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PhD Student Profile: Bryson White

Area of Study: Theological and Ethical Studies


Bryson White

Bryson White is the son of Paul and Sheila White of Fresno, California. He holds master’s degrees in theology and intercultural studies from Fuller Theological Seminary, and a bachelor’s degree in political science from California State University at Northridge. White comes into the academy from the field of community organizing with the PICO National Network (now FIA) in his hometown of Fresno, California. As an organizer, Bryson organized clergy and lay leaders on issues such as: mass incarceration, police accountability, housing reform, and gun violence reduction.


Bryson’s work looks at the ways in which Christian theologies come to inform carceral realities in the lives of Black and dispossessed persons. Particularly, he studies the ways in which Christian theologies as anti-Black discourse shape the theo-mythology of the ontological black criminal which manifest themselves through the mass incarceration of Black people. He is interested in liberation theologies, theological anthropology, eschatology, democracy and freedom movements, carceral studies, Tupac Shakur, and American religious history. His dissertation titled, Racial Rapture: Mass Incarceration as Distorted Eschatology, has been funded by the Louisville Dissertation Fellowship for the 2021-2022 academic year. White is also a twice selected Forum for Theological Exploration (FTE) Doctoral Fellow.


White is an ordained Baptist minister and currently serves as the Regional Faith Leadership Coordinator for Faith In the Valley, a faith-based community organizing network in California’s Central Valley. White is also a kidney transplant recipient of 19 years years and currently serves as a board member of Donor Network West, an organ, eye, and tissue outreach and procurement organization.


White is married to the lovely Jennifer White of Richmond, California and they are the parents of the wonderful Kairos Grey White.




Selected Fellowships


  • Louisville Dissertation Fellowship, 2021-2022.
  • Forum for Theological (FTE), Doctoral Fellow (Funded), 2019-2020.
  • Forum for Theological Exploration (FTE), Doctoral Fellow (Funded), 2018-2019.
  • Forum for Theological Exploration (FTE), Doctoral Fellow, 2016-17.


Papers and Publications


Evangelist of Incarceration? Billy Graham as Symbol for the Religious Problem of Mass Incarceration.” Black Theology Papers Project, Volume 4, Number 1 (2018). Retrieved from https://journals.library.columbia.edu/index.php/btpp/article/view/3865.


“A Christ-Centered Approach to Community Organizing across Ethnic, Cultural, and Faith Sectors.” Out of Nazareth: Christ-Centered Civic Engagement in Unlikely Places. Urban Loft, 2017.


“Death of the Ring Shout: African-American Ancestor Veneration, Africana Theology and George Washington.” Black Theology: An International Journal, Volume 12, Number 1. April 2014. Pages 44-57.



Selected Academic Presentations


“What Does Vietnam have to do with San Quentin? The Incarcerated Black Pose as Source for Theological Method.” Section: Pictures and the Politics of Visual Culture. Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion (Virtual Gathering), December 7th, 2020.


“Evangelist of Incarceration? Billy Graham as Symbol for the Religious Problem of Mass Incarceration.” Black Theologies Unit. Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion, Denver, 2018.


“Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos: The Prison Industrial Complex as White Supremacist Realized Eschatology.” Liberation Theologies Unit. Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion, Denver, 2018.


“Africana Theology, Ancestor Veneration, and George Washington.” Black Theology Group. Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion, Atlanta, 2010.