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Dr. Jonathan Chism

Dr. Jonathan L. Chism

Dr. Jonathan L. Chism

Associate Professor of HistoryHistory, Humanities, and Languages


Dr. Jonathan L. Chism is an Associate Professor of History and a fellow for the Center for Critical Race Studies at the University of Houston-Downtown. Exploring intersections between religion, race, disability, and politics, Chism studies diverse ways African American religious groups and figures have resisted racism and otherforms of oppression. His first monograph, Saints in the Struggle: Church of God in Christ Activists in the Memphis Civil Rights Movement, 1954-1968, published with Lexington Books (2019), focused on African American Pentecostals involvements in the Civil Rights Movement in Memphis, TN. Dr. Chism served as the managing editor and contributor of Critical Race Studies Across Disciplines: Resisting Racism through Scholactivism, published with Lexington Books (2021).

Degrees Earned

B.A. Rice University

M.Div. Southern Methodist University

M.A. Rice University

Ph.D. Rice University

Courses Taught

  • United States History to 1877
  • United States History after 1877
  • The History of the New South From 1865
  • The History of the Civil Rights Movement
  • History of Religion in the United States
  • African American History
  • History of Race and Sports

Experience Qualifications

Summary of Qualifications:

Dr. Chism has a PH.D. in Religious Studies (specifically African American religious history). His dissertation involved the description and analysis of African American Pentecostals' contributions to the Civil Rights Movement in Memphis, Tennessee.

Graduate Coursework:

Graduate course work includes 9 hours in HIST and REL courses related to history: Reformation to the present, history of black religion, MLK and Malcolm X, etc.

HIST 583: Southern History

HIST 539: Origins of Afro America

HIST 568: Post-1945 U.S. History

RELI 520: Reformation to the Present

RELI 545: The Study of Black Religion

RELI 546: MLK and Malcolm X

Teaching Experience:

2014-present Lecturer and Tenure Track Professor, UHD

2012-2013-Adjunct, Lone Star College

2011, Graduate Teacher's Assistant, Rice University

Academic Scholarship/Research/Creative Endeavors:


Critical Race Studies Across Disciplines: Resisting Racism through Scholactivism. Editor and Contributor with S.C. DeFreitas, V. Robertson, and D. Ryden. (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2021).

Saints in the Struggle: The Church of God in Christ and the Memphis Civil Rights Movement, 1954-1968. (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2019).

30 Day Journey with Martin Luther King Jr. (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2019).

Breaking Bread, Breaking Beats, co-authored with Anthony Pinn, Christopher Driscoll, Paul Easterling, Biko Gray, Darrius Hills, Jason Jeffries, Terri Laws, Aundrea Matthews, and Margarita Simon Guillory. (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2014).

Selected Articles

'Stony Optic Defies': Interpreting William Seymour's Monocular Vision with a Critical Dis/Ability Lens" Pneuma 45 (2023): 262-281. doi:10.1163/15700747-bja10097

"Go on or Die"?: Historical and Ethical Analysis of Harriet Tubman's Authoritarian Rule to Shoot Feeble Fugitive Slaves. The Journal of Disability and Religion. Published Online, 2022.

"Others Unidentified": Elder Gilbert Earl Patterson's Hidden Contributions to the Memphis Sanitation Workers Strike. The Tennessee Historical Quarterly. Nashville, TN Vol. LXXVIII, No. 2 (Summer 2019):148-185.

More Information


Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board College Readiness and Completion Models Grant, Theresa Case (PI) and Jonathan Chism (Co-PI), awarded 2022.

Transatlantic Mobility Program Grant, Cultural Services French Embassy (DoVeanna Fulton, Principal Investigator; Vida Robertson, Jonathan Chism, and Crystal Guillory—Co-investigators), awarded 2018.

Center for Service Learning and Community Engagement Mini Grant (University of Houston-Downtown), 2015-2018, 2022

Honors And Awards

Campus Compact Engaged Scholars Initiative Cohort (Swarthmore College), 2022-2023

Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence Teaching Circle Award, "Integrating Service Learning into US History After 1877" (University of Houston-Downtown), 2022

Organized Research and Creative Activities Award (University of Houston-Downtown), 2021

National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity Faculty Success Program Sponsored Membership (University of Houston-Downtown), 2020

Alliance for Learning in World History "Teaching the Global African Diaspora" Workshop Cohort (University of Pittsburgh), 2020

Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Citizen of the Year Award, 2014