Terrance Dean

Terrance Dean

Assistant Professor
Position Type
- Present
Other Affiliations
African American Religion; African American Diaspora Studies; Black Religious Rhetoric; Gender, Sex, and Sexuality; Black Cultural Studies; Afrofuturism; and, James Baldwin

Dr. Terrance Dean is an Assistant Professor in Black Studies at Denison University. He received his PhD in Religion and African American Diaspora Studies from Vanderbilt University. His research interests include gender, sex, sexuality, Black religion and Homiletics, Rhetoric and Communication, African Diaspora, Black Cultural Studies, James Baldwin, and Afrofuturism. Dean earned his Master’s in Theology from Vanderbilt Divinity School, and, is a John Seigenthaler Journalism Fellow from Vanderbilt University. He is a Tutu Desk Brand Ambassador for the Archbishop Desmond Tutu Foundation, and he also serves on the editorial board for The Columbus Dispatch helping to bring awareness and visibility to marginalized groups of people, particularly people of color.

Dean has written for the James Baldwin Review Journal, Volume 7, Issue 1, 2021, “Trends in Baldwin Criticism, 2017-2019.” He has served as special guest editor for Palimpsest: A Journal on Women, Gender, and the Black International Volume 9, Issue 2, 2020. The special issue titled, Thirty-Year Retrospective of Black Queer Studies, also includes Dean’s essay, “Don’t Forget About Us: James Baldwin, the Black Church, and Black Queer Identity.” Dean has also served as special guest editor for Black Theology: An International Journal Volume 14, Issue 1, 2016. The special issue titled, Afrofuturism in Black Theology – Race, Gender, Sexuality and the State of Black Religion in the Black Metropolis. It also includes Dean’s essay, “Fire This Time: James Baldwin, Futurity, and a Call and Response.”

Dean is the founder, and Director, of the William Payne Innovation Lab for Racial, Social, Political and Communal Sustainability at Denison University. The Lab serves as the research arm of the academic program in the Center for Black Studies. The Payne Innovation Lab, named after Denison University alum William Payne, class of 1906, sponsors lectures, working groups, professional development and academic seminars associated with the Allensworth, California, the first Black colony in California. The Payne Innovation Lab works in partnership with the California State Parks and Smithsonian Museum to preserve the heritage, ideals, and history of Allensworth, California and its founders Col. Allen Allensworth and William Payne.

He is the author of the Essence Magazine best-seller Hiding In Hip Hop - On the Down Low in the Entertainment Industry from Music to Hollywood (Simon & Schuster/Atria Books - May 2008). He is also the author of Reclaim Your Power! A 30-Day Guide to Hope, Healing and Inspiration for Men of Color (Random House/Villard - May 2003); Straight From Your Gay Best Friend – The Straight Up Truth About Relationships, Love, and Having A Fabulous Life (Agate – October 2010); Visible Lives: Three Stories in Tribute to E. Lynn Harris, (Kensington – May 2010). In 2011, Dean made his fiction debut with his novel, MOGUL (Simon & Schuster/Atria Books – June 2011).

Dean’s lecturing and workshops have been featured at noted institutions such as Brown University, Ohio University, The Ohio State University, Syracuse University, Rutgers University, Long Island University, and New York University.

He is a contributing writer to the anthologies, Souls of My Brothers and Always Too Soon. He has been featured in Newsweek, Time magazine, New York Magazine, The Observer UK, Genre, VIBE, Hip Hop Weekly, Toronto NOW, and Essence magazine. He has also appeared across the country, and internationally, on popular syndicated radio shows – NPR, The BBC, Russ Par, The Michael Eric Dyson Show, The Tom Joyner Morning Show, and The Wendy Williams Experience. He has made national television appearances on Fox’s Red Eye, CNN’s Headline News, NBC 10 Philadelphia, ABC 6 Philadelphia, WB 11 New York, and FOX 2 in Detroit. He has also written for The Columbus Dispatch, VIBE, ESSENCE, Huffington Post, The Advocate, The New York Sun, The Tennessean, Fatherhood Today, and The Michigan Chronicle.

B.A. - Communications, Fisk University; Masters of Theological Studies, Vanderbilt University; M.A. - Religion, Vanderbilt University; Ph.D. - Religion, Vanderbilt University

Learning & Teaching

  • Intro to Black Studies
  • Black Sexuality and the Black Church
  • Intro to the Black Urban Experience
  • James Baldwin: Three Ways of Looking at His Life and Writings on Black Love, Racial Justice, and Social Activism
  • Insider/Outsider - The Genealogy of Black LGBT History
  • Mass Incarceration and Carceral Black Bodies
  • Hip Hop as Racial, Socio-Political, and Sexual Justice
  • Black Masculinities
  • Black Women’s Spirit of Justice: Women, Race and Power in the Black Church
  • Video, Race and Rights


  • Black Grace – Black First Ladies of the Black Church, single author (Beacon Press), under contract.
  • Critical Essays in Black Religion, Culture and Religious Criticism, eds. Terrance Dean and, Victor Anderson (Wipf & Stock Publishers/Cascade Books), under contract.
  • “Afrofuturism and Afro-pessimism in Black Religious Thought,” guest editor, Black Theology: An International Journal, V. 19, no. 3 (2021).
  • “A Queer Homiletic Futurity: The Radical Sexuality of James Baldwin” Black Theology: An International Journal, V. 19, no. 3, (2021).
  • “Trends in Baldwin Criticism, 2017-19,” James Baldwin Review, V. 7, no. 1 (September 2021): Pgs. 245-265.
  • “Thirty-Year Retrospective of Black Queer Studies,” guest editor, Palimpsest: A Journal on Women, Gender, and the Black International, V. 9, no. 2, (2020).
  • “Don’t Forget About Us: James Baldwin, the Black Church, and Black Queer Identity,” Palimpsest: A Journal on Women, Gender, and the Black International, V. 9, no. 2, (2020): Pgs. 19-25.
  • “Afrofuturism in Black Theology – Race, Gender, Sexuality, and the State of Black Religion in the Black Metropolis,” guest editor. Black Theology: An International Journal, V. 14, no. 1, (2016). Pp.
  • “Fire This Time: James Baldwin, Futurity, and a Call and Response,” Black Theology: An International Journal, V. 14, no. 1 (2016): Pgs. 69-83.


Professional Service (includes Denison Service)
  • American Academy of Religion – Gay Men in Religion Unit – Steering committee member
  • Palimpsest: A Journal on Women, Gender, and the Black International – Managing Editor
  • The A-Line: A Journal of Progressive Thought – Editorial Board
  • Columbus Public Health Board Initiative, “Race as a Public Health Crisis” – Consultant
  • Westar Institute – Think Tank Fellow
  • The Columbus Dispatch - Editorial Board
  • Desmond Tutu Foundation – Tutu Desk Brand Ambassador
  • Nashville Cares – My House – Counsel Member
  • Meharry Medical College, HIV/AIDS Black MSM HBCU Outreach – Consultant


Grants & Funding
  • The History Makers 2021 Faculty Innovation in Pedagogy and Teaching Fellowship, Fellow - $7,000
  • Denison University Research Foundation, Denison University, 2020 – Award: $14,470
  • Westar Institute Think Tank, Fellow, 2020 – Award: $5,000
  • Research Teaching Fellow, The Callie House Research Center for the Study of Global Black Cultures and Politics; Vanderbilt University – 2016-2019
  • Nichols Humanitarian Fellow, Vanderbilt University, 2016-2017 – Award: $2,300
  • Community Engagement Fellow, Vanderbilt University, 2012-2013 – Award: $1,200