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Department of Religious Studies

Our People

Stephanie Y. Mitchem

Title: Professor
Interim Director, Women's and Gender Studies Program
Department: Religious Studies
College of Arts and Sciences
Phone: 803-466-4669
Office: Close-Hipp 509
Stephanie Y. Mitchem

I am an educator, author, feminist/womanist with a focus on interdisciplinarity. In my research and writing, I utilize anthropology, history, cultural studies, and women’s and gender studies. I aim to understand our contemporary lives and to engage my students in these discussions.

My work in religious studies provides a space for consideration of social and intellectual history. Religious studies is a discipline that crosses multiple disciplines to give us a more complete focus on the world, our nation, our region, and ourselves. I utilize multiple disciplines since religions are social institutions that impact and influence our lives. Race, sex, gender, class, nationality and region all complicate these understandings!

Current research foci:
  • African American/Diasporan religions
  • Human rights
  • The complexities of interdisciplinarity
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. (Rowman and Littlefield, 2019)

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 presentations:

January 22, 2021, Speaker at online faculty forum for instructors of the course, “The Good Life: Ethics and Contemporary Moral Problems,” Villanova University

December 4, 2020, Invited web Presentation, “Democracy Now,” American Academy of Religion Conference

November 12, 2020, Invited web presentation, “Race, Religion, and Spiritual Resilience,” Martin Springer Institute, Northern Arizona University

October 27, 2020, Invited web Presentation, Religion and Public Life, Rice University

August 12, 2020, Invited web presentation, American Academy of Religion Webinar on anti-racist teaching

November 8-9, 2019, invited luncheon speaker and workshop presenter, Sankofa Institute, Oblate School of Theology, San Antonio, TX

October 20, 2019, Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, Columbia, SC, invited speaker, “Identity, Difference and Reconciliation as It Relates to Gender”

February 22, 2019, “Honoring the Work of African Americans,” invited keynote, Morris Center for Lowcountry Heritage, Ridgeland, SC 

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 Spirituality's: 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


Ori Counseling Services and Ile Aresa Diaspora to Africa Cultural Exchange for the Arts and Sciences, November 2019, November 2020, and November 2021

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

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.