Originally from Kirkwood, MO, Matthew Frierdich received his B.A. in History and Government from Drury University, his M.Div from Vanderbilt Divinity School, and his Ph.D. in Political Theory from University of Virginia. Prior to joining the Mizzou faculty as an Assistant Teaching Professor, jointly appointed in the Honors College, Kinder Institute, and Truman School of Government and Public Affairs, he served as a board-certified chaplain at Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville. His dissertation at UVA, entitled “Turning Rubble and Memory into Seeds: Visions of Democracy in Monument Removal,” focuses on how activism around public memorializations of race and racialized violence offer possibilities and pitfalls for the work of social transformation. As memory becomes a popular political vernacular for articulating justice in the U.S. and elsewhere, the project considers how memory activism raises questions about what democratic engagement must become to cultivate new ways of being human.
To stay grounded in an otherwise chaotic world, Dr. Frierdich loves to tend to his garden, mostly vegetables and a few flowers. He also stays invested in Marvel comics, horror films, and anywhere that sells used books. His partner Emily, son Ezra, and cats Zelda and Tish fill up his cup every day.