My name is Devin Manzullo-Thomas. I’m a church historian and archivist with interests in American Christianity, commemoration, and historical memory. I’m currently employed by Messiah College, a small, Christian liberal arts college in south-central Pennsylvania.
At the college, I wear multiple hats. First, I am a lecturer in the humanities. I teach courses in the history of Christianity, historical theology, historical study of peace, and more. I also teach courses in our first-year general education program which focus on helping students become critical thinkers and engaged writers.
Second, I serve as the director of the E. Morris and D. Leone Sider Institute for Anabaptist, Pietist, and Wesleyan Studies. In this role, I draw on my training as a historian to help the college community (and its founding denomination, the Brethren in Christ Church) understand and interpret its history and theological heritage. My role involves supervision of the Brethren in Christ and Messiah College archives and responsibility for planning an annual study conference, lectures, and other activities.
Finally, I also serve as the archives coordinator for the college’s Ernest L. Boyer Center, where I draw on my training as an archivist and my interests in digital humanities to expand public access to the papers of Ernest L. Boyer, an American educational pioneer.
Outside of my work at Messiah College, I’m pursuing my PhD in American history at Temple University in Philadelphia. In December 2016 I completed my coursework requirements, and in May 2017 I passed my comprehensive exams and advanced to candidacy. I plan to defend my dissertation prospectus by the end of the year.
As a scholar, I pursue two distinct research agendas. In my work as a denominational historian of the Brethren in Christ Church, I apply my training in cultural and religious history to understand how this small religious community has changed over time. As a public historian of American religion, I study the ways in which religious communities — especially Christian communities — construct, commemorate, and contest the past in public through institutions of public memory, including historical societies, heritage sites, museums, monuments, archives, and other institutions of public memory.
Furthermore, because I believe that history-making is always a collaborative process, I pursue my research interests by participating in projects alongside community stakeholders, especially those within religious communities.
I have published articles and reviews in Church History, Brethren in Christ History and Life, Mennonite Quarterly Review, The Conrad Grebel Review, The Covenant Quarterly, and other scholarly and popular publications.
My wife, Katie, and I are parents to an active toddler, Lucas. We live in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.