Curriculum Vitae 

James Howard Hill, Jr.


Ph.D. Northwestern University, Religious Studies, 2022  

              Mellon Cluster Fellow in Comparative Race and Diaspora  

             Advisor: Robert A. Orsi 

                          Dissertation Committee: Sylvester A. Johnson and Jennifer C. Nash

M.T.S. Southern Methodist University, Theological and Ethical StudiesSumma Cum Laude, 2016 

B.A. Criswell College, Religion (Minor in Philosophy), Presidential Scholar, 2014 

Academic Appointments

Assistant Professor, Religious Studies (University of Oklahoma) 2021-Present



“All That Noise is About America: Religion, Antiblackness, and Michael Jackson” (forthcoming)


Book Chapters

“Religion and the Politics of Black Popular Culture,” in “The Routledge History of U.S. Religion and Politics,” Cara Burnidge and Lauren Turek eds., Routledge Press (forthcoming)

“Something Like Sanctified: Theopoetics, Popular Culture, and Sensitive Black Men” in “Theopoetics in Color,” Lakisha Lockhart and Tomi eds. Eerdman Books (forthcoming)

“Donald Trump and the Privilege of Outrage,” in “Doing Theology in the Age of Trump,” Clayton Crockett and Jeffrey Robbins eds. Cascade Books

Peer-Review Journal Articles and Open-Access Publications 

“Michael Jackson and the Religious Imagination,” Bloomsbury Religion in North America (forthcoming)

“As the World Burns: Teaching Parable of the Sower in the Wake of the Pandemic” The National Teaching & Learning Forum

“Maddened Pedagogies: Teaching Religion and Black Popular Culture” Indiana University Center for Religion & the Human, September 17, 2021

“The Black Church and the Black Fantastic: Black Religious Experience in Popular Culture” Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs,, April 8, 2021

“Watchmen, Haunting, and the Religious Imagination” Black Perspectives,, February 12, 2020 

“Kneeling and the (Re)Signification of the Black Fantastic” Black Agenda Report,, November 8, 2017 

 “God Forgive Me for My Brash Delivery: My Journey into Hip Hop Theopoetics” Syndicate, Vol.3, No. 1, 2016, edited by Christian Amondson

Book Reviews 

“Review of Global Christianity and the Black Atlantic: Tuskegee, Colonialism, and the Shaping of African Industrial Education by Andrew E. Barnes. Political Science Review, 2020  

Selected Presentations, Panels, and Guest Lectures

“Real Lives and Real Presence: A Roundtable on Robert Orsi’s Contributions to the Study of Religion.” CO-SPONSORED SESSION: Catholic Studies and Cultural History in the Study of Religion Unit, American Academy of Religion, Denver, Colorado, November 2022

“The Pained Blackwitness of Little Michael Jackson.” The Childhood Studies and Religion Unit, American Academy of Religion Annual Conference, Denver, Colorado, November 2022

“Black Religious Ephemera, Archives of Conjure, and Memory.” Americana Studies Association Annual Conference, New Orleans, Louisiana, November 2022

“Are We the World? Critical Geography, Neverland, and Michael Jackson’s Bad Witness.” American Studies Association Annual Conference, New Orleans, Louisiana, November 2022

“Haunting Joy: Memory, Family Home Videos, and the Strangeness of Estrangement” (Guest Lecture). Holy Cross University, Worcester, Massachusetts, Wednesday April 13, 2022

“Keepers of the Dream: The Black Witness of the Jackson 5 (Women’s and Gender Studies Speaker Series),” University of Oklahoma, Wednesday, April 6, 2022

“Black Religion and Black Study” (Featured Speaker). University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Lafayette, Louisiana, March 11, 2022

“Religion and the Theopoetics of Black Popular Culture” (Guest Lecture). Brite Divinity School, Fort Worth, Texas, Wednesday, March 30, 2022

“Afrofuturism, Parable of the Sower, and the Black Fantastic” (Guest Lecture). Brown University, Ithaca, New York, February 9, 2022

“Hip Hop and Religion in the Wake of the Movement for Black Lives” (Guest Lecturer). The New School, New York, New York, October 21, 2021 

“Theopoetics and Hip Hop” (Guest Lecturer). University of Boston, Boston, Massachusetts, February 2021

“Race, Religion, and Michael Jackson” (Guest Lecturer). Crozer Theological Seminary, Upland Pennsylvania, November 2020

“Undecidable Blackness: Race, Religion, and the Michael Jackson Cacophony” (Guest 

Lecturer). North Park University, Chicago, Illinois, October 31, 2019  

 “Colin Kaepernick and the Resignification of the Black (Athletic) Body. Religion Sport and 

Play Unit, American Academy of Religion Annual Conference, Denver, Colorado, November 17-20, 2018 

“Michael Jackson’s Apocalypticism, Trumpian Dystopia, and the Hip-Hop Afterlives of They

Don’t Care About Us.” CO-SPONSORED SESSION: Black Theology Unit and Critical 

Approaches to Hip Hop and Religion Unit, American Academy of Religion Annual Conference, Denver, Colorado, November 17-20, 2018 

“I’ll Be Grotesque Before Your Eyes: Black Religion, Michael Jackson, and the Monstrosity of 

Racial Performativity” Black Spirituality Group, Pop Conference at Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP). Seattle, Washington. April 26-29, 2018 

“Ain’t My Type of Hype, or, Play’s Clearing: House Party and the Transmogrification of the 

New Jack Hush Harbor.” Politics of Movement: Racialization, Religion, Migration. Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois. April 7-8, 2018 

“Chicago, Black Popular Music, and the Great Migration.” Alice Kaplan Institute for the 

Humanities: Humanities Plunge Program. Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois. March 30, 2018 

Phonoaesthesia and the (Theo)Poetics of Black Performance.” Theopoetics Conference. Auburndale, MA. March 9-10, 2018 

“Radical Theology, Radical Politics, and Race” (Panelist). Association for Theopoetic Research and Exploration’s (ATRE’s) Working Group, American Academy of Religion Annual Conference, Boston, Massachusetts. December 24, 2017

“The Transnational Legacy of Ella Little-Collins: Race, Boston, and Decolonial Black Islamic 

Thought.” Afro-American Religious History Group, American Academy of Religion Annual Conference, Boston, Massachusetts. December 24, 2017 

“Ida B. Wells and the Afterlives of Lynching”, (Guest Lecturer). Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, November 14, 2017 

“The Tunes Written in Our Flesh: Approaching Theopoetics from the Perspective of Hip Hop 

(Para)Ontology.” Theopoetics Working Group, American Academy of Religion Annual Conference, Atlanta Georgia, November 22, 2015. “ 

Why Did You Strike Me? Christian Attitudes Towards Police Brutality”, (Guest Lecturer). Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas, November 13, 2014. 

External Awards, Fellowships, and Recognition

The Crossroads Project (Housed in Princeton University’s Center for the Study of Religion – Funded by Henry Luce Foundation) – Fellow, 2022

Sacred Writes Public Scholarship Fellow (Funded by Henry Luce Foundation), 2021 

Louisville Dissertation Fellowship, 2020 

Rubem Alves Award for Theopoetics, 2020 

Heidelberg Center for American Studies Spring Academy (Heidelberg, Germany) -selectee, 2020 

Forum for Theological Exploration: Doctoral Fellow, 2019-2020

Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion: Teaching Seminar selected, 2019 

Forum for Theological Exploration, Doctoral Fellow, 2018-2019 

Louisville Doctoral Fellowship, 2017-2018 

Forum for Theological Exploration: Professional Development for Doctoral Students Cohort, 2016-2017 

Forum for Theological Exploration: Mentorship Grant, 2014 

Internal Awards, Fellowships, and Recognition

George Bond Teaching Award Finalist, 2020 

Northwestern University: (MFA) Creative Nonfiction Writing Workshop (selected), 2019 

George Bond Teaching Award, Finalist, 2018 

Social Science Research Council- Dissertation Proposal Development (DPD) Program for Doctoral Students Cohort, 2018 

Northwestern University: Mellon Cluster Fellowship (Comparative Race and Diaspora), 2016 

Perkins School of Theology: The B’Nai B’Rith Award for Scholarly Competence and Personal 

Commitment to Social Ethics: 2016 

Perkins School of Theology: Martin Luther King Jr/Oscar Romero Scholarship Award, 2014, 2015 

United Methodist Church: General Board and Higher Education and Ministry: Graduate Student 

Scholarship, 2015 

United Methodist Church: General Board and Higher Education and Ministry: Graduate Student Scholarship, 2014 

Criswell College: Presidential Scholarship, 2011 



Teaching Experience 

Religion and Social Change (forthcoming), (University of Oklahoma), 2023 

Religion and Black Politics, (University of Oklahoma), 2022

Religion and Black Popular Music (University of Oklahoma), 2022

Introduction to Religious Studies (University of Oklahoma), 2021-2022

Teaching Assistant- Introduction to Islam with Brannon Ingram (Northwestern University), 2020 

Teaching Assistant- Introduction to the New Testament with Laura Dingeldein (Northwestern University), 2020 

Teaching Assistant- Religion and Bioethics with Cristina Traina (Northwestern University), 2019 

Teaching Assistant- Introduction to American Religious History, Section Two with Robert Orsi (Northwestern University), 2019 

Teaching Assistant- Introduction to Buddhism with George Bond (Northwestern University), 2018 

Teaching Assistant- Introduction to American Religious History with Robert Orsi (Northwestern University), 2017 

Instructor, International Baptist Convention (Interlaken, Switzerland) (Criswell College), 2012 


Research Experience 

Graduate Research Assistant –Dr. Joerg Rieger (Southern Methodist University), 2014 –2016 

Research Assistant–North Texas Jobs with Justice, 2014-2016 

Student Delegate to El Salvador (Southern Methodist University), 2016 

Student Delegate to Cuba (Criswell College), 2014 

Additional Academic Service and Non-Profit Administrative Work Experience 

Panelist- “Fellowships: The Why, The When, The How.” Society of Biblical Literature, Denver, Colorado, November 2022

Panelist – “Marginalized Identities and the Job Search: Graduate Student Life.” (University of Oklahoma), 2022

Co-Organizer – Buffett Institute for Global Studies Graduate Student Conference (Northwestern University), 2018 

Youth and Young Adult Pastor – Highland Hills United Methodist Church (Dallas, Texas), 2014-2016

Intern, International Baptist Convention (Kaiserslautern, Germany) (Criswell College), 2012 

Assistant Program Director – The Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club (Waxahachie, Texas), 2010-2011


American Academy of Religion (AAR) 

American Studies Association (ASA) 

Popular Culture Association (PCA) 

African American Intellectual History Society (AAIHS)