Emily D. Crews


Emily D. Crews is the Executive Director of the Marty Center. She oversees its operations and its relationship to its host institution, the University of Chicago Divinity School. In collaboration with its staff and faculty co-directors, she sets the research and programming agenda of the Marty Center. She also acts as its public representative and leads its partnerships with collaborators across the University, the city of Chicago, and beyond.

Emily joined the Marty Center as Assistant Director in 2022, after teaching at the University of Alabama and the University of Chicago. As Assistant Director she managed the research agenda of the Center, as well as its partnerships with media organizations. She also piloted the Center's inaugural Author Talks series, a collaboration with the Seminary Co-op Bookstore; led its Junior Fellows Program and Public Religion Residency Fellowships; and conceived and ran its capstone conference on Religion and Reproductive Politics. 

A graduate of the University of Chicago Divinity School's PhD program in the History of Religions, Emily is a scholar of Christianities in Africa and the United States. Her scholarly research explores the ways that people's religious lives are connected to their ideas about gender, race, and the body. She is especially interested in how Christian communities and individuals think and behave vis a vis reproductive issues like pregnancy, miscarriage, abortion, childbirth, and motherhood, and how those issues shape their perspectives on what it means to be a good religious person.

Emily is the co-editor of Remembering Jonathan Z. Smith: A Career and Its Consequence (with Russell McCutcheon, 2020) and African Diaspora Religions in 5 Minutes (with Curtis J. Evans, forthcoming 2024). She has published scholarly articles in Method and Theory in the Study of Religion, Religion and Theology, and numerous edited volumes, as well as articles for the public in Sightings and The Local Palate. She was recently a scholar-consultant on the Court Theatre’s production of The Gospel at Colonus.