Loyola University Chicago

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Loyola University Chicago

Institute of Pastoral Studies

Faculty & Staff

Melissa Browning, Ph.D.

Title/s: Graduate Program Director, M.A. in Social Justice and Community Development

Office #: Lewis Towers 634 Water Tower Campus

Phone: 312-915-7457

E-mail: mbrowni@luc.edu

CV Link: Melissa Browning CV

External Webpage: www.melissabrowning.com


Ph.D. in Christian Ethics - Loyola University Chicago: 2011

M.Div. Baylor University: 2002, Magna Cum Laude 

Program Areas

Dr. Browning's work in social ethics is rooted in justice theories and feminist/liberationist approaches. Her primary specialties are sexual ethics and bioethics. She teaches classes in Foundations of Social Justice, Diversity and Equity, and Applied Research. 

Research Interests

Dr. Browning is an active researcher and has spent a good deal of time doing work in sub-Saharan Africa. She has completed five fieldwork projects, four of which were based in East Africa. These have focused on refugees and internally displaced peoples, street children in Kenya, HIV and AIDS, and abstinence education. Her most recent project focuses on the ways in which marriage has become an HIV/AIDS risk factor for women in East Africa. In this project, she builds on fieldwork completed in Mwanza, Tanzania where women living with HIV and AIDS were asked to re-imagine Christian marriage as a space of safety and health. The book coming out of this research, "When Marriage Becomes Risky: Reflections from Tanzania on Christian Marriage in an HIV Positive World," will be published by Lexington Books (Rowman and Littlefield) in 2013.

Dr. Browning also teaches the “Applied Research” course for the MA in Social Justice and Community Development program. In this course, she partners with students to research a topic in affecting local communities and then works with the students to publish their findings. 

Professional & Community Affiliations

African Association for the Study of Religions, Executive Committee

American Academy of Religion

National Women’s Studies Association 

Society of Christian Ethics, Co-Coordinator of the Fieldwork and Ethics working group


Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion Roundtable response on to ““Charting the Paradigm Shifts in HIV Research: The Contribution of Gender and Religion Studies” by Sarojini Nadar and Isabel Phiri. Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion. Fall 2012: 28.2, (forthcoming).

“Hanging out a Red Ribbon: Listening to Musa Dube’s Postcolonial Feminist Theology,” Journal of Race, Ethnicity, and Religion, 2011. http://raceandreligion.com/JRER/Volume_2_(2011).html

“Acting out Abstinence, Acting out Gender: Adolescent moral agency and abstinence education,” Theology and Sexuality, Vol. 16.2, 2011: 141-159.

Listening to Experience, Looking Towards Flourishing: Ethnography as a Global Feminist Theo/ethical Praxis” (article and film) with Edith Chamwama, Eunice Kamaara, Sussy Gumo Kurgat, Damaris Parsitau, Emily Reimer-Barry, Elisabeth Vasko, and Jeanine Viau, Practical Matters, Issue 3, Spring 2010.

“HIV/AIDS Prevention and Sexed Bodies: Rethinking Abstinence in Light of the African AIDS Pandemic,” Theology and Sexuality, Vol. 15.1, 2009: 27-46.

“Reexamining our Words, Reimagining our Policies: Undocumented Migration, Families, and the Moral Imagination,” Journal of Poverty, Vol. 13, 2009, 1-20. 

"The Goods and Evils of a Globalized Context: African and American Women Doing Theology," with Susan A. Ross and Elisabeth T. Vasko, Concilium International Journal of Theology, 2009/1.

Book Chapters

“Morality on the Streets: An Examination of the Beliefs and Moral Practice of Street Children in Light of Christianity and African Traditional Religions,” in Ethnography as Christian Theology and Ethics, Christian Scharen & Aana Marie Vigen, eds. Continuum, 2011.  

"Your Daughters Shall Prophesy (As Long as They Submit): Pentecostalism and Gender in Global Perspective." With Andrea Hollingsworth. In The Liberating Spirit: Pentecostals and Social Action in North America, ed. Michael Wilkinson and Steven M. Studebaker. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers (Pickwick), 2010.

 “What Africa Has to Teach America: Finding Ways to Increase Compassion and Reduce Stigma in Light of the African HIV and AIDS Pandemic,” book chapter being published in an upcoming “Religion in Africa” series, African Association for the Study of Religion (forthcoming).

Other Academic Publications

“Caring for Creation by Attending to Human Flourishing,” Christian Reflection: A Series in Faith and Ethics, July 2012.   

“Listening in the Classroom,” Christian Reflection: A Series in Faith and Ethics, April 2009.

“Hurry Up and Wait,” Africa ’05 Bound Journal. The Center for Christian Ethics, (Baylor University), Spring 2005


Institute of Pastoral Studies ยท 820 North Michigan Avenue, Lewis Towers 630, Chicago, IL 60611

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