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Deidre Crumbley

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Growing up in inner city Philadelphia, Deidre Helen Crumbley never imagined that one day she would become an anthropologist.  In fact, as a member of a female-founded millenarian Sanctified church, she really did not expect to reach adulthood before the Parousia; but, when she did, she began to explore religion—and religions. This culminated in a master’s degree from Harvard Divinity School in history of religion, and a Ph.D. from Northwestern University in anthropology, after four years of fieldwork in Nigeria. There, she studied gender and institution-building in an indigenous church movement among the Yoruba people, which is the subject of Spirit, Structure and Flesh: Gendered Experiences in African Instituted Churches (AICs) [2008].  Her book, Saved and Sanctified: The Rise of a Storefront Church in Great Migration Philadelphia [2012], explores religion, gender, and power in the context of the African Diaspora in the United States. Her current research explores biography as a medium of anthropological writing, particularly for exploring the interplay of race, gender, and work in the African Diaspora.  She has taught at the University of Ibadan in Nigeria, West Africa; at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, where she headed African and African American Studies; and at the University of Florida, where she held a joint appointment between the departments of Anthropology and Religion.  Dr. Crumbley’s pedagogical goals are to impart to students holistic, interdisciplinary, and critical thinking skills; a lifelong passion for intellectual inquiry; and, a sense of ease with complexity.


Faculty Advisor: African Students Union

IDS: Self Design Committee


1. Current Research and Book Project: Bernice’s Tale: Gender, Race and Migration in an American Life

2. Sustainable community an urban wetland: Southeast Raleigh’s Walnut Creek Wetland as a case study

3. Toward a pedagogy of interdisciplinarity

Research Publications


2012  Saved and Sanctified: The Rise of a Storefront Church in Great Migration Philadelphia. University Press of Florida.

2008  Spirit, Structure, and Flesh: Gendered Experiences in African Instituted Churches among the Yoruba of Nigeria. University of Wisconsin Press

Refereed Journal Articles

2007  “Miraculous Mothers, Empowered Sons, and Dutiful Daughters: Gender, Race, and Power in an African American Sanctified Church.  Journal of Anthropology and Humanism. Volume 32 Number 1. pp. 2-51

2003  “Patriarchs, Prophets, and Procreation: Sources of Gender Practices in Three African Churches,” Africa, 73/ 4, pp. 584-605

2000  “Also Chosen: Jews in the Imagination and Life of a Black Storefront Church,” Anthropology and Humanism, 25/1, April, pp. 6-23

Book Articles


2009  “Sanctified Saints-Impure Prophetesses: Gender, Purity and Power in Two Afro-Christian Spirit-Privileging Churches.” In The Spirit in the World: Emerging Pentecostal Theologist in Global Contexts. Ed. Veli-Matti Karkkainen.Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.  pp. 115-134. (A Templeton Foundation Funded Book Project)

2008  “From Holy Ground to Virtual Reality: Aladura Gender Practices in cyberspace – An African Diaspora Perspective.”  In Christianity in Africa and the African Diaspora: The Appropriation of a Scattered Heritage. London. Continuum Religious Studies. pp. 126-139

2008  “Raising Saints in Exile: Intergenerational Knowledge Transfer in a Storefront–Sanctified Church Assessment.” In Social Work Practice with African American Families an Intergenerational Perspective [Series: Social Work Practice in Action] Ed. Cheryl Waites. New York: Routledge. pp 69-85

2007  “Gender and Change in an African Immigrant Church: An Anthropologist and a Prophetess Reflect.” Co-written with Prophetess Gloria Cline-Smythe, In African Immigrant Religion in America, edited by Jacob Olupona and Regina Gemignani. New York University Press. pp. 158-181

2006  “Power in the Blood: Menstrual Taboos and Female Power in an African Instituted Church.” In Women and Religion in the African Diaspora, edited by Marie Griffith and Barbara Savage. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 81-97

Journal Guest Editor

2007  “Negotiating the Sacred: Gender, Power, and Religion in Contemporary Asia”.  Co-Editors Shan Shan Du (Tulane) and Hillary Crane (Tufts), and D. H. Crumbley, RELIGION Spring Issue 2007

Review Article

2012  Searching for Africa in Brazil: Power and Tradition in Candomble. [Author: Stefania Capone. Translated from the French by Lucy Lyal Grant. Duke University Press. Durham and London. 2010] In RELIGION: Fall 2012.

Funded Research

Center for Africana Studies (Univ. of Pennsylvania)                       2010

Black Religious Studies Group

University of Pennsylvania Provost’s Office for Interdisciplinary Studies

Emory University: Candler School of Theology                      2009

Consult: Ethnography and Theology

Lilly Endowment

African American and African Studies                                    2004-2005

African Immigrant Religions Project

Ford Foundation Funded at University of California Davis

Women and Religion in the African Diaspora                              2002-2004

Collaborative Research Group

Princeton University: Ford Foundation

Center for the Study of Religion at Princeton University               2001-2002

Florida University System Research Grant                                  1997-1998

Applied at the University of Virginia, C.G. Woodson Center

Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow                                         1991-1992

Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton University                 1991-1992       [Alternate]

Fulbright Hays                                                                           1985-1986

Invited Presentations

2012  Bowdoin College: Black Women and Pentecostalism in Diaspora Symposium.  “Saved, Sanctified and Covered: Gender, Race, and the Body in a Storefront Church”

2011  Northwestern University Program of African Studies.  “Blood and Blessings: Gender and Power in an African Church”

2010  The Zora Neal Hurston Festival of the Arts and the Humanities. “Zora Neale Hurston as Anthropologist: Predecessors, Prohibitions, and Permission”

2010  University of Pennsylvania: The Center for Africana Studies & Provost’s Fund on Interdisciplinary Studies.  “Transatlantic Independent Churches, Storefront Churches, and Family Narratives”

2009  Emory University: Candler School of Theology Consultation on Ethnography and Theology “Researcher-Researched: Ethnography, Theology, and the Methodological Implications of Studying One’s Own”

2004  Princeton University: Women and Religion in the African Diaspora. “Power in the Blood: Menstrual Taboos and Female Power in an African Instituted Church.”

2004  Marquette University: Society for Pentecostal Studies. “African Independent Churches and Menstrual Rites.” Society for Pentecostal Studies

2003  Hirschluch Conference Centre, Berlin, Germany. “From Holy Ground to Virtual Reality: An African American Reflection on Aladura Globalization and Gender Practices,” The Third International Interdisciplinary Conference of the African Christian Diaspora in Europe

2002  Princeton University Symposium. “Patriarchies, Prophets, and Procreation: Gender Practices in Three African Churches,” Princeton University, Center for the Study of Religion Symposium


Ph.D. Anthropology Northwestern University 1989

Area(s) of Expertise

1. Gender, religion, power in Africa and the African Diaspora

2. Uses of ethnographic writing and live narratives to explore social history

3. Sustainable community development in the African Diaspora