Deanna Ferree Womack

Associate Professor of History of Religions and Interfaith Studies; Director of the Master of Religious Leadership (MRL) Program
Deanna Ferree Womack
Phone: 404.727.2974
    • PhD, Princeton Theological Seminary, 2015
    • ThM, Princeton Theological Seminary, 2008
    • MDiv, Princeton Theological Seminary, 2007
    • BA, Macalester College, 2004

    The Rev. Dr. Deanna Ferree Womack teaches courses on Christian-Muslim relations and interreligious dialogue and directs the Master of Religious Leadership Program. She served from 2015 to 2020 as director of the Leadership and Multifaith Program (LAMP), established with the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts at Georgia Tech. Womack came to Candler from Princeton Theological Seminary, where she earned her MDiv, ThM and PhD.

    Womack’s research combines commitments to interreligious understanding, Christian-Muslim dialogue, and world Christianity. Her first book, Protestants, Gender and the Arab Renaissance in Late Ottoman Syria (Edinburgh University Press 2019), explores encounters between American missionaries and Arab residents of Syria and Lebanon in the pre-World War I period. In particular, it uncovers the history of Syrian women writers and preachers who navigated cultural and religious boundaries in their experiences with missionaries. Womack’s second book, Neighbors: Christians and Muslims Building Community (Westminster John Knox Press, 2020) examines the history of Christian-Muslim relations and the practices of interreligious dialogue in the United States today. Her current research focuses on themes of gender and violence in American Protestant discourses on Islam.

    Ordained in the Presbyterian Church (USA), Womack taught in Protestant schools in Lebanon before completing her doctoral work in world Christianity and the history of religions. She has lectured and published widely, and is a member of the American Society of Church History, the Middle East Studies Association, the International Association for Mission Studies and the American Academy of Religion, and holds a seat on the Youth Theological Initiative Advisory Board. Womack is the recipient of numerous awards for her scholarship, including honors from the American Academy of Religion and the Fund for Theological Education.

    Photo credit: Kim Schmidt

    Selected publications

    • Faculty Publication
    • Faculty Publication
    • Faculty Publication


    Neighbors: Christians and Muslims Building Community, Westminster John Knox Press, 2020

    Protestants, Gender and the Arab Renaissance in Late Ottoman Syria, in Edinburgh University Press, 2019

    Chapters and Articles

    “Protestant Portrayals of Islam: From the Reformation to Modern Missions,” Interpretation: A Journal of Bible and Theology 76:2, April 13, 2022 April 13, 2022

    “Christians in and from the Middle East: Lessons from the World Christian Encyclopedia.” International Bulletin of Missionary Research 46:1, December 22, 2021 December 22, 2021

    “Syrian Protestants and Arab-Islamic Identity: Cultural Dimensions of Interreligious Belonging,” in Studies in World Christianity, vol. 25, issue 1, Edinburgh University Press, April 01, 2019

    “’To Promote the Cause of Christ's Kingdom’ International Student Associations and the ‘Revival’ of Middle Eastern Christianity,” in Church History, vol. 88, issue 1, Cambridge University Press, March 31, 2019

    “’Crying for Help and Reformation’: Dissenting Protestants in Ottoman Syria,” in The Oxford History of Protestant Dissenting Traditions, Volume IV, Oxford University Press, May 07, 2019

    “The Contested Origins of the 1865 Arabic Bible: Contributions to the Nineteenth Century Nahḍa,” in Islam and Christian–Muslim Relations, Vol. 30, Issue 2, Taylor & Francis Online February 14, 2019

    “From the History of Religions to Interfaith Studies: A Theological Educator’s Exercise in Adaptation,” in Interreligious/Interfaith Studies: Defining a New Field, Beacon Press, August 21, 2018

    “Middle Eastern Protestantism” and “Contributions of Women in the Middle East,” in Encyclopedia of Christianity in the Global South, Rowman & Littlefield June 01, 2018

    "Medical Arts and the Healing of Souls: A Transnational Story of Tuberculosis Care in Early Twentieth-Century Syria and Lebanon," in Practical Matters, issue 11, May 22, 2018

    "A View from the Arabic Press, 1928: The International Missionary Conference in Jerusalem," in Exchange,, vol. 46, no.2. Brill, March 24, 2017

    "Images of Islam: American Missionary and Arab Perspectives," in Studies in World Christianity, vol. 22, no. 1, Edinburgh University Press, April 01, 2016

    "Transnational Christianity and Converging Identities: Arabic Protestant Churches in New Jersey," in Mission Studies, vol. 32, issue 2, Brill, June 01, 2015

    "The Authenticity and Authority of Islam: Rashid Rida's Response to Twentieth-Century Missionary Publications," in Social Sciences & Missions, vol. 28, issue 1-2, Brill, May 10, 2015

    "Lesslie Newbigin's Indian Interlocutors: A Study in Theological Reception," in Princeton Theological Review, vol. 18, no. 1, Princeton Theological Seminary, May 01, 2015

    Review of Conflict, Conquest, and Conversion: Two Thousand Years of Christian Missions in the Middle East, in Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations, vol. 25, no. 3, Taylor and Francis, July 01, 2014

    "Syrian Protestants & the Case of the Beirut Church: Re-imagining the American Missionary Encounter in Ottoman Syria," in Syrian Studies Bulletin, vol. 19, no. 1. Syrian Studies Association, June 02, 2014

    Co-Author, "'Pick up the pearls of knowledge and adorn ourselves with the jewelry of literature': An analysis of three Arab women writers in al-Nashra al-Usbu`iyya," in Living Stones Yearbook: Christianity engages with Islam, Living Stones of the Holy Land Trust, January 01, 2014

    Selected awards and honors

    Neighbors: Christians and Muslims Building Community selected as one of the top ten recommended books for ministry for 2021 by The Academy of Parish Clergy

    Sabbatical Grant for Researchers, Louisville Institute, for "Imaging Islam: Gender, Race, and American Protestant Encounters with Muslims," 2021-2022

    Gerda Henkel Stiftung Grant for "How Gender Constructs Shaped Christian Encounters with Islam Case Studies from the Middle East and South Asia" research project

    Gerda Henkel Foundation Research Grant, Düsseldorf, Germany, 2019

    Brewer Fund Grant for Communities Research, 2018

    Carr Grant for travel to India, 2018

    Wabash Center Fellowship for "Interfaith Dialogue: Pedagogy and Practice," 2017-2018

    American Academy of Religion Status of Women in the Profession Mentoring Program, 2014-2015

    American Academy of Religion International Dissertation Research Grant

    Preserving Protestant Heritage in the Middle East Researcher Grant, Near East School of Theology in Beirut

    David M. Stowe Research Fellowship, Yale University Divinity School

    Fund for Theological Education Ministry Fellowship, 2004-2005,

    Robert A. Caine Memorial Prize in Religion, Macalester College

    The Fund for Theological Education Undergraduate Fellowship

    George W. Davis Memorial Prize in Religion, Macalester College

    Samuel Robinson Award, the Presbyterian Church (USA)

    "Dr. Deanna Womack: Now, it’s time for ‘NEIGHBORS: Christians and Muslims Building Community" - Read the Spirit, September 12, 2021

    “Five Reasons why the Middle East Matters for World Christianity” - Edinburgh University Press Blog, April 26, 2019

    "Exploring the Overlooked Contributions of Syrian Protestants" - University of Edinburgh, July 15, 2019

    “Mission History in the Arab Renaissance.” Interview with Princeton Theological Seminary’s Office of Continuing Education. The Distillery, season 2, May 1, 2018

    "Jerusalem Is Sacred Place for Jews, Muslims, Christians" - AP, December 6, 2017

    "The Atlanta Interfaith Manifesto Calls us into a Common Future" - Atlanta Interfaith Manifesto Blog, June 19, 2017

    Service of Word and Table, Cannon Chapel, February 14, 2017

    "Images of Islam" - Edinburgh University Press Blog, The University of Edinburgh, May 3, 2016

    "Paris, Syria, & Iraq: Talking ISIS with Youth" - The Institute for Youth Ministry Blog, Princeton Theological Seminary

    Service of Word and Table, Cannon Chapel, April 5, 2016

    Selected Courses

    Global Religions and Community Engagement

    History and Practice of Christian-Muslim Relations

    Islam in America

    Jewish-Christian-Muslim Dialogue