Linda E. Thomas Professor of Theology and Anthropology

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Areas of Expertise

    Church and Society

    Sexuality and Theology

    Black Theology/Womanist Theology

    Theological Anthropology and the #BlackLivesMatter Movement

    Theologies of the Body

Education

    B.A., Western Maryland College

    M.Div., Union Seminary, N.Y.

    Ph.D., American University, Washington D.C.

Biography

Dr. Linda E. Thomas is Full Professor of Theology and Anthropology, and has taught at LSTC since 2000. She studies, researches, writes, speaks, and teaches about the intersection and mutual influence of theology and culture from a womanist perspective.

Dr. Thomas has taught in the fields of theological anthropology, cultural studies, and ethics. She is particularly focused on the experience of African-American women, and is passionate about uncovering and exploring historical and contemporary experiences and ideologies that govern actions, policies, and norms surrounding race, class, and gender. She always incorporates multiple teaching and learning methods in the classroom; in addition to traditional sources, she regularly uses literature, music, and film to provide variety and relevance for her students.

Dr. Thomas’s interdisciplinary focus of theology and anthropology unites critical sociological-anthropological observations with a concern for the church and its future ministers as the church relates to the wider society.  

She was one of the principal leaders behind LSTCs “Public Church Curriculum” (launched 2014), which explicitly seeks to unite the academic study of theology for the church with service/justice work in the world. LSTC has recently been nationally recognized for this innovative curriculum, and she uses the dialogical method of teaching in her classes as part of her commitment to a “public church.”  

Her professional academic experience began as Dean of Students at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington D.C., where she also taught courses in spiritual formation. She has served on the faculty at the Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colorado and Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary on the campus of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. At Garrett, she also served as the Director of the Center for the Church and the Black Experience. She has served as a visiting professor at the University of Chicago, Vanderbilt University, and Drew University.

Dr. Thomas is a well-published author, with several books and dozens of academic journal articles to her name.  She has also given lectures at major conferences in Africa, Europe, and Latin America, and most recently in South Africa, Germany, Sweden, and Brazil.  She unites a commitment to academics of the highest standard with a concern for social justice through the womanist tradition. Pivotal to the womanist tradition is the integration of faith with the scholarly life and pursuit of justice for all those who have been oppressed.

Dr. Thomas holds a Ph.D. in anthropology from The American University in Washington D.C., a Master of Divinity in Theology from Union Theological Seminary in New York City, and a BA in English Literature and Sociology from Western Maryland College.  Her work has taken her to South Africa, Peru, Cuba, and Russia. She has also been recognized as an Association of Theological Schools Faculty Fellow and a Pew Charitable Trust Scholar.

At LSTC, Dr. Thomas has served as Faculty Representative to the Board of Trustees, Chair of the Theology and History Division of the Faculty, Chair of the Faculty Executive Committee, and Chair of the Diversity Committee.

Published Works

    Books

    Walk Together Children: Black and Womanist Theologies, Church and Theological Education, Co-edited with Dwight N. Hopkins, eds. Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2010.

    Living Stones in the Household of Faith: The Future of Black Theology, Editor. Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress Press, 2004.

    Under the Canopy:  Ritual Process and Spiritual Resilience in South Africa. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 1999.

    Journal Articles

    “Between the World and Me: Rituals for Crossing Over, in Memory of Dr. Katie Geneva Cannon” in Interpretation: A Journal of Bible and Theology 74:1 (January 2020): 52-60.

    “Public Theology, Populism, and Racism in the Post-Obama Era in the United States: A Womanist Summoning” in Resisting Exclusion. Global Theological Responses to Populism, LWF Studies 2019/01, ed. Eva Harasta and Simone Sinn (Leipzig, Germany: Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, 2019), 53-65.

    “Theologi, Anthropologi och hopp” in Tidens Tecken 4 (2019), 93-103.  Article published in Swedish.  Original English Title: “Theology, Anthropology, and Hope.”  

    “Katie Cannon: Premier Womanist Ethicist, Mentor, and Big Sister” in Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion35:2 (Fall 2019): 145-147.  

    “A Womanist Response to Donald Trump: What Pastors are Called to Do,” in Taking it to  the Streets: Public Theologies of Activism and Resistance, ed. Jennifer Baldwin (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2018), 15-23.  

    “A Womanist Perspective on the Election of Donald Trump: What Pastors Are Called to Do,” Journal of Lutheran Ethics, Vol. 16, Issue 10, December/January 2016/7: on- line journal. 

    "Womanist Approaches to the Therigatha and the Therigatha's Influence on Womanism," Buddhist-Christian Studies, Vol. 36, 2016:29-42. 
                
    “The Holy Spirit and Black Women: A Womanist Perspective,” in Christian Doctrines for Global Gender Justice, Jenny Daggers and Grace Ji-Sun Kim, eds. New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2015:73-88.

    “The social sciences and rituals of resilience in African and African America communities,” in The Cambridge Companion to Black Theology, Dwight N. Hopkins and Edward P. Antonio, eds. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012:44-57.

    “Womanist Theology and Postmodernism,” in The World Can Be a Better Place, Marjorie Lewis and Dwight Hopkins, eds. UK: Ashgate Publications, 2009:307-312.

    “The Aesthetic Dimensions of Religion in South Africa,” in Bodies Beautiful: Aesthetic Dimensions of Religious Thought and Life in Africa and the African Diaspora. Anthony Pinn, ed., New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010:175-186.

    “What the Mind Forgets the Body Remembers: Women, Poverty, and HIV,” in Women and Religion. Cheryl Kirk Duggan et al eds., Greenwood Praeger Press, 2010:185-202.

    “Pentecost Sunday” and “Trinity Sunday” in Feasting on the Word: Preaching the Revised Common Lectionary Year C, Volume 3: Pentecost and Season after Pentecost 1 (Propers 3-16).  Westminster John Knox Press, 2010:2, 38.

    “Religion and Poverty – Ritual and Empowerment in Africa and the African Diaspora,” Co-authored with Dwight N. Hopkins, in Religion and Poverty: Pan-African Perspectives.  Peter J. Paris, ed. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2009:128-151.

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