Faculty Announcements

Categories: Union News

We’re pleased to share a number of new faculty announcements:

Union’s new Assistant Professor of Early Church History is Dr. Julia Kelto Lillis. Dr. Kelto Lillis holds a B.A. from St. Olaf College, M.Div. and Th.M. degrees from Princeton Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. in Religion from Duke University.  Her primary research interests concern ancient constructions of social difference, especially in areas of gender and sexuality, and the ways these are discussed in early Christian literature.  She teaches courses and topics in early church history, Christian biblical and non-canonical writings, premodern genders and sexualities, and ancient perspectives on the body, healing, and disabilities. Her article “Paradox in Partu: Verifying Virginity in the Protevangelium of James” (Journal of Early Christian Studies, 2016) was awarded the American Society of Church History’s Jane Dempsey Douglass prize.

We’re also thrilled that Dr. Obery M. Hendricks has joined Union as a visiting professor. A life long social activist, Dr. Hendricks is one of the foremost commentators on the intersection of religion and political economy in America. He is the most widely read and perhaps the most influential African American biblical scholar writing today. Cornel West calls him “one of the last few grand prophetic intellectuals.” Hendricks’ bestselling book, The Politics of Jesus: Rediscovering the True Revolutionary Nature of Jesus’ Teachings and How They Have Been Corrupted (Doubleday, 2006), was declared “essential reading for Americans” by the Washington Post.

Union is pleased to announce that Rev. Dr. William J. Barber’s appointment as visiting professor of public theology & activism has been extended for an additional two years. Since 2016, Rev. Barber and Rev. Liz Theoharis, co-director of Union’s Kairos Center, have led a resurrection of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s Poor People’s Campaign. Together, alongside leaders from around the country—many of whom are Union alums—they have birthed a dynamic, grassroots movement to bring God’s justice to a world that desperately needs it. Rev. Barber’s writing on faith and justice has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Time, The Nation, The Huffington Post and many other outlets, and he is a regular guest on MSNBC. He is also the recipient of a 2018 MacArthur Genius Grant.

Michelle Alexander has also agreed to extend her appointment as a Union’s visiting professor of social justice for another three years. Alexander is most well known as the author of the New York Times best seller, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. Since its first publication,The New Jim Crow has received rave reviews and has been featured in national radio and television media outlets, including MSNBC, NPR, Bill Moyers JournalTavis Smiley, C-SPAN, and Washington Journal, among others. In March, the book won the 2011 NAACP Image Award for best nonfiction. She was also recently appointed as a New York Times opinion columnist.

Finally, on Thursday, October 4th, President Serene Jones announced that the board has voted to posthumously award Rev. Dr. James H. Cone the title of Bill and Judith Moyers Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Systematic Theology, to honor his incredible half-century at Union.