Patrick T. Smith is Associate Research Professor of Theological Ethics and Bioethics at Duke University Divinity School and Senior Fellow at the Kenan Institute for Ethics, Duke University. He also serves as associate faculty with the Trent Center for Bioethics, Humanities, and History of Medicine at Duke University School of Medicine. He was named a 2016-2017 Henry Luce III Fellow in Theology. He is the recipient of the 2019 Paul Ramsey Award for Excellence in Bioethics.
Race and ethnicity are aspects of identity and are therefore implicated in human flourishing. According to a common concept, human flourishing is related to human nature, as the fulfillment of capacities that characterize us as human beings. But race is best understood not as a characteristic of our biological nature but nevertheless as an aspect of our identity, which is biopsychosocial. Informed by scientific and social scientific research, Smith’s project explores the nature of race, racism, and their relation to human flourishing. The concept of shalom as a concept of human flourishing also requires a commitment to secure the conditions for shalom among those whose flourishing is impeded by racism, and the notion of agape developed in classical and contemporary Christian thought helps accomplish this.