Associate Professor of Constructive Theology
Saint Olaf College, B.A., 1988
Princeton Theological Seminary, M.Div., 1991
University of Chicago, Ph.D., 1998
Joined Eden faculty, 2000
Damayanthi’s writing and research have been focused on constructive and contextual theology. She has taught courses foundational theology, missiology and post-colonial thought. She has also served as the research associate of the Christianity in Asia Project at the Centre for Advanced Religious and Theological Studies at Cambridge University, United Kingdom.
Dr. Niles brings to her classes a unique perspective as a “true citizen of the world.” Having lived, worked and studied in several countries, she can offer international insights and interpretations on theological issues.
“I want my students to understand that the ministry is a creative process. They need to learn from others and apply what they learn to their own lives. I encourage them to ask themselves, ‘what lessons can I learn from this person?’ It’s important to understand that the people that they can learn the most from are the other people they meet on their spiritual journey.”
Through her coursework and class discussion, Professor Niles tries to meet all students where they are. She utilizes an eclectic assortment of texts to help them make the connection.
try to show my students another way of thinking. What if you did this,
or tried something this way? I also invite them to think deeply about
the people we read about in the course of our studies… think about
going to the communion table with them.”
A frequent lecturer, Dr. Niles has expertise in Asian theology and missiology. In her spare time she enjoys cooking, particularly Asian curries. She also enjoys music, reading and theatre. She is an ordained Minister of the Word and Sacrament, Presbyterian Church (USA).