Shonda Nicole Gladden is an American Studies PhD student matriculating through the Cultural Ecologies Track at IUPUI with a specialized minor concentration in Nonprofit Leadership through the Paul H. O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Morgan State University and both a Master of Divinity and Master of Theological Studies from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC.

Her research emerges at the intersections of philosophy, film, nonprofit, and cultural studies. Utilizing Womanist and critical visual culture methodologies, her work explores representations of identity and the framing of movements- social, spatial, and spiritual- as cultural productions that inform Blackness, particularly Black female agency and aesthetics, within the colonial project of the Americas.

She has received numerous awards and recognitions, including being named to the 2021 IUPUI Elite 50 cohort, a Reflective Leadership Grant from Leadership Education at Duke Divinity (2018), a Do Good X Fellowship from The Forum for Theological Exploration (2017) and a Wabash Pastoral Leadership Award from Lilly Endowment, Inc. (2014). Vocationally, she is an Itinerant Elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the CEO of Good to the SOUL, a social enterprise that energizes individuals and institutions to flourish and do good, especially good that promotes the “spirit of universal liberation” (SOUL) and the Associate Pastor at Crossroads AME Church in Indianapolis, IN. She remains actively engaged in the landscape of religion in the public square through organizing with Faith in Indiana, The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, and The Ministerium.

Working Dissertation Title: The Soil of Our Grandmothers Gardens: Womanist Visual Culture Unearthed from the Plantation of Antebellum America

AMST Track: IAHI Cultural Ecologies Project

As a graduate research assistant in the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute (IAHI), Shonda Nicole has conducted research funded by the National Endowment of the Arts and New America. During the 2021-2022 academic year she will hold a graduate research fellowship in the Religion, Spirituality, and the Arts Seminar.