AAR Member Spotlight

Margaret Kamitsuka

Margaret (Maggi) Kamitsuka is the Francis W. and Lydia L. Davis Professor Emeritus of Religion at Oberlin College, where she taught courses in gender and religion for over 20 years. She received her PhD in religious studies from Yale University and is the author of two books:Feminist Theology and the Challenge of Difference and the newly published Abortion and the Christian Tradition: A Pro-choice Theological Ethic. She also edited The Embrace of Eros: Bodies, Desires, and Sexuality in Christianity and has published essays in The Oxford Handbook of Theology, Sexuality and Gender and in a variety of scholarly journals. Her current area of research focuses on theological ethics related to abortion rights and reproductive justice. She serves as the editor of the Academy Series, one of the publication series that the AAR oversees in partnership with Oxford University Press, and has been an AAR professional member since 1999.


Why did you get involved with AAR and how is your work aligned?

The AAR has been my professional companion since I was in grad school. It took me a while to work up the courage to present a paper, but I was always an avid attendee whenever I could get the funds together in my early career to travel to the Annual Meetings. I enjoyed them all—except the surreal one held in Disney World in 1998!

What is your area of expertise or field of study?

My dissertation from Yale was on Christian feminist theologies, with a focus on race and sexuality issues. My teaching at Oberlin College included a range of gender-related issues in global religions, and I grew to appreciate deeply having to teach outside my area of scholarly familiarity. The saying from comparative religion is true: the person who knows only one religion knows no religion. Currently my research focuses on the intersection of theology and reproductive ethics.

How has AAR been beneficial to you and your career?

The more I have become involved in the AAR, the more beneficial it has become to me. In 2017 I was appointed editor of the Academy Series, one of the publication series that the AAR oversees in partnership with Oxford University Press. In my capacity as editor, I have the very rewarding opportunity to mentor newly minted PhDs as they transform their dissertations into books. Check out the new releases.

What book is on your nightstand that you're reading or intend to read in the future?

Nightstand reading for me is reserved for books that have nothing to do with my scholarship. These days, you’d find books by a highbrow author like Jhumpa Lahiri next to Alan Bradley’s delightful Flavia de Luce murder mystery series.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

Before the COVID crisis I enjoyed traveling to visit friends and far-flung places. Now that I’m sitting in so many Zoom meetings, I’ve come to appreciate the simple pleasures of walking and hiking, working in my garden, and lots of yoga.