Dr. Rhon S. Manigault-Bryant is an Associate Professor of Africana Studies and Faculty Affiliate in Religion at Williams College. As a 2018 recipient of three-year New Directions Fellowship from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, she is currently engaged in full-time training in film studies and documentary filmmaking at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. She completed her undergraduate education at Duke University, then earned 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.