My name is Devin Manzullo-Thomas. I’m a historian and archivist with interests in American religion, 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 serve as director of the Sider Institute for Anabaptist, Pietist, and Wesleyan Studies. In this role, I draw on my training as an American religious and public 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.
I also serve as 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.
In addition to my administrative duties, I teach a variety of courses in the History, Biblical and Religious Studies, and Interdisciplinary Studies departments at the college. (For more info, check out my bio page.)
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 will take my comprehensive exams in spring 2017. My research fields include twentieth-century U.S. history, American religious history, and public history/commemoration.
As a historian, 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.