Nichole R. Phillips

Associate Professor in the Practice of Sociology of Religion and Culture; Director of Black Church Studies
Nichole R. Phillips
Phone: 404.727.4001
    • PhD, Vanderbilt University 2012
    • MA, Vanderbilt University, 2009
    • MDiv, Harvard University, 1999
    • BA, Wellesley College, 1993

    As a sociologist of religion and practical theologian, The Rev. Dr. Nichole R. Phillips teaches courses in community and congregational studies, stressing human diversity and social transformation. Before joining the Candler faculty in 2013, Phillips was a post-doctoral fellow in the Practical Theology and Religious Practices program at Candler in collaboration with Emory’s Graduate Division of Religion. 

    Her research interests lie in the areas of religion and culture, race, ethnicity and gender, cultural anthropology with a focus on ethnographic research, and ritual performances of religion. Phillips’ first monograph probes religion, politics, American values and race as garnered from a regional study of a rural Southern community.

    Phillips is a member of several professional societies, including the American Academy of Religion and the Society for the Study of Black Religion. In 2013, she was named a fellow in the Emory University Mellon Foundation Humanistic Inquiry Program, which aims to foster an interdisciplinary approach to humanistic inquiries. Phillips was the first fellow appointed from Emory’s professional schools. She is also a Senior Faculty Fellow with the Center for Ethics at Emory University.

    At Candler, Phillips is the Director of Black Church Studies, the Black Student Caucus Faculty Advisor, and serves on the International Studies committee. Within the broader community, she is a peer reviewer for Black Theology: An International Journal and Sociology of Religion: A Quarterly Review, a member of several professional societies and community organizations, and is consistently asked to speak on issues of religion and culture. 

    Phillips is an ordained itinerant elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME), and has served on ministerial staffs in New England and the South.

    Selected publications

    • Faculty Publication


    Patriotism Black and White: The Color of American Exceptionalism. Baylor, 2018.

    Chapters and Articles

    "A 'Spirituality of Improvisation': Martin Luther King, Jr.'s 'I Have a Dream' in Rearticulating American National Identity." In Revives My Soul Again: The Spirituality of Martin Luther King, Jr. Fortress Press, 2018

    "Qualitative Research at Emory: Ethnographic Insights and Notes from the Field." In Pedagogy in Practice: Qualitative Research and Theological Education. SCM Press, 2018

    "The Church, #BlackLivesMatter, and #SayHerName Racial Justice and Social Movements: Towards Reaching Common Ground." The AME Church Review, CCXII, no. 4, AME Church, October 01, 2016

    "Death Unto Life: The Power of the Incarnation." Pastoral Psychology, vol. 60, issue 3, Springer US, March 01, 2011

    Selected awards

    Provost¿s Distinguished Teaching Award for Excellent in Graduate and Professional Education, Candler School of Theology, 2019

    Inducted into the Martin Luther King, Jr. International College of Ministers and Laity, Morehouse College, 2019

    Workshop, Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), Religion, and Foreign Policy Initiative

    Senior Faculty Fellow, Center for Ethics, Emory University

    Alum of the Month, The Hotchkiss School

    Mellon Foundation Humanistic Inquiry Program (HIP) Fellow, Candler School of Theology, 2013-present.

    Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Practical Theology and Religious Practices, Candler School of Theology, 2012-2013.

    Group for New Directions in Pastoral Theology

    Dissertation Fellowship, Southern Regional Education Board (SREB)

    Ford Foundation Diversity Fellowships Honorable Mention List

    Center for Community Studies Grant, Peabody College, Vanderbilt University

    Dissertation Fellowship, Fund for Theological Education

    "Black Christianity and Spirituality" - A Seat at the Table, Georgia Public Broadcasting, May 20, 2018

    Service of Word, Cannon Chapel, February 25, 2015

    "Redeeming Memories: From the Trauma of Collective Pasts to the Hope of Resurrection" - Candler Practical Ministries Webinars, January 29, 2015

    Selected courses

    African American Religion and Culture

    Ethnographic Research in Congregation and Community

    Memory, Culture, and Redemption

    Priestly and Prophetic: The Nature of Ritual Performance

    Genocide, Redeeming Cultural Memories, and Christian Social Witness

    Rites and Rituals: Gateways to Congregational Care