Assistant Professor, Black Studies
Founder, William Payne Innovation Lab
Dr. Terrance Dean is an Assistant Professor in Black Studies at Denison University. He received his PhD in Religion and African American Diaspora Studies from Vanderbilt University. His research interests include gender, sex, sexuality, Black religion and Homiletics, Rhetoric and Communication, African Diaspora, Black Cultural Studies, James Baldwin, and Afrofuturism. Dean earned his Master’s in Theology from Vanderbilt Divinity School, and, is a John Seigenthaler Journalism Fellow from Vanderbilt University. He is a Tutu Desk Brand Ambassador for the Archbishop Desmond Tutu Foundation, and he also serves on the editorial board for The Columbus Dispatch helping to bring awareness and visibility to marginalized groups of people, particularly people of color.
Dean has written for the James Baldwin Review Journal, Volume 7, Issue 1, 2021, “Trends in Baldwin Criticism, 2017-2019.” He has served as special guest editor for Palimpsest: A Journal on Women, Gender, and the Black International Volume 9, Issue 2, 2020. The special issue titled, Thirty-Year Retrospective of Black Queer Studies, also includes Dean’s essay, “Don’t Forget About Us: James Baldwin, the Black Church, and Black Queer Identity.” Dean has also served as special guest editor for Black Theology: An International Journal Volume 14, Issue 1, 2016. The special issue titled, Afrofuturism in Black Theology – Race, Gender, Sexuality and the State of Black Religion in the Black Metropolis. It also includes Dean’s essay, “Fire This Time: James Baldwin, Futurity, and a Call and Response.”
Dean is the founder, and Director, of the William Payne Innovation Lab for Racial, Social, Political and Communal Sustainability at Denison University. The Lab serves as the research arm of the academic program in the Center for Black Studies. The Payne Innovation Lab, named after Denison University alum William Payne, class of 1906, sponsors lectures, working groups, professional development and academic seminars associated with the Allensworth, California, the first Black colony in California. The Payne Innovation Lab works in partnership with the California State Parks and Smithsonian Museum to preserve the heritage, ideals, and history of Allensworth, California and its founders Col. Allen Allensworth and William Payne.
He is the author of the Essence Magazine best-seller Hiding In Hip Hop - On the Down Low in the Entertainment Industry from Music to Hollywood (Simon & Schuster/Atria Books - May 2008). He is also the author of Reclaim Your Power! A 30-Day Guide to Hope, Healing and Inspiration for Men of Color (Random House/Villard - May 2003); Straight From Your Gay Best Friend – The Straight Up Truth About Relationships, Love, and Having A Fabulous Life (Agate – October 2010); Visible Lives: Three Stories in Tribute to E. Lynn Harris, (Kensington – May 2010). In 2011, Dean made his fiction debut with his novel, MOGUL (Simon & Schuster/Atria Books – June 2011).
Dean has worked in the entertainment industry for over 15 years with heavy hitters such as Spike Lee, Rob Reiner, Keenan Ivory Wayans, and Anjelica Houston. He has worked with television and film production companies such as B.E.T., Savoy Television, Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros. Pictures, and Sony Pictures. Dean also worked with MTV Networks for several years helping to produce live award shows and events including MTV Video Music Awards, Movie Awards, Hip Hop Honors, Rock Honors, Sports & Music Festival, and Choose or Lose.
Dean’s lecturing and workshops have been featured at noted institutions such as Brown University, Ohio University, The Ohio State University, Syracuse University, Rutgers University, Long Island University, and New York University.
He is a contributing writer to the anthologies, Souls of My Brothers and Always Too Soon. He has been featured in Newsweek, Time magazine, New York Magazine, The Observer UK, Genre, VIBE, Hip Hop Weekly, Toronto NOW, and Essence magazine. He has also appeared across the country, and internationally, on popular syndicated radio shows – NPR, The BBC, Russ Par, The Michael Eric Dyson Show, The Tom Joyner Morning Show, and The Wendy Williams Experience. He has made national television appearances on Fox’s Red Eye, CNN’s Headline News, NBC 10 Philadelphia, ABC 6 Philadelphia, WB 11 New York, and FOX 2 in Detroit. He has also written for The Columbus Dispatch, VIBE, ESSENCE, Huffington Post, The Advocate, The New York Sun, The Tennessean, Fatherhood Today, and The Michigan Chronicle.