Religion in

Dr. Merinda Simmons
Associate Professor

Rhetorics of Authenticity, Poststructuralism and Theories of Gender and Race, Literary Studies, and Postcolonial and Southern Studies

Office Phone: 348-9911
Office: Manly 300

View a copy of Prof. Simmons's cv, here. (PDF)

Learn more about Prof. Simmons

See her ar·ti·facts episode.

What's the Backstory on Prof. Simmons...?

Since the Fall of 2013, Prof. Simmons has planned our pubilc events.

Learn more about the Race and Displacement symposium that Prof. Simmons co-organized.

Prof. Simmons wrote a recent essay on the intersections between Religious Studies and Feminist Theory/Method in the Journal of the American Academy of Religion (JAAR). Click here to read her essay.

Learn more about the 2006 conference on the African Diaspora at which Dr. Simmons was a participant.

Learn more about the conference in Copenhagen where Dr. Simmons presented her research on Nella Larson's novel Quicksand.

Dr. Simmons gave a lecture, "Slain in the Spirit: Sexuality and Afro-Caribbean Religious Expression in Nella Larsen's Quicksand" here on April 26, 2006 for the "Religion in Culture" series.

Dr. Simmons chapter on Nella Larsen's novel Quicksand appears in a recently published book. Click the cover to
learn more.

Merinda Simmons has a Ph.D. in English and is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Religious Studies and was tenured in the Fall of 2015.


Research Interests

Her areas of interest include the relationship between religious expression and gender identity, Afro-Caribbean and African American Women Writers, Southern Studies, and Feminist Theory and Philosophy.

Her current research examines Afro-Caribbean and African American women's migration narratives in the 19th and 20th centuries, giving specific focus to how travel across geographical and sociopolitical boundaries constructs notions of "gender" and "labor." In some of her recent work, for example, she discusses the "work" of religious performativity-conjure and witchcraft specifically-in such novels as Mama Day and I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem. These examples, especially when stacked against notions of "benevolent labor," she suggests, reveal a complicated relationship between gender identity and material economy.


Current Projects

Dr. Simmons is currently at work on a book manuscript tentatively entitled The Work of Southern Womanhood: Mapping Feminine "Character" across Gender, Race, and Migration.

She recently completed co-editing a volume based on the October 2009 symposium "Race and Displacement" that was held at UA and sponsored by the Departments of English and Religious Studies. The essays in the volume focus on the concept of racial diaspora—removals, resettlements, migrations, colonial and post-colonial geographies, both individual and collective.


Courses Taught:

REL 100 Introduction to Religious Studies

REL 105 Honors Introduction to Religious Studies
REL 124 Religion, Media, The South
REL 234 Identifying Gender in Religion

REL 430 Religion and Literature

REL 419 Slave Religion in the United States
REL 480 Gender Theory and Religion