Faculty Stories

Dr. Wonhee Anne Joh Named Director of Doctor of Philosophy Program

Dr. Wonhee Anne Joh
Dr. Wonhee Anne Joh

Dr. Wonhee Anne Joh, professor of theology and culture, has been named director of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary’s doctor of philosophy program. Joh will take over the position from Dr. Charles Cosgrove, professor emeritus of early Christian literature, who retired July 1, 2021.

The appointment marks yet another important and purposeful “first” for the seminary, as we celebrate the directorship of the first woman and Asian American for Garrett-Evangelical’s doctor of philosophy program. Fine leadership over the decades has allowed the program to produce successful graduates who have become scholars and teachers across the globe. Under Dr. Joh’s distinctive vision and care, the program will press forward with leading-edge formation of learned scholars and public intellectuals whose work will contribute to the common good of the church, the academy, and the world.

“Professor Anne Joh is a visionary scholar and thinker and is passionate about forming the next generation of theological educators,” said President Javier A. Viera. “I’m excited to see how the Garrett-Evangelical PhD program under her leadership will continue to serve the church and academy, as well as nurture and center voices and perspectives that have long been neglected by both. I welcome her to this new role and am grateful for the leadership and mentoring that she will provide.”

Joh is a respected scholar, teacher, and highly sought out advisor for students in Garrett-Evangelical’s doctor of philosophy program. Her work as a doctoral mentor and guide has extended beyond the seminary as well, working closely with the United Methodist Women of Color Doctoral Program; the Forum for Theological Exploration Doctoral Fellowship Program; the Pacific, Asian, and North American Asian Women in Theology and Ministry, a network of women focusing on doctoral students and women in ministry and theological education; and the Asian Theological Summer Institute, a one-week intensive mentoring for doctoral students of Asian descent.

“I’m honored to be part of our doctoral program,” said Joh. “This program continues to challenge theological scholarship in general by creatively and constructively reimagining and living into a different kind of a world. It’s exciting to envision a program committed to intellectual excellence and building internationalist solidarity committed to material and historical justice through religious and theological lens. Our students bring knowledge of their ancestors with them, are already intellectuals, leaders, and activists in the present moment, and they promise to be formidable participants in the larger movements of world-making otherwise. The pedagogical commitment of our program is inclusive, decolonial, and internationalist. Our faculty and our students are what make our program so significant in theological higher education and I’m looking forward to contributing further in its formation.”

Joh has served on numerous committees at Garrett-Evangelical and was most recently the director of the Center for Asian/Asian American Ministries. Under her leadership the Center has grown to become an integral part of seminary providing workshops, webinars, conferences, and guest speakers who engage in various disciplines that intersect with Asian and Asian American theologies. She is also an affiliate faculty member in the Departments of Religious Studies and Asian American Studies at Northwestern University.

An interdisciplinary theologian, Joh’s research and scholarship has focused on post/decolonialism, critical ethnic/race and Asian American studies, feminist, queer and affect theories, and constructive theology. She has written numerous articles on a wide range of theological and interdisciplinary subjects. Joh is the author of Heart of the Cross: A Postcolonial Christology (Westminster John Knox, 2006) and numerous chapters and articles. Her most recent co-edited books are titled Critical Theology Against U.S. Militarism in Asia: Decolonization and Deimperialization (Palgrave Macmilian, 2016) and Feminist Praxis Against U.S. Militarism (Palgrave Macmilian, 2020). She currently has two forthcoming books, Trauma, Affect and Race: A Postcolonial Theology of Hope (Fordham University Press) and In Proximity to the Other: A Postcolonial Theological Anthropology (Westminster John Knox Press).

In 2003, Joh received a doctor of philosophy in theological and philosophical studies from Drew University, a master of divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1992, and a bachelor of arts at North Central College with a double major in religious studies and English literature and a minor in political science in 1989. A popular lecturer, she has been invited to speak at conferences across the United States and in Canada, Korea, and Europe.

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, a graduate school of theology related to The United Methodist Church, was founded in 1853. Located on the campus of Northwestern University, the seminary serves more than 450 students from various denominations and cultural backgrounds, fostering an atmosphere of ecumenical interaction. Garrett-Evangelical creates bold leaders through master of divinity, master of arts, master of theological studies, doctor of philosophy, and doctor of ministry degrees. Its 4,500 living alumni serve church and society around the world.