Assistant Professor, Theology and Religious Studies
Karen Teel, PhD, has been a member of the Department of Theology and Religious Studies since 2007. Her courses in Christian and Catholic theology invite students to consider biblical, historical, and contemporary - especially liberationist - perspectives on the essential beliefs of Christianity. Teel’s research interests focus on Christian anthropology, Christology and theological engagements with the problem of racism, emphasizing current liberation movements such as black and womanist theologies.
Ph.D., Boston College, Theology
M.A., Boston College, Theology
B.A., Gonzaga University, Psychology and Religious Studies
Scholarly and Creative Work
Teel’s primary research interests are in Christian theological anthropology and Christology, with an emphasis on theological engagement with the problem of racism. This dovetails nicely with her focus on contemporary theologies from traditionally underrepresented groups, particularly liberation theologies. For example, in her book, Racism and the Image of God (2010), she engaged the works of womanist (African American feminist) thinkers to begin developing a theology of the body that compels Christians to resist injustice, particularly the sin of racism. She also has a chapter entitled “What Jesus Wouldn’t Do: A White Theologian Engages Whiteness,” in the edited volume, Christology and Whiteness: What Would Jesus Do?
A secondary research interest for Teel is Christianity’s contemporary global situation, as one religion among many. She is especially curious about how Christian beliefs about Jesus and the Trinity can encourage Christians to face real differences honestly and to honor truth in all the religions. This was the subject of her article, “Christianity as Closed Monotheism? A Contemporary Catholic Approach to Interreligious Dialogue,” which appeared in the Annual Volume of the College Theology Society for 2011.
Teel is an active member of the American Academy of Religion, the Catholic Theological Society of America, and the College Theology Society.
Teel’s courses immerse students in diverse Catholic and Christian perspectives on essential beliefs of Christianity, such as God as Trinity, Jesus as savior, and the human person as the image of God. Students study foundational articulations of Christian faith, including the Bible, and encounter various contemporary perspectives. Themes from liberation theologies, especially black, womanist, and feminist theologies are prominent in Teel’s courses. At USD, Teel has taught Introduction to Catholic Theology, Jesus in Christian Tradition, and Christian Understanding of the Human Person; in the future, she also plans to offer Liberation Theologies and Feminist Theologies.