Associate Professor of Religion and Culture
Hicks teaches and researches broadly in the areas of African American religion, religion in North America, race, the body, religion and foodways, theory and method in the study of religion, Black and Womanist theologies, and cultural studies. Currently he serves as co-chair of the Religion and Food Group at the American Academy of Religion. Dr. Hicks is the author of the book Reclaiming Spirit in the Black Faith Tradition (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012). He is currently working on a second monograph entitled Feeding Flesh and Spirit: Religion, Food, and the Saga of Race in Black America (under review with UNC Press). His most recent publication (with Gregory Parks, Wake Forest University School of Law) is an article entitled “How Much a Dollar Cost?”: Political Ideology, Religion, and Poverty Policy Through the Lens of Kendrick Lamar’s Music” (Southern California Review of Law and Social Justice, 2019). In addition, he served as assistant editor of the volume entitled African American Religious Cultures (ABC-CLIO Press). He also contributed chapters for the books Blacks and Whites in Christian America: How Racial Discrimination Shapes Religious Convictions (New York University Press, 2012) and to the edited volume Religion, Food, and Eating in North America (Columbia University Press, 2014). In support of his scholarship, Dr. Hicks has previously been awarded fellowships and grants from the Ford Foundation, the Fund for Theological Education, the Louisville Institute, the Henry Luce Foundation, and the Wabash Center. Most recently, he was awarded the Louisville Institute Sabbatical Grant for Researchers (2018-19).
BA, Grambling State University; MA, Dallas Theological Seminary; PhD, Rice University
- African American Religious Experience
- Culinary Culture in Black Religious Experience
- Race and Culture in the Study of Religion & Theology
- Evangelicalism in North America
- Youth, Hood, and Hip Hop
- Church and Contemporary Cultures
- Black Theologies in the U.S.
- Religion and the Civil Rights Struggle
- Mobilizing for Justice: Advocacy Ministry with Children and Youth (CDF Proctor Course)
- Feeding Flesh and Spirit: Religion, Food, and Race in Black America (Under Review, UNC Press)
- Reclaiming Spirit in the Black Faith Tradition (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012).
Select Journal Articles, Book Chapters, Book Reviews
- “‘When I Saw the Book Talk to My Master’: The Convergence of Literacy and Religion in the Identity Quest of Antebellum Blacks” (Under development)
- “‘How Much a Dollar Cost?’: Political Ideology, Religion, and Poverty Policy Through the Lens of Kendrick Lamar’s Music,” (Los Angeles: Southern California Review of Law and Social Justice, Volume 28, Number 2, Spring 2019).
- “An Unusual Feast: Gumbo and the Complex Brew of Black Religion” in Religion, Food, and Eating in North America. Ben Zeller, Marie Dallam, et al., Editors (New York: Columbia University Press, April 2014).
- “So Rooted a Past: African American Christian Faith Through the Years” in Blacks and Whites in Christian America: How Racial Discrimination Shapes Religious Convictions, by Michael Emerson & Jason Shelton (New York: New York University Press, October 2012).
- “Eschatology,” in The Oxford Handbook of African American Theology, Katie G. Cannon and Anthony B. Pinn, Editors (New York: Oxford University Press), September 2014.
- “Enslaved Women and Religion,” in Enslaved Women in America: An Encyclopedia, Daina R. Berry and Delseso Alford Washington, Editors (Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO/Greenwood Press), June 2012.
- “National Baptist Convention of America,” in African American Religious Cultures, Anthony B. Pinn, General Editor (Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO Press), October 2009.
- “National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.,” in African American Religious Cultures, Anthony B. Pinn, General Editor (Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO Press), October 2009.
- Derek S. Hicks & Anthony B. Pinn, “Theodicy,” in Global Dictionary of Theology. William A. Dyrness and Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen, General Editors. (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press), 2008.
Select Academic Lectures
- “Scraping Faith from Mama’s Porch: Nourishing Debased Flesh by Performing the Ways of “Home,” The Black Communities Conference, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, September 11, 2019.
- “Nourishing Debased Flesh in a ‘Great Again’ Nation: Continuing King’s Struggle for Humanity,”Claremont School of Theology’s Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Lecture Series, Claremont School of Theology, Claremont, CA., January 29, 2019.
- “Eating and Believing: Religion, Food Justice, and Cultural Formation in Urban Life,” The Children’s Defense Fund Summer Proctor Institute, Clinton, TN, July 18, 2018.
- “Feeding Flesh and Spirit with An Unusual Feast: Stories of Religion, Food, and Resilience in the Black Faith Tradition,” Knollwood Baptist Church, September 20, 2017.
- “Charlottesville and the Continued Debasement Campaign Against Black Bodies,” The Case of Charlottesville: Why Charlottesville Happened and What it Means for Us, Teach-In & Panel, Wake Forest University, September 5, 2017.
- “Sports Culture, ‘Religious’ Devotion, and Masculinity,” Engaging Men in the Conversation of Interpersonal Violence Conference, Wake Forest University, April 11, 2017.
- “Religion, Race, Politics, and Reclamation in a ‘Great Again’ Nation,” Jean Fortner Ward Lectures, Greensboro College; Greensboro, NC, March 30, 2017.
- “Feeding Flesh and Spirit: Stories of Religion, Food, and Resilience in the Black Faith Tradition,” Wake Forest University Humanities Institute; ZSR Library Auditorium; Winston-Salem, NC, February 15, 2017.
- “This Far By Faith: Reclaiming the Least in a ‘Great Again’ Nation,” Mars Hill University, February 7, 2017.
- “Feeding Debased Flesh and Broken Spirits: Religion, Food, and Race in African American Life,” Race and Faith Dialogues, Duke University, February 22, 2016
- “Black Faith and the Fate of Black Male Bodies,” Annual Men’s Day Study, United Metropolitan Baptist Church, Winston Salem, NC, November 11, 2015.
- “Reclaiming Wholeness in the Black Faith Tradition,” Knollwood Baptist Church, October 28, 2015.
- “The Worth of Black Bodies: A Paradoxical History,” Knollwood Baptist Church, October 21, 2015.
- “Liberative Logos: Baby Suggs Holy and the Narrative of Splendor in Degraded Flesh,” Georgetown University, October 15, 2015.
- “Nourishing Debased Flesh: The Work of Religion and Food to Make the Wounded Whole,” Drew University, September 23, 2015.
- “Tough Loved Flesh: The Challenges of Embodiment and Black Faith,” Interfaith Conversations, Interfaith Winston-Salem, Temple Emanuel, Winston-Salem, NC, August 17, 2015.
- “Nourishing Debased Flesh: The Intersection of Religion and Food in the Struggle to Make the Wounded Whole,” The 2015 African American Studies Symposium, University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX, April 9, 2015.
- “Is the Black Church Still Relevant?” at the Emmanuel Baptist Church 2015 Leadership Retreat, Winston-Salem, NC, January 23, 2015.
- “The Gumbo Pot: Theological Education as a Complex Brew,” Page Lectures, Southeastern Baptist Seminary, Wake Forest, NC, November 5, 2014.
- “A Reclaiming Past: Considering the Historical “Others” in the North American Christian Tradition,” Page Lectures, Southeastern Baptist Seminary, Wake Forest, NC, November 4, 2014.
- “Sexual Identity, Masculinity, and the Black Church,” a two-day workshop on Sexual Identity in the Church at New Life Church, Atlanta, GA, June 13thand 14th.
- “African American Religion and Foodways,” guest lecture, Warren Wilson College, Asheville, NC, March 13, 2014.
- “Reclaiming Spirit, Reframing Flesh,” The ZSR Library Lecture Series, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC, February 19, 2013.
Select Media Interviews
- “James Baldwin and the Current Plight of Black America” Sunday Morning Live, Magic 102.1 FM, Houston, TX, February 26, 2017.
Select Honors and Awards
- Sabbatical Grant for Researchers, The Louisville Institute, 2018-2019
- Recipient, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Building the Dream Award, Wake Forest University and Winston Salem State University, January 16, 2017.
- Fellow, Academic and Community Engagement (ACE) Fellows Program, Wake Forest University, 2016-2017
- Summer Writing Grant, The Humanities Institute, 2016
- Summer Research Fellowship, The Wabash Center, 2014
- Pre-Tenure Faculty Workshop, The Wabash Center, 2013 – 2014
- Post- Doctoral Fellow, Henry Luce Foundation, 2011 – 2013
- First Book Grant for Minority Scholars, The Louisville Institute, 2010 – 2011
- Dissertation Fellowship, Ford Foundation Diversity Fellowships, 2008 – 2009
- Dissertation Fellowship, The Fund for Theological Education, 2008 – 2009
- North American Doctoral Fellowship, The Fund for Theological Education, 2007 – 2008
- Predoctoral Fellowship, Ford Foundation Diversity Fellowships, 2005 – 2008
- Emerging Community Leader Award, Bank of America Neighborhood Excellence Program, 2005 – 2006
- American Academy of Religion
- Society for the Study of Black Religion
Office: Divinity and Religious Studies Building 112
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