Ryan Harper


Ryan Harper graduated with his Ph.D from the Department of Religion in 2013. He holds degrees from Southeast Missouri State University (B.S., M.A., English) and Duke University Divinity School (M.T.S.). Ryan has taught courses on American religion, race and religion in the United States, religion and the arts, theory and methods in the study of religion, and Christian history at Princeton University, Swarthmore College, Presbyterian College, New York University, Union Theological Seminary, and Colby College. Ryan’s first book, The Gaithers and Southern Gospel: Homecoming in the Twenty First Century (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2017), is an ethnography of singer-songwriters Bill and Gloria Gaither and their Homecoming concert and video franchise. His second academic book project will focus on contemporary American Christianity and creative writing. A poet and musician, Ryan’s first poetry collection, My Beloved Had a Vineyard (Poetry Press, 2018), won the Prize Americana for Poetry in 2017, and he recently completed a second collection that examines the spirituality, history, and geopolitics of American riverways. He is the co-editor of creative arts for American Religion journal.