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Department of Religious Studies

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Stephanie Y. Mitchem

Title: Professor
Department: Religious Studies
College of Arts and Sciences
Phone: 803-466-4669
Office: Rutledge 330
Stephanie Y. Mitchem

Religion and religious ethics are lenses that provide more complete focus on the world, our nation, our region.  It follows that religion is a discipline that crosses multiple disciplines.

In my own work, I utilize anthropology, history, cultural studies, and women’s studies. I aim to understand our contemporary lives and to engage my students in these discussions. I have a joint appointment with the Women & Gender Program.

Current research foci:
  • Empowerment of women
  • Religious freedom/religious intolerance
  • African American/Diasporan women aiming for spiritual wholeness
  • Human rights in the United States
  • The quest to build community
Courses taught include:
  • Religion and Politics
  • Black Religions in the United States
  • Sex, Gender, and Religion
  • Religions in the African Diaspora
  • Perspectives in Religious Studies (capstone course)
  • Seminar in Women and Gender Studies
  • Black Feminist Theory
  • Race, Class, Gender, Sexuality

Northwestern University - Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary, Joint Program, Evanston, IL. Foci of studies: theology/ethics; American history (19th-20th century); ethnography; cultural studies. Doctor of Philosophy, June 1998


Race, Religion and Politics: Towards Human Rights in the US. (Lexington Books, expected 2018)

African American Women Tapping Power and Spiritual Wellness  (Cleveland:  Pilgrim Press, 2004; Wipf and Stock reprint 2010)

Introducing Womanist Theology, (Maryknoll, New York:  Orbis Books, 2002; 7th printing, 2008)

Faith, Health, and Healing Among African Americans, co-editors, Stephanie Y. Mitchem and Emilie M. Townes (Praeger, 2008)

African American Folk Healing (New York: New York University Press, 2007)

Name It and Claim It?  Prosperity Preaching and the Black Church (Cleveland: Pilgrim Press, 2007)

Recent essays:

Foreword to Revives My Soul Again, on spirituality of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Contributor to Oxford University Press encyclopedia on religion with work on “Gender and Public Religion.”

“The Gift of Black Women’s Embodied Spirituality” in Women Religion and the Gift, An Abundance of Riches, Edited by Morny Joy, (New York: Springer Press, 2016)

“In Conversation: Womanist/Postcolonial/Pastoral” In Postcolonial Practice of Ministry, edited by Kwok Pui Lan and Stephen Burns (Lexington Press, 2016)

“A Reflection on Guns and Golden Calves (or, on constructing a god),” in Crosscurrents, Winter 2015

“Embodiment in African American Theological Scholarship,” in The Oxford Handbook of African American Theology, edited by Katie Geneva Cannon and Anthony Pinn, (Oxford University Press 2014)

“Gendered Politics of Religious Intimacies,” in Religion, Gender, and the Public Sphere, edited by Niamh Reilly and Stacey Scriver (New York: Routledge, 2014)

 “The Politics of Public Piety,” in Crosscurrents, November 2014

Recent pressentations:

February 10-12, 2018, Panelist, On Global Religious Freedom, International Committee Unitarian Universalist, Kathmandu, Nepal

February 3, 2018, On the Boston Declaration and Religion in the Public Sphere, Palmetto State Progressive Summit, Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center

January 23, 2018, “A Soulful Experience: The Art of Renee Cox” Columbia Museum of Art, Columbia. SC

African American Folk Healing, Guest Lecture, Center for the Study of African American Religious Life at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, June 2017

Panelist, Religion and Public Education, American Educational Research Association annual conference, San Antonio, TX, April 2017

Keynote, The Embodied Power of Sankofa, University of Pittsburgh conference “Diverse Spiritualities: Embodiment and Relationality in Religions of Africa and its Diasporas,” April 20 2017

Religions of the African Diaspora, Claflin University faculty focus, Orangeburg, SC, February 2016

African American Culture, SC Governor’s School for the Arts, Greenville, SC February 2016

Panelist, Teaching Religion with Technology, Society for the Study of Black Religions Annual Meeting, Savannah, GA, April 2015


South Carolina Humanities Council, speaker available for the South Carolina Humanities Out Loud Speaker Bureau. December 2006 – present.

Invited participant, Council on Foreign Relations Religion and Foreign Policy Workshop, May 2016 and May 2015.

Member, Workgroup on Constructive Theology, beginning 2006 – May 2016

Invited participant, African and African Diasporic Women in Religion and Theology Conference, University of Ghana, Legon, July 2012



Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.