Associate Professor of Africana Studies, Chair of Africana Studies Program
Ph.D. Brown University (2002)
AFR 200(S)Introduction to Africana Studies
AFR 208 T / AMST 208 / REL 262Time and Blackness
AFR 211 / AMST 211 / ENVI 211 / SOC 211(F)Race and the Environment
AFR 300 / AMST 300 / SOC 306Lessons of 'The Game': The Wire and American Culture
AFR 311 / REL 311Black Ministerial Imaginations: Griots, Athletes, and Maestros
REL 315 / AMST 304 / AFR 305 / SOC 305The Sociology of Black Religious Experience
AFR 356(F)The Plantation and Its Afterlife
AFR 405CAPSTONE: Africana Studies and the Disciplines
- Africana Studies Program, Chair
James Manigault-Bryant studies religious phenomena, particularly those that emerge from the experience of being African-American. Exploring expressions of religion, and the numerous cultural forms they take, has led him to two concerns that cut across the fields of Africana Studies and Sociology. First, our unfolding understanding of the American social unconscious—or the invisible terms of sociality—as derived from interpretations of Protestant Christian theology; second, the critical insights into this unconscious found in sacred and secular narratives of African-American life.
Manigault-Bryant is now working on two projects that derive from these concerns. The first, Signs of Damascus Road: The Call in the African-American Ministerial Imagination, is a cultural study of African-American ministers’ knowledge production and imaginations of American society. An elaboration of concerns first posed in his dissertation, the study illuminates processes of secularization that affect the lived experience of African-American ministry. The second project, On Black Metaphysics, is a book-length proposal for a metaphysic of society. Using the work of a number of scholars in Africana Studies—notably Howard Thurman, Charles Long, and Hortense Spillers—the proposal uses African-American religious thought to reimagine our lived terms of sociality.
Before arriving at Williams, Manigault-Bryant earned his BA from Tulane University and MA and PhD from Brown University. He has taught courses on race and religion at College of the Holy Cross and Wake Forest University, has been a visiting scholar at Morehouse College and the University of Virginia, and has received generous research support from the Ford Foundation and the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities.