Vanderbilt Divinity School

“Here, we ask questions, seek wisdom, embrace academic rigor, explore the depths of the Spirit, and hope to offer thoughtful answers to the quandaries of our day.”

Floating Image
Background Image

Dean Yolanda Pierce

Uncivil Good Trouble event information, a piece of the art from the exhibit, and a picture of Ashley Seay

2024 Antoinette Brown Lecture : Can Surrogacy be Feminist? How about Christian?


Event Registration Link:

to be delivered by

Grace Y. Kao, Ph.D.

Professor of Ethics ,Bishop Roy I. Sano and Kathleen A. Thomas-Sano Professor of Pacific and Asian American Theologies Claremont School of Theology


Monday, March 4, 2024 Vanderbilt Divinity School The Space 7:00 pm

“Celebrating 50 Years of Antoinette Brown Lectures” Exhibit

March 4, 2024

Central & Divinity Libraries Building, Second Floor Gallery

Preview 2:00 - 4:00 pm, Exhibit Opening and Antoinette Brown Lecture Reception: 8:00 pm

Description: While statistically the least common and most controversial way of bringing children into the world, surrogacy is nonetheless on the rise. Singles and couples who are involuntarily childless, facing secondary infertility, or in a same-sex relationship are increasingly commissioning women to become pregnant for them while many nations across the world are clamping down on the practice.

Opposition to surrogacy has created a situation of strange bedfellows, where leaders not ordinarily aligned on social issues including feminist icon Gloria Steinem and Pope Francis have publicly denounced this practice and called for its ban.

But is surrogacy truly incompatible with feminist or Christian commitments as their—and others’ fears and objections—suggest? Join Professor Kao, a feminist Christian and former surrogate, as she unpacks what is behind the societal discomfort with this method of family expansion and then offers a vision where surrogacy if conducted ethically can advance both feminist and Christian aims.

Bio:  Grace Y. Kao is Professor of Ethics, the Sano Chair in Pacific and Asian American Theology, and a founding co-director of the Center for Sexuality, Gender, and Religion at Claremont School of Theology. She was also the first Asian American woman to have been tenured and later promoted to full professor at her school. She is the author or co-editor of four books, including her most recent: My Body, Their Baby: A Progressive Christian Vision for Surrogacy, (Stanford University Press, 2023). In addition to teaching and keeping an active speaking schedule, Dr. Kao currently serves as an Associate Editor of the Journal of Religious Ethics and as a Board member in two Asian Pacific Islander scholarly organizations: the Pacific, Asian, and North American Asian Women in Theology and Ministry (PANAAWTM) network and the Asian Pacific American Religions Research Initiative (APARRI). She is the daughter of Taiwanese immigrants and a lay member of the Presbyterian Church (USA) who keeps a home with her spouse, two biracial sons, and pandemic cat. You can read more about her and her work at 

Upcoming Events at VDS

More Events