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Howard Harrod Lecture

Vanderbilt University Divinity School announces the 2017 Harrod Lecture

to be delivered by

Marcia Riggs

Marcia Y. Riggs, Ph.D.
J. Erskine Love Professor of Ethics, Columbia Theological Seminary


And God Said. . . What? Creation and Redemption in a World of Global Warming

Thursday, November 9, 2017
7:00 P.M.
Reading Room

Womanist ethicist Marcia Y. Riggs invites you into a dialogue grappling with the question:  Whose redemption is at stake? Using her religious ethical mediating method, Dr. Riggs use poetry, science fiction, music, and biblical insights to make a case for socially responsive moral agency amid the omnipresence of violence in a 21st century world.

About the Harrod Lecturer

Dr. Marcia Y. Riggs has an undergraduate degree in Religion from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, a Master of Divinity degree from Yale University Divinity School and a PhD in ethics from Vanderbilt University.

She is often engaged as a lecturer and preacher and has published articles on womanist ethics, moral education, and public policy.  She is a recognized authority on the black woman’s club movement of the nineteenth century, the subject of her first book, Awake, Arise, and Act!: A Womanist Call for Black Liberation. Her other books are Can I Get a Witness?: Prophetic Religious Voices of African American Women, an Anthology, and Plenty Good Room: Black Women versus Male Power in the Black Church and she is a co-editor of Ethics That Matters: African, Caribbean, and African American Sources. A theological commentary on Ruth and Esther is forthcoming.

In April of 2006, Dr. Riggs was inaugurated as the J. Erskine Love Professor of Christian Ethics at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia.  She teaches in the Master of Divinity, Doctor of Ministry, and the Master of Theology Programs at the seminary.  Prior to her appointment at Columbia, she taught at the Theological School, Drew University in Madison, New Jersey.

Dr. Riggs has been awarded a 2017-2018 Luce Fellowship from the Association of Theological Schools; her research project is entitled: “Envisioning and Practicing Beloved Community in the 21st Century.” She has receivedthe “Distinction in Theological Education” Award from Yale Divinity School in 2012, the Alumnae Achievement Award from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College in 2006, and a faculty development grant (2003-2004) and a study leave grant (2004-2005) from the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning.

Dr. Riggs has served on the Editorial Boards for the Encyclopedia on Women and Religion in North America, the Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics, and the Feasting on the Word Lectionary Commentary Series. She has also spent several years chairing committees in the American Academy of Religion, the Association of Theological Schools, and The Fund for Theological Education (currently, the Forum for Theological Exploration). 

Dr. Riggs is currently developing and writing a book on an ethical theory and practice called religious ethical mediation.  Religious ethical mediation prepares leaders to address religion, conflict, and violence in a transformative manner. She was an ordained minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church for fifteen years and is currently ordained by the Hillside International Truth Center.

About the Harrod Lecture 

The Howard L. Harrod Lecture was established to honor Harrod, the Oberlin Alumni Professor of Social Ethics and Sociology of Religion, who taught for more than 30 years at Vanderbilt. Harrod worked extensively in environmental ethics and activism and was an advocate for new ways of understanding the relationships of humans with the animal and natural worlds. Past Harrod Lectures have been delivered by Catherine Keller, Ray Suarez, David Loy, Tom Dillehay, Mark D. Jordan, and Norman K. Gottwald, Melissa Snarr, and Dennis Dickerson.