Staff Profiles

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Dr. Bryant Simon

Academic Chair

brysimon@temple.edu
(he/him)

Bryant is the inaugural Academic Chair of University Honors.  After teaching at the California Institute of Technology and the University of Georgia, Bryant came to Temple in 2004.  From the moment he arrived on campus, he regularly taught in the Honors Program, developing new classes that engaged the places and community around Temple.  For instance, he put together a class on the Uptown Theater, just north of Temple’s campus.  The main classroom for former Temple students, Hall and Oates, the Uptown was Philly’s version of the famed Apollo Theatre, where every great soul and R & B act from Ray Charles to the Temptations to the Jackson 5 played when they were in town.  He also developed an honors class on the Rocky franchise, where his students watched and discuss every single film in the series and took a four-hour tour of the city with a Rocky impersonator.   He hopes to encourage other faculty members to develop their own “dream” classes.   

A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (twice for his BA and PhD), Bryant is the Laura H. Carnell professor of history and 2020 recipient of Temple's Great Teacher Award. His essays and commentary has appeared in the Washington PostNew Republic, the Root.comChristian Science MonitorPublic Books, and the Philadelphia Inquirer.  In addition, he has appeared as a talking head in documentaries about Starbucks, the history of American Food, blue jeans, the Jersey shore, and Alabama-based rock and roll band, the Drive-By Truckers.  Bryant is an Organization of American Historians Distinguished Speaker, an elected member of the Society of the American Historians, and the President of the Southern Labor Studies Association.  Bryant is currently working on a book about the history of the public bathroom in the United States.   

A native of the Vineland, NJ, the largest (by area) city in the Garden State, Bryant now lives with his family and his mom's aging and anxious dog in West Philadelphia and Ventnor.  When he isn’t taking pictures of public bathrooms or discarded masks (his own pandemic documentary project with a couple of college friends), you can find him at the West Philly Y or listening to podcast on the Boardwalk.