My name is Devin Manzullo-Thomas. I’m a church historian and archivist with interests in American Christianity, commemoration, and historical memory. I currently teach at 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 in our first-year general education program which focuses 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 am a doctoral candidate in American religious history at Temple University in Philadelphia. My dissertation, tentatively titled “Sacred Subjects: Christianity, Commemoration, and Religion’s Presence in the Past,”examines the ways in which Protestant Christian communities in the United States have created institutions of public memory—museums, archives, historical societies, monuments, and more—and the political, social, and cultural work that these commemorative activities have been made to perform. Tracing these evolving practices of historical memory from the mid-nineteenth to the late twentieth centuries, it argues that Protestant public commemoration has transformed from a means of claiming cultural authority and prestige to a tool for mobilizing culture warriors.
In addition to my dissertation research, which blends my interest in American religious history with my interest in public history and memory studies, my scholarship also focuses on the history of Christianity, and particularly on the history of the Brethren in Christ Church in the United States and Canada.
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 Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania.