top of page

Dr. Nichole R Phillips

Nichole R Phillips, MDiv, MA, PhD

Dr. Nichole Renée Phillips is the Associate Professor in the Practice of Sociology of Religion and Culture and Director of Black Church Studies at Candler School of Theology, Emory University. A sociologist of religion and public intellectual, she teaches courses in community and congregational studies. Her research interests lie at the intersection of religion and American public life with a focus on community and congregational studies where she investigates the moral commitments and vision of community and congregational members. Her scholarship treats religion, critical race, gender and cultural memory studies. She is also developing new research interests in the sociology of science and religion.

Her first monograph, Patriotism Black and White: The Color of American Exceptionalism (2018) is a study of blacks and whites in a rural southern community and their shifting interpretations of American national identity and U.S. exceptionalism with the election of Barack H. Obama as America’s first President of African descent and at the height of wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The volume further considers the implication of these patriotic and exceptionalist meanings under the present Trump Administration. In 2019, Patriotism Black and White landed on the Best Sellers List for the Christian ecumenical and flagship magazine of U.S. mainline Protestants, The Christian Century.

Nichole also contributed a chapter to the published collection, Revives My Soul Again: The Spirituality of Martin Luther King Jr., which commemorated the 50th-year anniversary of the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (2018). Her chapter explains the ways in which King Jr.’s spirituality animated his delivery of ‘I have a dream’ and inspired his rearticulation of American national identity at the height of the Civil Rights Movement.

Nichole is nationally recognized for her expertise on race, religion and the U.S. nation. An engaged public scholar she provides regular commentary to local and national news outlets like The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlanta Journal Constitution, WABE/NPR, Sojourners and even France’s main protes