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Historic Promotion of Dr. Wonhee Anne Joh to Full Professor, The First Korean American Female Professor in Systematic Theology in the U.S.

May 24, 2017
Dr. Wonhee Anne Joh

To read this announcement in Korean, click here.

The Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary Board of Trustees unanimously approved the promotion of Dr. Wonhee Anne Joh from associate to full professor of systematic theology at their bi-annual meeting on May 11, 2017. This historic promotion makes Joh the first Korean American female full professor of systematic theology in the United States and the first Asian American female to earn full professor in the seminary’s 162-year history.

“I’m deeply honored by this affirmation and look forward to shaping the future of theological education at Garrett. I am privileged to be part of this faculty and with colleagues I regard with high respect as teachers and scholars,” said Joh upon approval of her promotion. “We live in a time with normalized and routinized forms of violence of one kind or another against lives already made precarious often through colonial legacies. We also live in a time in which war has become perpetual. Christians must speak out against various forms of violence and become embodied believers of peace-making in this world.”

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. Joh joined the faculty of Garrett-Evangelical in July 2009.

Dr. Nancy Bedford, Georgia Harkness Professor of Applied Theology at Garrett-Evangelical, served on the search committee that invited Joh to join the faculty in 2009, Joh’s tenure committee in 2011, and now on her promotion committee. “As such, I had the opportunity not only to read Dr. Joh’s work and converse with her about it, but also to experience first-hand the profound appreciation for her scholarship, her dedication, and her mentorship expressed by a wide range of colleagues, former and current students, and indeed many other people across the world. I feel blessed indeed to count her as a colleague and friend, and to benefit from her keen insight and presence.

As a faculty member of Garrett-Evangelical, Joh has served on numerous committees and as the director of the Asian/Asian American Ministries Center. Under her leadership the Center has become an integral part of seminary providing workshops, conferences, and guest speakers who engage in various disciplines that intersect with Asian and Asian American theologies. Joh is a highly sought out advisor for students in the doctor of philosophy program. Her work as a doctoral advisor and teacher 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 from an Asian background. Joh is also an affiliate faculty member in the Departments of Religious Studies and Asian American Studies at Northwestern University.

Joh 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 book, Critical Theology Against U.S. Militarism in Asia: Decolonization and Deimperialization (Palgrave Macmilian) was co-edited with Dr. Nami Kim and published in 2016. She currently has two forthcoming books, Trauma, Affect and Race: A Postcolonial Theology of Hope (Fordham University Press, 2018) 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.

At the age of nine, Joh immigrated to the United States from Seoul, Korea with her family. She grew up in Chicago during the 1980s before moving to the Northeast in the 1990s. She enjoys cooking, reading, hiking, music, gardening, photography and reading fiction. For her literature and the arts are critical dimensions to any theological reflection.