Todne Thomas to lead 2019 February Meetings at MC

Todne Thomas to lead 2019 February Meetings at MC

Feb. 1, 2019

Dr. Todne Thomas, a sociocultural anthropologist and assistant professor of African American Religions at Harvard Divinity School, will be the guest speaker for Maryville College’s 2019 February Meetings, which will be held March 24.

The theme for this year’s February Meetings is “The Tie That Binds,” and Thomas will give a presentation titled “On Faithful Families and Families of Faith: The Collective Spirituality of Black Evangelicals.” The event, which is free and open to the public, will begin at 7 p.m. in the Clayton Center for the Arts’ Harold and Jean Lambert Recital Hall.

In collaboration with Afro-Caribbean and African American congregants, Thomas conducts ethnographic research on the racial, spatial, and familial dynamics of black Christian communities in the U.S. Conceptually, her work integrates critical race and kinship theories to understand the racial and moral scripts of evangelicalism and neoliberalism.

She has authored peer-reviewed articles for the Journal of Africana ReligionsAnthropology and Humanism, and the Journal of African American Studies. She has also co-edited New Directions in Spiritual Kinship: Sacred Ties across the Abrahamic Religions (2017) with Asiya Malik and Rose Wellman. Her current research examines the familial and spiritual experiences of black evangelicals and the neoliberal displacement of black sacred space.

 “Sometimes big social problems are so overwhelming that it seems impossible to make any progress, on racism, poverty, the intractable dilemmas around immigration, political disagreement and religious differences,” said the Rev. Dr. Anne McKee, campus minister at Maryville College. “So it may help us to focus on particular communities and what has sustained them in difficult passages. By learning their stories, we may find examples to follow in our day. Todne Thomas, by studying the strength of the Black church in the face of great adversity, helps illuminate the strength that can help people both survive difficult times and also make positive contributions to the world. I am confident that her words will both inspire and illuminate our journeys, no matter where our roads might lead.”

Held annually at the College since 1877, February Meetings have offered the College and local community an opportunity to come together to consider questions of faith and responsible living in the world. In years past, guest speakers and special music have been highlights of the condensed lecture series, which is open to all members of the College community, people in the area and visitors, including the College’s Board of Church Visitors.

For more information about February Meetings, contact McKee at 865.981.8299 or anne.mckee@maryvillecollege.edu.


Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the Fall 2018 semester is 1,154.