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Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences

M. Shawn Copeland

theology department


M. Shawn Copeland


Stokes N341
Boston College
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467

Phone: 617-552-1385
Fax: 617-552-0794

Office Hours


Ph.D., Boston College/Andover Newton Theological School

Biographical Summary

From 1994 to 2003, Copeland was associate professor of systematic theology at Marquette University; from 1989 to 1994, she taught at Yale University Divinity School. From 1994 through 2005, she taught systematic theology regularly in the degree program at the Institute for Black Catholic Studies, Xavier University of Louisiana, New Orleans.

Research Interests

Her research interests converge around issues of theological and philosophical anthropology and political theology, as well as African and African–derived religious and cultural experience and African-American intellectual history.


Theology and the Body
Political Theology
Black Theology
Challenge of Justice

Professional Activities and Awards

Copeland is a former Convenor of the Black Catholic Theological Symposium (BCTS) and a former president (2003-2004) of the Catholic Theological Society of America (CTSA). She is an honorary member of Alpha Sigma Nu and the recipient of Barry University’s Yves Congar Award for Excellence in Theology (2000) as well as honorary degrees form Catholic Theological Union (2009), Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley (2007), Holy Names College (2002), and Emmanuel College (1989). In 2009, she received the Distinguished Scholar Award from the Black Religious Scholars Group.

Recent Publications

The author of more than 80 articles, reviews, and book chapters; her more recent publications include:

Enfleshing Freedom: Body, Race, and Being (Fortress Press, 2010).

The Subversive Power of Love: The Vision of Henriette Delille: The Madeleva Lecture in Spirituality (Paulist Press, 2009).

Uncommon Faithfulness: The Black Catholic Experience. With LaReine-Marie Mosely and Albert Raboteau (Orbis Books, 2009).

Selected Publications Since 2004

"The Black Subject and Postmodernism: ‘What Did I Do to Be so Black and Blue.’" Bulletin of Ecumenical Theology 18 (2006): 93-110.

“A Thinking Margin: The Womanist Movement as Critical Cognitive Praxis,” 226-235, in Deeper Shades of Purple: Womanism in Religion and Society. Ed. Stacy Floyd-Thomas. New York University Press, 2006.

“The Church Is Marked by Suffering,” 212-216, in The Many Marks of the Church. Eds. William Madges and Michael J. Daley. New London, CT: Twenty-Third Publications, 2006.

“The Power of Difference: Understanding, Appreciating, Critiquing Difference.” The Ecumenist, 43, 2 (Spring 2006): 1-10.

“Disturbing Aesthetics of Race.” Journal of Catholic Social Thought 3, 1 (Winter 2006): 17-27.

“Body, Race, and Being: Theological Anthropology in the Context of Performing and Subverting Eucharist,” 97-101, 103-113, 115-116, in Constructive Theology: A Contemporary Approach to Classical Themes. Eds. Serene Jones and Paul Lakeland. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress, 2005.

“Political Theology as Interruptive.” CTSA Proceedings, 59 (November 2004): 71-82.

“A Theologian in the Factory: Toward a Theology of Social Transformation in the United States,” 20-46, 126-131, in Spirit in the Cities: Searching for Soul in the Urban Landscape. Ed. Kathryn Tanner. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress, 2004.