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Photo by Celia Mitchell (2015/16 Semester Photo Contest Entry), Indonesia Semester.

Hello!

Hello Everyone! My name is Wyatt (he/him/his). I’m looking forward to meeting everyone and getting out to Payahuunadü in the Sierras in a few weeks. I’m fortunate enough to have been invited to join the HIES team on this wonderful adventure and opportunity to share, teach, grow, learn, and experience a place of great significance. I grew up in Memphis, TN, attended the University of Mississippi for my bachelors in English, got a Masters of Divinity in Birmingham, AL, and now am entering my 5th year of a PhD in Religious Studies at Emory University in Atlanta, GA — I know, I’ve migrated across the American south thus far. I’ve spent a summer in Washington D.C., and one in Boulder, CO, so I’ve done some living outside of the region, even if only minimally.

My studies, research, and writing at Emory emerge from intersection of theology, theory/philosophy, and race. My expertise is in systematic theology, the Protestant Reformation, the theology of Martin Luther, and philosophy. A good bit of my coursework, writing, and research at Emory, however, has been dedicated to post- and decolonial theory, race theory and black studies, and a tiny bit of ecology. My PhD dissertation in particular examines the issues black theologians raise that block communication and communion with white theologians and their communities, and looks for ways of thinking about these blockages in constructive ways.

Besides all the academic stuff, I’m an avid hiker, love to travel, cook, and paint. I very much enjoy being in new places, meeting new people, and experiencing life from other perspectives which challenge and reshape my own. Two of my favorite places on earth are the Colorado Rockies — my current goal is to hike all 58 of the state’s 14,000ft. peaks (25 down of 58!) — and the Great Smoky Mountains in TN/NC (living in Atlanta, I’m able to make it up there quite often). I love the mountains and their beauty, vastness, and the deep time in which they exist. Simply being in these magnificent landscapes has changed me fundamentally, and I continue experience these places, learning about the histories (the beautiful and the brutal and tragic) and the peoples who have called them home.

I look forward to sharing more about all of this with everyone, and learning from you all in turn. I’m especially interested to learn and reflect on the deep connection between people and land at Payahuunadü. See everyone soon!

-Wyatt