Dr. Anna Bialek To Join Danforth Center on Religion and Politics Faculty

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The John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University in St. Louis is pleased to welcome Anna F. Bialek, who will join the faculty as Assistant Professor of Religion and Politics. Currently a lecturer in the Religious Studies Program at Washington University in St. Louis, Bialek will join the Danforth Center on July 1, 2017.

“After a thorough and wide ranging search, our faculty rapidly and unanimously placed Dr. Bialek at the top of our list for this tenure track position,” said Professor Marie Griffith, John C. Danforth Distinguished Professor in the Humanities and Director of the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics.

Bialek’s research and teaching focus on contemporary religious ethics and political theory with an emphasis on feminist thought, Christian theology, and modern forms of power critique. Her first book project, “Vulnerability and Power: The Promise of Relational Ethics,” discusses vulnerability in contemporary ethics and politics. She will teach two undergraduate courses for the Center this fall, “Love and Reason” and “Solidarity and Silence: Religious Strategies in the Political Sphere.”

“Fannie is a teacher and scholar of tremendous depth and range in the area of religious ethics and political theory, already so mature that her Ph.D. advisor called her ‘simply one of the finest educators I have ever encountered, at any rank in the profession.’ Our vetting process has certainly borne out that claim,” Griffith remarked. “Fannie’s investigation into the valorization of power and desire for invulnerability that marks contemporary political regimes is a timely and urgent project. Her work offers alternative models of selfhood and political engagement that better incorporate conceptions of relationship, community, and an ethic of care.”

Bialek earned a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Brown University in 2016. She earned a bachelor’s degree in religion summa cum laude from Princeton University. Competitive fellowships from the American Association of University Women, the Cogut Center for the Humanities at Brown, and the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women at Brown have offered support for her research.

“My work is motivated by the need for better public vocabularies about vulnerability, threat, risk, and response in a time when we seem to be facing new kinds of political and ethical challenges. Our experience of vulnerability is changing, it seems, and our traditions of thought and discourse are often failing to account for our experiences. I believe that we need the substantial resources of religious and philosophical traditions to think in new ways about these issues,” Bialek noted.

“Part of this reimagining requires sustained dialogue between scholars of these traditions and practitioners in religious and political realms, from clergy to social workers to lawmakers and activists,” said Bialek. “I am thrilled to join an institution where such public engagement is part of the daily work of teaching and research, and where the interdisciplinary approach it requires is woven into the mission and composition of the faculty.”

The John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics was established in 2010 at Washington University in St. Louis. The Center serves as an open venue for fostering rigorous scholarship and informing broad academic and public communities about the intersections of religion and U.S. politics. The Center offers undergraduate courses and a minor in religion and politics, as well as a vibrant public event program.

For more information about the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University in St. Louis, visit the website at

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