- Associate Professor of Theology
- (617) 358-1735
- B.A. Houghton College
M.Div. Princeton Theological Seminary
S.T.M. Yale Divinity School
Ph.D. Emory University
A constructive theologian, Shelly Rambo engages the textual tradition of Christianity with particular attention to postmodern literary analysis and criticism. Trained as both a systematic and constructive theologian, she is interested in how classical themes in the Christian tradition interact with and inform contemporary discourses around suffering, trauma, and violence. Her book, Spirit and Trauma: A Theology of Remaining (Westminster John Knox Press, 2010), forges a theology of the Spirit through engagements with postmodern biblical hermeneutics, a theology of Holy Saturday, and contemporary trauma theory. Her current research explores the significance of resurrection wounds in the Christian tradition in connection to contemporary discourses about wounding, both in popular culture and in the study of trauma.Her teaching and research interests include: feminist theory and theology, postmodern theology, pneumatology, and trauma studies. Through a series of faculty grants funded by the Center for Practical Theology and the Lilly Endowment, she has developed and presented workshops that offer religious leaders critical tools for thinking theologically about trauma.
She received her PhD in theology from Emory University’s Graduate Division of Religion in 2004, as well as master’s degrees from Princeton Theological Seminary and Yale University.
Constructive Christian Theology, Christian Thought, Philosophical Theology, Feminist Theory, Feminist Theology, Systematic Theology, Theological Aesthetics, Theodicy and Trauma, Religion
and Postmodernism, Comparative Literature and Religion.
The Online Theology and Trauma Resources website will be available Fall 2011.
Spirit and Trauma: A Theology of Remaining, Westminster John Knox Press, 2010.
“Becoming Human: En-Spiriting Reformed Identity,” in Complexifying Reformed Identity. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, forthcoming.
“Julian of Norwich,” in Cambridge Dictionary of Christian Theology. Edited by David Fergusson, Karen Kilby, Ian McFarland, and Iain Torrance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, February 2011.
“Julian of Norwich: Witness to the Wounded,” in Empire and the Christian Tradition: New Readings of Classical Theologians. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, Fall 2007.
“Haunted (by the) Gospel: Theology, Trauma, and Literary Theory in the 21st Century,” in special issue of PMLA, “Literary Criticism in the Twenty-First Century,” PMLA, forthcoming October
“Trauma and Faith: Reading the Narrative of the Hemorrhaging Woman,” in International Journal of Practical Theology, vol. 13, 2009, 1-25.
“Introduction,” (Literature and Religion in the Aftermath: Reading (Sacred) Texts in Light of Trauma), in Studies in the Literary Imagination. 41 no. 1, August 2008.
“Beyond Redemption?: Reading Cormac McCarthy’s The Road after the End of the World,” Literature and Religion in the Aftermath: Reading (Sacred) Texts in Light of Trauma in Studies in the Literary
Imagination. 41 no. 1, August 2008.
“Saturday in New Orleans: Rethinking Spirit in the Aftermath of Trauma,” Review and Expositor, Vol. 105. No. 3, Summer 2008.
“Between Death and Life: Trauma, Divine Love, and the Witness of Mary Magdalene,” Studies in Christian Ethics. 18 (August 2005), pp. 7-21.
Review of Jennifer Beste. God and the Victim: Traumatic Intrusions on Grace and Freedom, in Modern Theology, 25 no 3 July 2009, pp. 526-528.
Review of Wendy Farley. The Wounding and Healing of Desire: Weaving Heaven and Earth in Theology Today, 65 no 1 April 2008.
Review of Ordo: Bath, Word, Prayer, Table, ed. Dirk G. Lange and Dwight W. Vogel, Worship 81 no 4 July 2007, p 364-365.
Review of Sharon Welch, After Empire: The Art and Ethos of Enduring Peace in International Journal of Practical Theology, 11 no 1 June 2007, pp. 158-159.
PRESENTATIONS AND GUEST LECTURES
Respondent, “Plenary Panel: Feminist and Womanist Practical Theology,” Association of Practical Theology, April 10, 2010, Boston, MA.
“The Role of Trauma Healing in Conflict Transformation,” guest lecture in the Integrative Seminar in Conflict Transformation, Boston University School of Theology, March 15, 2010.
“Where is Jesus Now?,” College Park United Methodist Church, College Park, FL, December 27, 2009.
“Haunting Feminist Theology,” Theology as a Living Discourse: The Future of Feminist Practical Theology, hosted by the Center for Practical Theology, Boston University School of Theology,
October 22, 2009.
“Perilous Steps: Rethinking the Nature of Life in the Midst of Death,” for the Postmodernity, Theology, and the Bible section, American Academy of Religion, November 7, 2009.
“Practicing Theology in the Aftermath of Trauma: How Religious Communities Can Participate in Trauma Healing, Boston University alumni lectures, Berkeley, CA, June 14, 2009; BU in LA, Los
Angeles, CA, June 15, 2009.
“Dealing with Trauma,” workshop co-sponsored by Boston City Mission and Boston University’s Center for Practical Theology, Boston, MA, May 2, 2009.
“Preparing Churches to Receive Returning Military Personnel,” 2009 Annual Gathering Event, JUSTPEACE, the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry and the General Board of
Discipleship, Nashville, TN., April 1-2, 2009.
“Teaching for Life Abundant,” presenter, conference Theological Education for Life Abundant: Christian Practical Theology and Theological education, sponsored by Valparaiso Project on the
Education and Formation of People in Faith, February 26-28, 2009.
“Theologians Engaging Popular Culture,” guest lecture in “Theology and Popular Culture,” Boston University School of Theology, February 2, 2009.
“Negotiating Difficult Title: Evangelical, Feminist, and Liberal,” guest lecture at Anna Howard Shaw Center, November 20, 2008.
“Practicing Theology in Contexts of Trauma: Post-Katrina-type Disasters, Military Chaplaincy, Youth Violence, Refugees and other Contexts,” Religion and Conflict Transformation Annual
Lectures, Boston Theological Institute and Boston University School of Theology, September 26-27, 2008.
“Theological Aesthetics at the Margins of the Disciplines,” Theological Aesthetics conference, Yale Institute of Sacred Music, Westbrook, CT, May 30, 2008.
“What is the Theological Grounding for Drawing an Ethical Line in the Sand? Conversations between Evangelicals and Progressives,” Constructive Theology Workgroup, Vanderbilt
University, Nashville, April 19, 2008.
“Literary Approaches of Religion,” Moderator, Graven Images: Religion in Comic Books and Graphic Novels Conference, Boston University, April 12, 2008.
“Women in the Shadows of Male Theologians,” Boston University School of Theology, April 1, 2008.
“Conference Presentations: From Proposals to Performance,” Th.D. Colloqium, Boston University School of Theology, March 28, 2008.
“When Redemption Fails: Reading Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and the Gospel of John at the End of the World,” public lecture, The Luce Program in Scripture and Literary Arts, Boston
University, February 7, 2008.
“After the Storm,” chapel sermon, Boston University School of Theology, January 16, 2008.
“Pedagogy and Power: Teaching toward Transformation in Feminist/Womanist Theory and Theology,” Presider, joint session of Feminist Theory and Religious Reflection group and
Womanist Approaches to Religion and Society, American Academy of Religion, November 2007.
“Witnessing Breath between Death and Life,” Women’s Studies in Religion Annual Lecture series, Harvard Divinity School, March 22, 2007.
“The Fierce Urgency of Now,” sermon, Church of the Covenant, Boston, MA, March 11, 2007.
“Holy Saturday and Trauma,” Women’s Studies in Religion, Harvard Divinity School, March 8, 2007.
“John Caputo’s Theology of the Cross Rethinking Philosophy and Theology in Postmodernity,” Book Review Session: John Caputo, Philosophy and Theology, Society of Biblical Literature,
November 19, 2006.
“Beyond Binaries: New Feminist Perspectives on Christian Themes,” Presider, Feminist Theory and Religious Reflection group, American Academy of Religion, November 18, 2006.
“Trauma and “The Middle Day” (Death in God: Trinitarian Challenges),” guest lecture, Yale Divinity School, November 1, 2006.
“Trauma and Witness: Reading the Narrative of the Hemorrhaging Woman,” public lecture, Women in the World Conference, The Anna Howard Shaw Center at Boston University School of
Theology, March 16, 2006.
“Feminist Theology as Practical Theology,” Pro-seminar in Practical Theology, Boston University School of Theology, November 2, 2005.
“Methodology in the Theological Disciplines: The Parish Closings Project,” joint presentation with Dr. Nancy Ammerman, Research in the Theological Disciplines, Boston University School of
Theology, October 25, 2005
“Researching in the Fields of Theology and Ethics,” Faculty Roundtable, Boston University School of Theology, March 3, 2005.
“Where Have All the Dominant Theologians Gone?” presentation to the Boston University School of Theology faculty, Cultural Competency Colloquium, February 25, 2005.
“Divine Love and Grace: Theology at the Intersection of Trauma Studies,” public lecture at Yale Divinity School, October 2004.
“Theological Method,” guest lecture in Research in the Theological Disciplines, Boston University School of Theology, November 2004.
“Pneumatology from the Shadows,” Lecture delivered at Boston University School of Theology, February 2004.
“Witnessing Middleness: Mary Magdalene Outside the Tomb,” Lecture series, Psychoanalytic Studies Program, Emory University, January 2004.
“The Ethics of Theological Reflection: Theologians Occupying the Middle Space,” Theology and Religious Reflection Group, National Meeting of the American Academy of Religion, November 2003.
“Negotiating Death and Life in Six Feet Under,” Religion and Popular Culture Group, National Meeting of the American Academy of Religion, November 2003.
“Fragmented Memory: A Theological Response to Trauma,” Western Region, American Academy of Religion, March 2002.
“Abandoned in Time? Reconfiguring Time in Traumatic Survival,” Feminist Theory and Religious Reflection Group, National Meeting of the American Academy of Religion, November 2000.
“The Power to Listen: Bearing Witness and the Challenge of Hearing,” Panel on the Work of Rebecca Chopp, Southeastern Region, American Academy of Religion, March 2000.
FELLOWSHIPS AND HONORS
BU School of Theology Student Association Teaching Award, Spring 2008, Spring 2010.
Wabash Summer Research Fellowship, Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion, May 2006-August 2006.
Faculty Fellow, 2005-2006 Workshop on Teaching and Learning for Pre-Tenure Faculty in Theological Schools, Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion, 2005-
Dean’s Teaching Fellowship, Emory University, 2003-2004
Dissertation Research Grant, Emory University, 2001, 2002
Emory University Doctoral Fellowship, 2000-2004