Ellen Ott Marshall

Professor of Christian Ethics and Conflict Transformation, Director of the Graduate Division of Religion
Ellen Ott Marshall
Phone: 404.727.1214
    • PhD, Vanderbilt University, 2000
    • MA, Vanderbilt University, 1996
    • MA, University of Notre Dame, 1992
    • BA, Davidson College, 1991

    Prior to joining the Candler faculty in 2009, Dr. Ellen Ott Marshall worked with the refugee resettlement programs of Church World Service and the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) and served as the lead writer for God's Renewed Creation, a pastoral letter and foundation document for the United Methodist Church Council of Bishops. 

    Marshall’s work focuses on contemporary Christian ethics, with particular attention to violence, peacebuilding, and conflict transformation. She is also interested in questions about gender and moral agency, and the dynamic relationship between faith, history and ethics. Marshall is the author of three books and the editor of two, and has published essays on welfare reform, the use of film to teach ethics, and the United Methodist response to war. Her most recent book, Introduction to Christian Ethics (Westminster John Knox, 2018) explores the question: how do we live a good life in the midst of ongoing conflict?

    As a teacher, scholar and practitioner, Marshall strives to facilitate clarity of thought, transparent and honest discussion, mutual understanding, and respectful disagreement. She is deeply committed to fostering practices of careful moral discernment and civil conversation, especially when hot button issues are in play. In 2019, Marshall was awarded a grant from the Louisville Institute to co-direct a team of pastoral and academic researchers in exploring how the church and academy form Christian conflict workers theologically and practically.

    Marshall co-convenes the Religion, Conflict, and Peacebuilding Initiative for Emory’s Graduate Division of Religion. She also serves as the Co-Chair for the Religion, Social Conflict, and Peace Group of the American Academy of Religion, chairs the New American Pathways Advisory Councils, and is a member of the Society of Christian Ethics.

    In 2011, Marshall received Candler’s “On Eagle’s Wings” Excellence in Teaching Award for faithful and dedicated service, and in 2013, she won the Candler “Faculty Person of the Year” award. In 2015, she was awarded the Emory Williams Teaching Award, the highest teaching award granted by the university. In 2019, Marshall received the Emory Provost’s Distinguished Teaching Award for Excellence in Graduate and Professional Education, an award granted to one faculty member from each of the university’s seven graduate and professional schools.


    Selected publications

    • Faculty Publication
    • Faculty Publication
    • Faculty Publication


    Co-editor,Parenting for a Better World: Social Justice Practices for Your Family and the Planet, Chalice Press, 2022

    Introduction to Christian Ethics: Conflict, Faith, and Human Life, Westminster John-Knox Press, 2018

    Editor,Conflict Transformation and Religion: Essays on Faith, Power, and Relationship, Palgrave, 2016

    Christians in the Public Square: Faith that Transforms Politics, Abingdon Press, 2008

    Though the Fig Tree Does Not Blossom: Toward a Responsible Theology of Christian Hope, Abingdon Press, 2006

    Contributing Editor,Choosing Peace through Daily Practices, Pilgrim Press, 2005

    Chapters and Articles

    Co-author, “Meditation with Collage,” Parenting for a Better World: Social Justice Practices for Your Family and the Planet, Chalice Press, 2022

    “Reflection, Interpretation, and Accountability: Exercises in Religious Peacebuilding,” A Collection of Essays Honoring Robert C. Johansen (Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, 2022

    “Theological Ethics in a World of Violent Extremism.” Teaching in a World of Violent Extremism, edited by Eleazar S. Fernandez, Wipf & Stock, 2021

    “Dignity and Conflict: Religious Peacebuilding.” Value and Vulnerability: Contemporary Interfaith Dialogue on the Value and Vulnerability of Human Life, edited by Matthew Petrusek and Jonathan Rothchild, University of Notre Dame Press, 2020

    “Maternal Thinking in U.S. Contexts of Gun Violence and Policy Brutality.” Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics, 40.2 (2020)

    “Pacifism and the Question of Responsibility.” Political Theology, 21.3 (2020)

    “Bed Rest Stinks,” in Encountering the Sacred: Feminist Reflections on Women's Lives, T&T Clark, December 28, 2018

    “Review of Religion, Conflict, and Peacemaking: An Interdisciplinary Conversation,” in Peace and Change: A Journal of Peace Research, vol. 43, issue 4, Wiley, August 27, 2018

    “Baptism of the Lord: Connecting the Reading with the World” and “Epiphany: Connecting the Reading with the World,” in Connections: A Lectionary Commentary for Preaching and Worship, Westminster John Knox Press, September 25, 2018

    "Theological Humility in the World of Law," in Journal of Law and Religion, vol. 32, no. 1, 2017

    "Conflict, God, and Constructive Change: Exploring Prominent Christian Convictions in the Work of Conflict Transformation," in Brethren Life and Thought, vol. 61, no. 2, 2016

    "Learning through Conflict, Working for Transformation," in Conflict Transformation and Religion, Palgrave MacMillan, 2016

    "War, Revolution, and Peace in the Twenty-First Century," in Religion and Ethics in the Twenty-First Century, Anselm Academic Publishing, 2013

    "Psalm 91" and "Isaiah 53:4-12," in Feasting on the Word, Year B, Additional Essays, Westminster John Knox Press, 2011

    "A Matter of Pride: A Feminist Response to Billy Graham," in The Legacy of Billy Graham, Westminster John Knox Press, 2008

    "Teaching Ethics with Film: A Course on the Moral Agency of Women," in Teaching Religion and Film, Oxford University Press, 2008

    "United Methodist Witness in Times of War: Five Characteristics," in Quarterly Review, vol. 24, no. 1, General Board of Higher Education and Ministry and The United Methodist Publishing House, 2004

    "Liberation from the Welfare Trap?" in Welfare Policy: Feminist Critiques, Pilgrim Press, 1999

    Selected awards

    The Provost's Distinguished Teaching Award for Excellent in Graduate and Professional Education for the Laney Graduate School, Emory University, 2019

    "Forming Christian Conflict Workers," Collaborative Inquiry Team Grant, Louisville Institute

    Emory Williams Distinguished Teaching Award, Emory University

    Faculty Person of the Year Award, Candler School of Theology

    "On Eagle's Wings" Excellence in Teaching Award, Candler School of Theology

    Grant for "Peace and Justice Studies Consultation," Regions Committee of the American Academy of Religion, 2006-2006

    Summer Research Grant, Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion

    College Life "Advisor Award," Elizabethtown College, 2001-2002

    Exceptional Performance Award for teaching, research, and service, Elizabethtown College

    Marshall worked with the refugee resettlement program of Church World Service and the United Methodist Committee on Relief before pursuing her PhD. She maintains this interest in refugee ministry today as the chair of the advisory board for New American Pathways, working with Candler's contextual education sites in Clarkston, and volunteering with the refugee ministry of her church.

    Marshall is currently co-directing a team of pastoral and academic researchers exploring how the church and academy form Christian conflict workers theologically and practically as part of a Collaborative Inquiry Team Grant from the Louisville Institute.

    Moral Agency Under Constraint, a digital exhibit exploring moral action in contexts of limited freedom and choice

    Moral Agency Under Constraint, "Skytyping as Moral Agency under Constraint" (July 27, 2020)

    The Christian Century,"I teach conflict transformation. If Trump’s speech were a student paper, here’s how I would respond" (June 4, 2020)

    Service of Word, Cannon Chapel, March 8, 2018

    "I Believe in Your Religion" - 2018 Interfaith Workshop for Christian Clergy, January 29, 2018

    Faith & Leadership, "Q&A with Ellen Ott Marshall: What is 'responsible hope?'" (July 24, 2018)

    "The Work of Our Hands" - Service of Word, Cannon Chapel, September 8, 2016

    JustPeace,"Resisting Interruption, Returning to the Story" (September 23, 2015)

    "Affirmation and Accountability: Ethical Dimensions of 'That Blessed Image'" - Prophetic Voices Centennial Academic Conference, Cannon Chapel, March 19, 2015

    Service of Word, Cannon Chapel, October 9, 2014

    Selected courses

    Contemporary Christian Ethics

    Christian Ethics

    Engaging the World

    Feminist and Womanist Ethics

    Introduction to Christian Ethics

    Religion, Violence and Peacebuilding         

    Skills in Conflict Transformation

    Voices of Nonviolence

    Coursera Course: Conflict Transformation