear, as one scholar has said, that “Stacey Floyd-Thomas is accessible to any woman or man of good will who is committed to justice-making in academy, church, and society.” It is because of this reputation that she has received numerous honors and awards including the Texas Christian University Chancellor's Award for Distinguished Achievement as a Creative Teacher and Scholar, Brite Divinity School’s Catherine Saylor Hill Faculty Excellence Award in Scholarship, Teaching and Service, and Louise Clark Brittan Faculty Excellence Award in Teaching, Virginia Tech's Diggs Teaching Scholar Award, Virginia Tech's College of Arts and Science Diversity Award, the JPMorgan Chase/Texas Business Press Great Women of Texas Award, the American Academy of Religion Excellence in Teaching Award, and most recently, the 2012 Womanist Legend Award.