National Institute on Aging

In Memoriam: Terrance Dean, 1968-2022

Terrance Dean, an assistant professor of Black studies at Denison University in Granville, Ohio, has died. He had reently spent time in the hospital and was found dead in his home in Columbus during a wellness check by police . He was 53 years old.

Dr. Dean was a graduate of Fisk University in Nashville, where he majored in communication. He held two master’s degrees and a Ph.D. in religion and African American diaspora studies from Vanderbilt University.

Dr. Dean’s research interests included gender, sex, sexuality, Black religion and homiletics, rhetoric and communication, the African diaspora, Black cultural studies, James Baldwin, and Afrofuturism. At Dension, he founded and directed 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.

Before joining the faculty at Denison University in 2019, Dr. Dean was a journalist and an executive for the MTV network. Earlier this year, he was named the inaugural Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson Scholar-in- Residence at the Columbus Museum of Art. Dr. Dean also served on the editorial board opf The Columbus Dispatch. He was the author of several books including Hiding in Hip-Hop: On the Down Low in the Entertainment Industry – From Music to Hollywood (Atria Books, 2008).


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