Tamara E. Lewis Appointed as Instructor in Church History

The Rev. Tamara E. Lewis will be joining the faculty of Perkins School of Theology as instructor in Church History effective Aug. 1, 2013.
Tamara E. Lewis, Instructor in Church History, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University (SMU)
The Rev. Tamara E. Lewis

An ordained United Methodist minister and clergy member of the Tennessee Annual Conference, Rev. Lewis is scheduled to receive the Ph.D. at Vanderbilt University in Nashville in December 2013.  

Rev. Lewis earned an M.A. in Church History in 2011, and the M.Div. in 2000, both from Vanderbilt. She earned an M.A. in English from Tennessee State University in 1999 and a B.A. in political science from the University of Central Arkansas in 1994.

Her groundbreaking research examines how theological beliefs shaped racial ideologies in late 16th- and 17th-century England. Rev. Lewis’s dissertation, “To Wash a Blackamoor White: The Theological Construction of Race in Early Modern England,” analyzes perspectives about theological anthropology and skin color differences in relation to England’s burgeoning participation in the transatlantic human trade, slavery, and colonialism.

“Tamara Lewis is engaged in groundbreaking research, examining issues in church life in England on the eve of the renewal movement that John Wesley founded,” said Perkins Dean William B. Lawrence. “After considering nearly sixty candidates for the position, she emerged as an extraordinarily promising young scholar who has a profound commitment to the church as we express it in Perkins’ mission statement—to prepare women and men for faithful leadership in Christian ministry.”  

She was awarded departmental scholarships from 2006-2013 from the Vanderbilt University Graduate Department of Religion; was a participant and fellow in the Wabash Center Workshop on Teaching and Learning, March 2012; was named a dissertation fellow by The Fund for Theological Education; and was a Woman of Color Scholar—a program of the United Methodist Church’s General Board of Higher Education and Ministry— from 2006-2011.  In addition, she received the Bettye R. Ford Graduate Student Service Award from the Vanderbilt Graduate Department of Religion and Divinity in May 2009, and was awarded the Kelly Miller Smith Scholarship from 1998-2000 by the Vanderbilt Divinity School.

Within the field of Church History, Rev. Lewis will teach foundational and advanced courses at Perkins School of Theology on the history of Christianity, with particular emphasis on the Reformation.  In addition, she will teach in the M.A. and Ph.D. curriculum of the Graduate Program in Religious Studies at Southern Methodist University’s Dedman College.

In reflecting on the addition of Rev. Lewis to the faculty at Perkins School of Theology and Southern Methodist University, Dean Lawrence added, “I look forward to introducing her not only to our students, alumni, and friends, but also to the wider community.”


Perkins School of Theology, founded in 1911, is one of five official University-related schools of theology of The United Methodist Church. Degree programs include the Master of Divinity, Master of Sacred Music, Master of Theological Studies, Master of Church Ministries, and Doctor of Ministry, as well as the Ph.D., in cooperation with The Graduate Program in Religious Studies at SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.