Faculty - Todne Thomas Chipumuro
Todne Thomas Chipumuro, Assistant Professor
Area of expertise
Caribbean, U.S. South, relatedness, religion and sociality, diasporic religion, anthropology of Christianity
Contact InformationEmail: Todne Thomas Chipumuro
Phone: (802) 656-0230 Office Hours Fall 2016: Wednesday 12:00-2:00pm and by appointment Office Address: 481 Main Street, Rm 202
Professor Chipumuro is centrally interested in the study of black Atlantic religious movements. She received her B.A. in Anthropology and Africana Studies at Cornell University and her M.A. and Ph.D in Socio-Cultural Anthropology from the University of Virginia. Her research examines the ways in which ideals of sacred sociality and diasporic consciousness shape the religious networks forged by the members of a West Indian and African American evangelical congregation located in the Atlanta metropolitan area. In addition to providing a closer look into how black evangelicals understand their connections to the sacred and one another, her work compels a reconsideration of kinship as a spiritual phenomenon and provides a dynamic portrait of the changing geographies and religious formations of the U.S. South in a globalizing world. Among her other interests is an attention to how discourses, rituals, and practices of spiritual kinship infuse the connections and ruptures of evangelical Protestant religious worlds. This has lead her to apply her abiding interest in evangelical sociality in new ways to explore the ways in which notions of spiritual kinship were implicated in the Eddie Long sex abuse case and to begin investigating the virtual intimacies created by evangelicals through social media.
“As an anthropologist I have found the discipline’s abiding interest in kinship and relatedness to be a fruitful opening to study the social dimensions of religious experience as well as the connections mediating Afro-diasporic social institutions. In my work, I have sought to balance the intensive relational examinations encouraged by kinship studies with the observations of black feminists and feminist anthropologists that kinship fundamentally engenders relationships of power. As a result, I have used my research and teaching to uncover the ways in which “family” and “community” emerge as complex, contested, and situated phenomena rather than natural entities. In my courses on Caribbean and American religions and kinship, I have challenged students to re-think their ideas about the histories, boundaries, and principles of social membership. I have also mentored students on how to produce independent research projects using digital media, and I have been invigorated by the quality and creativity of their final products. I look forward to translating those techniques in my work with UVM students in the coming semesters and hopefully opening up our classroom conversations to the broader university community.”