Elise Edwards, Ph.D.

Elise Edwards, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
High Res Photo

Assistant Professor

  • Ph.D. in Religion, Claremont Graduate University (Specialization in Theology, Ethics, and Culture)
  • M.T.S., John Leland Center for Theological Studies
  • M.Arch., Florida A&M University
  • B.S., cum laude, Florida A&M University (Architectural Studies)

Elise Edwards is a native of Maryland, but she moved to Waco to begin her teaching career at Baylor in fall 2013.   Dr. Edwards teaches courses in Christian ethics and theology in Baylor’s Department of Religion.  She earned her Ph.D. in Religion at Claremont Graduate University in California, where she studied Theology, Ethics, and Culture.  Prior to pursuing a Ph.D. in theology, Dr. Edwards worked as an architect in Washington D.C. and she still maintains her license to practice architecture.  She earned her Bachelor of Science and Master of Architecture degrees at Florida A&M University, and a Master of Theological Studies at the John Leland Center for Theological Studies, a Baptist seminary.  In her architectural career, Dr. Edwards focused on college and university buildings, which is now where she spends most of her days teaching and doing research. Her research is interdisciplinary, moving between fields of theology, ethics, architectural theory, and aesthetics to examine issues of civic engagement and to question how Christian beliefs and commitments are expressed publicly. As a black feminist, Dr. Edwards focuses her research on cultural expressions by, for, and about women and marginalized communities. She is working on her first book, Building Justice: Theological Commitments in Architectural Design, which is about Christian values in architecture.  In the classroom, Dr. Edwards strives to help her students realize the diversity of perspectives within Christian thought and to improve their critical thinking and writing skills.  Through deliberative dialogue and contemplative exercises, they dive into difficult and complex topics.  She serves the local community and broader academic community through numerous leadership roles in Creative Waco, the American Academy of Religion, the Society of Christian Ethics, and her local Baptist church.

Academic Interests and Research

Christian Ethics and Theology, Theology and the Arts, Feminist Theology and Practice, Architectural Theory, Contextual and Liberation Theologies, Black Feminism and Womanism, Moral Agency, Religion in the Public Sphere

Academic Publications

Building Justice: Theological Commitments in Architectural Design, Lexington Books, (forthcoming).

“Let’s Imagine Something Different”: Spiritual Principles in Contemporary African American Justice Movements and Their Implications for the Built Environment” in Religions 2017 Vol. 8 (9), Special Issue: "Race and Religion: New Approaches to African American Religions"

“When the Law does not Secure Justice or Peace: Requiem and Aesthetic Response” in The Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics 35.2, Fall/Winter 2015

“Re-imagining Creation as Creative Activity: Possibilities for Women's Empowerment through Aesthetic Agency” in Christian Doctrines for Global Gender Justice, Jenny Daggers and Grace Ji-Sun Kim (eds.), Palgrave Macmillan, June 2015

“Television, Social Networking, and Cultural Criticism: Alternative Methodologies for Feminist Scholarship” in Feminism and Religion in the 21st Century: Technology, Dialogue, and Expanding Borders, Rosemary Radford Ruether and Gina Messina-Dysert (eds.), Routledge, October 2014

“The Jazz Aesthetic as a Model for Theological Discourse” in ARTS Magazine, A Journal of the Arts in Religious and Theological Studies, Online Issue 22:4, Fall 2011

Professional Awards/Activities/Grants and Fellowships

Co-chair, Religion and Cities Unit, American Academy of Religion (AAR)

Society of Christian Ethics (SCE) African-American Working Group and Interest Group, Women’s Caucus, Referee for Journal of Society of Christian Ethics

Project Director, “Next Steps: The Wabash Teaching Initiative at Baylor University” grant from The Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Religion and Theology (Fall 2017-Spring 2019)

Faculty Fellow, Baylor University Institute for Oral History, (Fall 2018- Spring 2019)

Intergroup Dialogue Facilitation and Public Deliberation Training (Spring 2019-Fall 2018)

Baylor University Faculty Senate (Fall 2014- Spring 2018)

“A Pedagogy for Reflective Christian Social Ethics,” Wabash Center 2016 Summer Fellowship (2016)

Wabash Center Teaching and Learning Workshop for Pre-Tenure Religion Faculty of African Descent, 2015-2016

Courses Taught at Baylor
  • REL 1350 The Christian Heritage
  • REL 3390 Christian Ethics
  • REL 4395 Bioethics
  • REL 4399 Senior Seminar