Todne Thomas, an anthropologist who specializes in religion, race, and kinship, has been named Assistant Professor of African American Religions at Harvard Divinity School and a Suzanne Young Murray Assistant Professor at Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, effective July 1.

Thomas is currently Assistant Professor of Religion at the University of Vermont, a position she has held since 2013. She has a Ph.D. in sociocultural anthropology from the University of Virginia.

“I am very excited to join the Harvard community,” said Thomas. “The dynamic scholarship and social engagements undertaken by HDS faculty and students are genuinely inspiring and create a rich catalytic environment for research and teaching that I am eager to enter. I look forward to translating my interests in religion, race, sacred sociality, and space into conversations that can enhance the intellectual culture of HDS, the multidisciplinary Radcliffe community, and the University writ large.”

Thomas’s current book project, based on extensive ethnographic work in Atlanta, Georgia, attempts to show how both traditionally African American and more recent Afro-Caribbean immigrant churches appeal to (or obscure) the interwoven nature of race and kinship to navigate racial discrimination.

“In Todne Thomas we discovered an incredible anthropologist of religion,” said Plummer Professor of Christian Morals and Pusey Minister in the Memorial Church Jonathan Walton, who chaired the faculty search committee. “Her research is as expansive as it is innovative, theoretically sophisticated as it is vital to broader conversations in our society.”

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