About Nicole Symmonds, PhD


I am a Christian social ethicist who focuses on women, gender, and sexuality, particularly the lived, embodied experience of Black women in North America. I am particularly interested in Black women’s perceptions and performance of liberation, agency, and autonomy in social structures. My current research project, Trafficking in God: Exploring Racialization in Faith-Based Commercial Sex Trade Interventions, analyzes the racialized history and practices of Evangelical mission workers committed to abolishing commercial sex work in North America. In turn, I am interested in how this work impacts the lives of Black and other non-white women engaged in the commercial sex trade.

I hold a Ph.D. from Emory University’s Graduate Division of Religion with a focus in Ethics & Society; a certificate from Emory’s Women’s, gender, and Sexuality Studies program, a Master of Divinity with an emphasis in theology and ethics from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University, and a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from Florida A&M University.


  1. Jeff Carr says:

    Nicole – I heard you moderate the intersectionality panel via RHAP. Thanks for doing this and great job moderating the group.

    Good luck on the PhD candidate program at Emory. Your research sounds very interesting and is something I’ve never seen before. You mentioned you’re still a practicing Catholic. We belong to what I think is the most liberal and inclusive Catholic Church in Georgia; Shrine of the Immaculate Conception downtown. If you ever wanted to interview individuals for your research, the pastor, Father Henry could be a good resource. The church has still decided not to have public masses but he can be reached.

    As a geographical aside, my daughter’s high school was Ben Franklin Academy; across the street from Emory and Katie is an incoming freshman at Agnes Scott in a month.

    Thanks again and best of luck with your PhD pursuit! – Jeff


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