Rhon S. Manigault-Bryant

Rhon S. Manigault-Bryant

Associate Professor of Africana Studies and Faculty Affiliate in Religion

Schapiro Hall Rm 119


A.B. Duke University (1999)
M.Div. Emory University, Theology (2002)
Ph.D. Emory University (2007)


Note: courses in gray are not offered this academic year.

AFR 316 / REL 265 / AMST 316

Sacred Cinema: Black Religion and the Movies

AFR 319 / AMST 319 / SOC 319

Ethnographic Approaches to Africana Studies

AFR 320 / AMST 320 / WGSS 320

Dangerous Bodies: Black Womanhood, Sexuality & Popular Culture

Scholarship/Creative Work

Select Publications & Media

  • “Conjuring Pasts and Ethnographic Presents in Zora Neale Hurston’s Modernity,” co-authored with James Manigault-Bryant. Journal of Africana Religions Vol. 4. No. 2, (Summer 2016): 225-235.
  •  “African and African Diaspora Religions: Religious Syncretism, Erotic Encounter, Sacred Transformation” in Religion: Embodied Religion, edited by Kent L. Brintnall. 1st ed., Macmillan Interdisciplinary Handbooks. Macmillan Reference, USA. (2016)
  •  “Religion and Fat=Protestant Christianity and Weight Loss? On the Intersections of Fat Studies and Religious Studies,” co-authored with Lynne Gerber and Susan H. Hill. Fat Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Body Weight and Society. Vol. 4, Issue 2 (Spring 2015): 82-91.


Online, Media, & Op-Ed

  • Blogger and Contributor (monthly), African American Intellectual History Society. http://aaihs.org


Select Presentations

  • Keynote Address, “Singing the Soul Free: Gullah/Geechee Religion and Practice,” Department of Religion, College of Charleston (April 2016)
  • Keynote Address, “Honor, Honor: The Black Body as Sacred Text,” Duke University Divinity School (March 2016)
  • “‘Jesus Just Saved Your Life:’ Black Women’s Navigation of Popular Spiritual Terrians,” Center for Blck Diaspora Annual Lecture Series, DePaul University (November 2014)
  • “The ‘Church of Oprah’ and the Rise of Sapphmammibel: Race-ing Fatness in Contemporary Culture” PCA/ACA annual meeting, Boston, MA (April 2012)

Awards, Fellowships & Grants

  • Hellman Fellows Grant for Assistant Professors, Williams College (2013-2014)
  • Career Enhancement Fellowship, Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation (2010-2011)
  • Summer Fellowship, Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning (2010)
  • Postdoctoral Diversity Fellowship, Ford Foundation (2009-2010)
  • First Book Grant for Minority Scholars, The Louisville Institute (2009-2010)

Professional Affiliations

American Academy of Religion (AAR)

Caribbean Philosophical Association (CPA)

The Society for Multi-Ethnic Studies: Europe and Americas (MESEA)

National Council of Black Studies (NCBS)

National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA)

Popular Culture and American Culture Associations (PCA/ACA)

Society for the Study of Black Religion (SSBR)

Current Committees

  • Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies


After completing her undergraduate education at Duke University, LeRhonda Manigault-Bryant received a Master of Divinity from Candler School of Theology at Emory University and a PhD in Religion from Emory’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. A proud native of Moncks Corner, South Carolina, she navigates the academy as a scholar-artist, and teaches courses that merge her life as a musician and vocalist with her interdisciplinary specializations in religion, gender, race, music, and popular culture, with a focus on ethnographic methods.

Professor Manigault-Bryant is currently working on her second, single-authored monograph entitled Pushing Weight: Religion, Popular Culture, and the Implications of Image, which utilizes film theory, womanist/black feminist thought, and ethnographic data to examine how popular culture and contemporary media forms simultaneously influence mass interpretations of the black female “religious” body. Whether investigating religious practices of specific communities or exploring cultural production at the popular level, critical to her research are questions that unearth how African Americans respond to processes of cultural commodification.

For her creative endeavors, Professor Manigault-Bryant has been the recipient of independent and national grants from the Fund for Theological Education, the Ford Foundation, the Louisville Institute, the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Religion and Theology, Emory University, Wake Forest University, Williams College, and the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation.

Professor Manigault-Bryant, a former Bolin Fellow, returned to Williams after having taught at Wake Forest University.

Occasionally, you can find Rhon adding her colorful, critical, commentary to the digital universe via Twitter @DoctorRMB.