Stephanie Mota Thurston is a PhD candidate at Princeton Theological Seminary and director of the Center for Theology, Women, and Gender. She eearned an MA in religion and ethics from Yale University Divinity School and a BA in politics and religious studies from Scripps College. She is currently a senior teaching fellow for Princeton Seminary’s Certificate of Theology and Ministry Program, overseeing the inside-outside prison cohort.
Her dissertation, titled Making Citizens in a Credential Society: Identities, Values, and Practices at Brooklyn High is an ethnographic study of moral and civic formation at a Title I public high school with a substantial and diverse immigrant student body. The dissertation situates her contemporary fieldwork within the historical contestation over the proper aims of public schooling in America. She argues, in part, that in spite of robust practices of democratic and moral formation and a commitment to culturally responsive (sustaining) pedagogy, credentialing for college and ultimately the workforce is the most salient feature of students’ own understanding of the purpose and value of schooling.
Her research and teaching interests include religion and politics, philosophical and theological social ethics, political theory and political theology. She is particularly interested in democratic and citizenship theory and practices in (religiously, linguistically, racially, ethnically) plural America. Thurston has taught and written on complicity and moral responsibility amid structural injustices and is especially interested in moral and political questions concerning housing and school segregation, prisons, and gendered institutional disparities. She is also committed to ethnography and qualitative methods for engaging religion, politics, social ethics, and theology. As an example, her forthcoming essay, “Engaging the Everyday in Womanist Ethics and Mujerista Theology,” locates the early contributions of black women and Latinas to the “ethnographic turn” in religious social ethics and moral theology.