Michael J. Altman
I'm a Ph.D. candidate studying American Religious Cultures in the Graduate Division of Religion. I earned my M.A. in Religion from Duke University in 2008 and my B.A. in Religious Studies and English from the College of Charleston in 2002. My research focuses on representations of India and Hinduism in 19th century American culture. In my dissertation I analyze how various Americans imagined Hinduism during the nineteenth century, how these imagined American Hinduisms were fashioned through global and transnational exchanges, and how Americans used these American representations of Hinduism to construct categories for what did and did not count as "American." I will be completing the dissertation in the spring of 2013. You can find more about me and my work at http://michaeljaltman.net
Brian G. Campbell
My research focuses on religion and nature in American culture, with particular attention to spirituality and sense of place. My dissertation, Alone in America: Solitude, Nature, and the Sacred from Walden to the World Wide Web, is a cultural and environmental history of solitude. I draw on archival sources, oral history interviews and online ethnography to examine the stories of individuals who choose to live alone. The dissertation culminates with analysis of the fascinating but largely hidden flourishing of contemporary hermits.
I have taught courses in Religion and Environmental Studies, and I currently hold the Sustainability Teaching Fellowship through the Office of University-Community Partnerships. I have a B.A. in religion from Davidson College and a M.Div. from Pacific School of Religion.
Meredith F. Coleman-Tobias
My research interests consider North American iterations of African Atlantic religious cultures. I am specifically interested in embodied knowledge production in the Spiritual Baptist faith tradition, which I began to study during my tenure as a Fulbright student in Barbados (2009-2010). I received the B.A. (summa cum laude) from Spelman College in 2006 and the M.Div. (cum laude) from Yale Divinity School in 2009.
I am a first year PhD student in the Graduate Division of Religion studying the evolution of sacred song in rural Appalachia. I received my B.A. in Music from Barnard College in 2003 and investigated rural singing traditions while pursuing a Masters in Appalachian Studies: Roots and Music from Appalachian State University in 2010. My research examines the emergence and representation of Appalachian identity through the lens of sacred music, examining dualities that illustrate the complexity of regional religious traditions, including the distinction between rural and urban styles, old and new influences, formal and informal approaches, and participatory versus performative worship. Other research interests include virtual faith-based communities and the role religious groups play in shaping the parameters of civil discourse.
Jamil W. Drake
I am a doctoral candidate in the Graduate Division of Religion with a concentration in American Religious Cultures. I earned my B.A. from Morehouse College in 2004 and M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary in 2007. I also completed the Th.M. from Candler School of Theology in 2010.
My research examines folklore studies and the making of African American religion in late 19th and 20th century industrial America. I will also consider the consequences of folklore studies in determining African Americans' "place" in American society and national culture. My areas of teaching are 19th and 20th century American religious history, theories and methods of religion, and 19th and 20th century African-American history. I am a graduate fellow at the Office of University-Community working with communities in Northwest Atlanta.
Susannah Laramee Kidd
Comparative Literature and Religion
My research interests include gender and American Protestantisms, the ethnography of reading, and theory and methods in the study of religion. I am completing a dissertation that describes genres of reading practices among 5 groups of Protestant women in conversation with philosophical hermeneutics and feminist conceptions of agency and subjectivity. Here at Emory, I am a concentrator in the program in Religious Practices and Practical Theology and a certificate student in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies. I earned my M.T.S. from Boston University School of Theology (in philosophy and theology) and my B.A. from the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at New York University (focusing on linguistics, literary theory, and French).
Samira K. Mehta
My current project, A Cultural History of the Christian/Jewish Blended Family 1965-2010, addresses conversations around Christian/Jewish marriage and family as well as the experiences and ritual practices of those families. I consider the ways interfaith families self-understand categories of religion and culture and how gender and sexuality impact and are impacted by interfaith relationships and parenting.
Currently a Robert W. Woodruff Library Fellow, I have been a Northeastern Consortium for Faculty Diversity Dissertation Fellow at Allegheny College and a Graduate Fellow at the Sloan Foundation's Center for Myth and Ritual in American Life at Emory. I have an article forthcoming in a Columbia University Press anthology on religion, food, and eating in North America and am a founding staff member and former managing editor of the online journal Practical Matters. I received an MDiv degree from Harvard University and a BA in English, religion, and women’s studies from Swarthmore College.
My work focuses on Christian theological ethics, modern social philosophy, and contemporary theories of virtue. These interests intersect in my dissertation, which begins by situating politics within a theological framework defined by the conviction that for Christians the eschatological Kingdom of God represents the paradigmatic political communion and the realistic recognition that evil currently inhibits human beings from perfectly embodying such a politics. Using this account as a lens it articulates a constructive Christian political ethic that fundamentally engages the work of Reinhold Niebuhr and Stanley Hauerwas. I hold a B.A. from Allegheny College and an M.Div. from Duke Divinity School.
I am a Ph.D. candidate in the “Ethics and Society” field of Emory’s Graduate Division of Religion. My research focuses on the intersections of religion, law, and politics. I analyzed in my thesis at Union Theological Seminary (NY) Friedrich von Hayek’s critique of “social justice” and its appropriation by American Christian theologians. I am currently working on a dissertation entitled, “Secular Purpose Tests, 1815-2012: The Moral Logics of Separating Civil and Religious Law in U.S. Courts.” This project maps the evolution of a legal doctrine known as the secular purpose test, and evaluates its role in shaping legislative discourse. When I’m not working in one of Emory’s libraries or coffee shops, you can find me exploring the outdoors with my wife and daughters.
My research focuses on the ethical implications of systemic unearned privilege, particularly the temptations and dangers of trying to draw on privilege as a tool in movements for social change. Currently, I am interested in theological framings of power and love and am asking: which theologies best help us engage in justice activism and thoughtfully enter relationships of solidarity and accountability? Prior to beginning Ph.D. studies, I worked with Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) as an international accompanier and nonviolent activist—mostly in Colombia and the West Bank of Palestine—and my research questions emerge from those experiences with CPT. Here at Emory, I am in the Religion, Conflict and Peacebuilding concentration. Other interests of mine include sustainability, contemplative practice, feminist and womanist thought, and uses of narrative in ethics and theology.
Categories of space and place discipline my approach to religion and culture in United States history. While my general interests extend through American religious history, comparative colonialisms, cultural studies, and theory and method in the study of religion, most of my prior research has examined the role of cartographic practice and geographic consciousness in the development of American religious imaginaries. I am interested in how the scientific development of cartography intersects with American religious attitudes toward land and place. In my work, geographic representations figure as cultural and religious artifacts in their own right, but also as methodological problems for students and scholars of religion: they provide an important site for rethinking the ways in which “place,” “space,” and “sacred space” are deployed within religious studies discourses. Before coming to Emory, I took an M.Div. at Yale University (2012) and a B.A. at the University of the South (2008), where I was initiated into a shameless love of the map.
James W. McCarty, III
My research interests include the role of religion in conflict and peacebuilding, the ethics of forgiveness, justice, and reconciliation after violent conflict, and the intersection of religion, race, and politics in the United States and South Africa. I have published on these themes in Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics, St. John's Law Review, West Virginia Law Review, and Practical Matters. More specifically, my dissertation explores the relationship of justice to reconciliation in transitional societies. Drawing from Christian theology and ethics, political philosophy, human rights law, and institutional theory, I argue that justice and reconciliation are interdependent in transitional societies. I earned a B.A. in Religion from Pepperdine University and an M.A. in Ethics from Claremont School of Theology. More information about my work and professional activities can be found online at http://emory.academia.edu/JamesMcCarty
Jermaine M. McDonald
I am a doctoral candidate in the Ethics and Society course of study in Emory's Graduate Division of Religion. As an ordained minister in the historic Black Baptist church, I have a keen interest in religious rhetoric within progressive/liberal U.S. political discourse and the ways in which Black Baptist churches have historically and contemporarily connected church mission and liberationist ideals with public/political goals. My dissertation, "The Canonization of Martin Luther King, Jr. – Collective Memory, Civil Religion, and the Reconstruction of an American Hero" explores how America's memory of Martin Luther King, Jr. serves as a marker for American ideals and identity. I have a B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Virginia and an M.Div. from the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University. More information about me, my work, and my activities can be found at http://jermainemmcdonald.wordpress.com.
I am a first year PhD student in the Graduate Division of Religion with a concentration in Ethics and Society. Prior to earning my M.T.S. degree at Candler School of Theology in 2011, I discovered my passion for ethics while working on social justice issues both domestically and internationally. From 2004-2006, I partnered with a rural women’s development organization as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ghana, West Africa. Until my return to academia in 2010, I served local churches in Anchorage, Alaska as a community organizer, walking with ordinary folks to address quality of life issues in their neighborhoods. Growing out of those experiences, the focus of my research is narrative ethics or rather how story-telling functions in moral agency and formation. Of particular interest is how we engage ethically with those who are meaningfully different from ourselves. The works of Martha Nussbaum and Miroslav Volf have been major influences thus far..
I am a first year PhD student in the Graduate Division of Religion’s Ethics and Society course of study. My research will consider the possibility of causal connections between peaceful interreligious practices and peaceful ecological practices, especially the religious anthropologies which might undergird such habits. This interest come from my experience as a Nazarene associate pastor and community gardener manager, my MDiv studies at Vanderbilt Divinity School, my undergraduate studies in biology at Trevecca Nazarene University, and a brief but important stint at Au Sable Institute of Environmental Studies in the Pacific Northwest. Currently, I am hopeful that ethnographic study of L’Arche communities’ ecological practices might inform my research.
I am a third year doctoral student in the Ethics and Society course of study and a member of Emory's Religion, Conflict and Peacebuilding Initiative. In addition to the intersection of violence and religion, I am interested in theological and philosophical ethics; ethics, violence and subjectivity; method in ethics; and the sociology of morality. I am planning to focus my dissertation on what virtue ethics can contribute to our understanding of mass violence, as well as how violence challenges our notions of virtue. Over the past few years, I have helped develop and teach courses in Christian Ethics, Religion and Development, and Buddhism and Activism. I have also presented papers and published on the war in Bosnia during the 1990s, especially on the role of religion and pilgrimage. I received an MDiv from Harvard University and a BA from Georgetown University. I have also lived or worked in Kenya, Bosnia and Turkey and, in between, have found some time to publish a few poems.
Having previously earned a B.A. from Princeton University and an M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary, I am now a fourth year Ph.D. candidate studying Hebrew Bible through Emory's Graduate Division of Religion. My dissertation, which is titled "Reading Images, Seeing Texts: Toward a Visual Hermeneutics for Biblical Iconography," explores how contemporary theories about visual culture and visual semiotics can inform and advance the methods and practices by which biblical scholars utilize ancient iconography in their study of the Hebrew Bible. This research seeks not only to shed new light on the role of visual materials and practices in the formation, expression, and transmission of Israelite religion, but also to further the "pictorial turn" that has characterized the intellectual discourse of the humanities and social sciences in the past two decades. My research interests also includes rhetorical criticism, biblical theology, and the reception of the Hebrew Bible in contemporary American culture.
My research interests include ancient divination, the material culture of ancient Israel, speech act theory and rhetorical criticism. My primary interest lies in the theology of intercession against foretold doom in the Hebrew Bible and ancient Near East. In my dissertation I compare biblical narratives such as the story of the Golden Calf with Hittite and Neo-Assyrian rituals against bad omens. I received an MA in Jewish Studies from Emory in 2006 and expect to defend my dissertation this year.
I am a first year PhD student in the Graduate Division of Religion. I completed my BM in Music and English Literature from Wheaton College and my MA in Biblical Exegesis at Wheaton Graduate School. My current areas of interest are the wisdom perspectives in the Hebrew Bible and the integration of cognitive science, material culture, rhetorical criticism, and literary theory with their interpretation and reception by their reading communities. In these investigations I hope to analyze the communicative force of these ancient portraits of world order and their proposed pathway to human flourishing within the religious practices of both their culture of origin as well as the traditions that they have influenced.
Michael J. Chan
I am a Ph.D. student in the Hebrew Bible program at Emory University. Before beginning at Emory, I completed a Bachelor’s Degree at Pacific Lutheran University (Major: Elementary Education, Minor: Classics) and a Master’s Degree at Luther Seminary (Master of Arts in Old Testament). My research focuses on how literary and art-historical evidence from the ancient Near East illuminates the Hebrew Bible. As with all literature, the Hebrew Bible both reflects and transforms the concepts, ideologies, and assumptions it inherits from the culture in which it was written. I am especially interested in capturing moments of transformation, when historical circumstances, cultural traditions, and human creativity converge to produce fresh insights and new twists on old ideas. My dissertation focuses on texts that depict foreign nations bringing their wealth to Jerusalem/Zion. The notion that foreign nations would bring their wealth to an imperial center has a rich history in the art and literature of the ancient Near East, and my dissertation shows how the Hebrew Bible both adopts and adapts this notion. Please feel free to contact me: email@example.com.
I am a second-year Ph.D. student in the Hebrew Bible course of study and am also completing a certificate in Jewish Studies through the Tam Institute for Jewish Studies. My research interests include ancient Israelite religion, Second Temple Judaism, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the composition of the Hebrew Bible. I am currently interested in working on a dissertation project that will trace the literary development and rhetorical function of short texts rehearsing major events in Israel’s history in the Hebrew Bible and other Jewish literature from the Second Temple period. I earned a B.A. in Religious Studies, French, and Spanish from Oglethorpe University in 2008 and an M.T.S. from Harvard Divinity School in 2011. I have also been a visiting student at the Technische Universität Dortmund in Germany (2009) and have studied Modern Hebrew at the Brandeis-Middlebury School of Hebrew (2010 and 2011).
My research interests center around lived experience and religion in Iron Age Israel and Judah. I am especially interested in popular religious practice, the origins and development of Yahwism, divination, funerary practices, and the veneration of the dead. More broadly, I am interested in how people use religion to respond to changing circumstances in their lives and what specific instances of religious experience might be able to tell us about religious experience and the human experience generally. To that end, I also study anthropological theories to guide my assessment of the biblical text and archaeological data. I am considering several potential dissertation topics, including healing and medicine in ancient Israel, healing invocations in the biblical text and the ancient Near East, and games and leisure in biblical Israel. I completed my undergraduate studies at Dartmouth College (A.B., 2007) and earned a Master of Theological Studies degree at Harvard Divinity School (2011).
I am a first year Ph.D. student in Hebrew Bible. A native German, I received my Diplom in Catholic Theology from the University of Münster in 2011, with a research focus on Social Ethics and Migration Studies. In addition, I hold a Master of Theological Studies from the Franciscan School of Theology, Berkeley, where I worked on the book of Ecclesiastes during the academic years 2008/2009 and 2011/2012. My research interest lies in the literary production of the Persian and early Hellenistic period, especially wisdom texts. In my work I evaluate and apply methods from sociology and literary studies to explore their potential for looking at biblical texts. The “internationality” of wisdom literature is of particular interest to me: how did different cultures and cultural traditions interact in the Persian and Hellenistic period and how can modern concepts shed light on the dynamics of intercultural encounters in the ancient Near East?
Matthew J. Lynch
I am a recent Ph.D. Hebrew Bible graduate from Emory’s Graduate Division of Religion. My dissertation examined the way that a theology of divine supremacy and sole divinity gave shape and meaning to Israel’s institutional arrangements in the book of Chronicles. Currently, I am working at the University of Göttingen with the Sofja Kovalevskaja research group that examines the unity and diversity of monotheism in the post-exilic period.
I am a first year PhD student in the Graduate Division of Religion in the Hebrew Bible Course of Study. I recently graduated from Yale Divinity School with a Master of Arts in Religion in Hebrew Bible. Prior to Yale, I completed my degree in Religious Studies and Classics at the University of Arizona. I am interested in Israelite religion within its ancient Near Eastern context, with special focus on cultural syncretism and the transmission of religious ideas, conceptualizations of deities, the social structure of Israelite tribal society, issues of impurity and ritual, and the sectarian movement of the Dead Sea Scrolls. My current research explores the role of evolved cognitive architecture in shaping impurity laws and mental representations of divine agents. I am also interested in understanding the social function of violent and apocalyptic rhetoric within the Dead Sea Scrolls communities.
John F. Quant
My research pertains to the intersection of diachronic exegesis, textual criticism, and early biblical interpretation. My dissertation examines several theories and models that envision textual growth by stages, i.e., layers or strata of redaction or rewriting in the text. I compare these theorized stages to several types of rewriting which appear in the manuscript tradition and in some “rewritten Bible” texts. I am trying to formulate a typology of rewriting which can both serve as a check and a guide on diachronic methods, as well as illuminate the nature of the textual diversity in the various manuscript witnesses.
I graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2003 (B.A. English, minor in Jewish Studies), and Yale Divinity School in 2007 (M.A.R. Second Temple Judaism). Prior to coming to Emory, I taught English as a foreign language at Nozawaminami Senior High School in Saku, Japan.
Josey Bridges Snyder
I am a third-year Ph.D. student in the Graduate Division of Religion. My research will focus on the reception history of biblical texts, with particular emphasis on Jewish midrashic interpretation and the interaction between early Jewish and Christian interpretations. I am also interested in investigating the relationship between rabbinic midrash and the more recent phenomenon, sometimes called “modern midrash.” In my dissertation, I intend to write a reception history of Lot’s wife, considering both early and more recent interpretations. For recent interpretations, I am especially interested in the numerous poems that have been written on this biblical character. I have a B.A. in Religious Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an M.Div. from Candler School of Theology at Emory University.
I am a doctoral candidate in Hebrew Bible in the Graduate Division of Religion and a graduate fellow at the Tam Institute for Jewish Studies. My dissertation, “The Discourse of Character Formation in the Book of Proverbs,” considers the pedagogical function of the poetic form of Proverbs, as well as the moral psychology of the sapiential worldview. My project is in conversation with virtue ethics in both biblical studies and moral philosophy. I also draw upon modern poetic theory as a way to understand the dynamics of didactic poetry in the Hebrew Bible. My research interests include biblical theology, Hebrew poetry, literary theory, and reception history. I earned the M.Div from Princeton Theological Seminary (2008) and the B.A. summa cum laude in Religion and Biblical Literature from Smith College (2005).
I am a fifth year student in Emory’s Graduate Division of Religion and a graduate fellow with the Tam Institute for Jewish Studies. I earned my B.A. in Greek and Latin and my M.A. in Religions of Western Antiquity from Florida State University. I am currently working on my dissertation entitled “‘Taste and See’: The Role of Perception in Israelite and Early Jewish Sapiential Epistemology,” in which I examine the ways in which human perception influences the portrayal of wisdom in Proverbs and early Jewish Wisdom literature. I am also interested more generally in the ways in which ancient medicine, disease, and the human body is depicted in ancient literature as well as how early Jews interpreted biblical figures and what such interpretations can tell us about the function of scripture and tradition within these ancient communities.
My current research explores depictions of the natural world in ancient Jewish apocalyptic literature. I am especially interested in the "heavenly mysteries" revealed by Jewish apocalypses, many of which comprise knowledge about nature and the material world. My other interests include: Israelite religion, especially within the context of ancient Near Eastern iconography; literary and myth theories, particularly the relevance of the work of Mikhail Bakhtin for biblical and religious studies; and the genealogy of humility in biblical and post-biblical literature. Previously, I earned a B.A. from Hiram College, an M.Div. from Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary, and an M.A. from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.
I am a first year PhD student, located in the Historical Studies area of study within the Graduate Division of Religion. My research interests focus on the theological significance of post-Kantian philosophy generally, and Early German Romanticism specifically. These interests include the question of how Early German Romanticism focuses the intellectual history of the Enlightenment (Spinoza, Kant) and offers a promising alternative to the German Idealism of the 19th century. My current research focuses on Friedrich Schleiermacher’s dual appropriation of late 18th century Spinozism and the critical philosophy of Kant, which he forms into novel and coherent projects in theology, philosophy, and hermeneutics. Such a project necessarily also addresses myriad misunderstandings and misinterpretations in the portrayal Schleiermacher as guilty of subjectivism and cultural accommodation (Barth), subjective-emotivism (Lindbeck), or as the champion of ‘romantic’ hermeneutics (Gadamer).
I am a second year PhD student in the Graduate Division of Religion specializing in early and medieval history. My research interests include hagiography, the cult of the saints, mystical theology (Muslim and Christian), the articulation of theology in iconography and architecture, and Christian identity formation through literature. Although my interests encompass a fairly broad chronology, ranging from late antiquity to the high middle ages, my dissertation will focus on the hagiographic corpus of the 10th c. Saxon cannoness, Hrotsvit of Gandersheim. I earned a B.A. in Classical Languages from Davidson College in 2007 and an M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary in 2010.
My dissertation, just now underway, examines the attempts made by Catholic publicists in the late antebellum period (1844 – 1861) to re-imagine the United States as a Catholic nation. This homegrown brand of Catholic nationalism I juxtapose with others arising throughout the nineteenth-century Atlantic World, particularly that promoted by the Catholic press of pre-Reforma Mexico. The comparative angle of my project signals a larger interest in nudging Latin America and the Caribbean more fully into the American religious historian’s purview.
My academic endeavors have centered on the dual poles of historical theology and antebellum American culture since my undergraduate days at Lipscomb University and my M.Div. coursework here at Emory. In the best of all possible worlds my teaching load would include, in addition to more standard offerings in church history, courses on the films of John Ford, the Catholic dimensions of the Southern literary revival, and baseball as liturgy and ascesis.
My research interest lies in the political thought of Augustine of Hippo. I am particularly interested in his conceptualization of the proper relationship between a government and its Christian citizens in such works as his anti-Donatist writings and De Civitate Dei. I have a BS from Texas Christian University (1998) and earned both my MDiv (2010) and ThM in Historical Theology (2011) from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.
My research interests focus on the connections between Enlightenment philosophy and Christian theology in the "long eighteenth century." I'm particularly interested in how issues of statehood and public religion in post-revolutionary England influenced Biblical scholarship, moral philosophy, and Anglican theology. I completed my B.A. in history from Delta State University in 2004. I also have an M.A. in history from the University of Memphis (2008) and an M.T.S. degree from the Emory Candler School of Theology (2010).
My primary research interest is the intersection of discipline and doctrine in the early church. My dissertation examines Augustine's use of pro-Nicene trinitarian theology in his preaching against the Donatists. Traditionally Augustine's trinitarian thought and his anti-Donatist works have been treated as two separate discourses. I hope to bring these conversations together in order to demonstrate how Augustine believes the nature of the church is defined by both its faith in and the work of the Trinity. My other interests include the practice and theology of martyrdom and asceticism, understandings of deification in the West, and the relationship of divine and human freedom in the East. Previously I earned an M.Div. from Candler School of Theology and a B.A. in Religion from Wake Forest University.
Ryan T. Woods
I am a doctoral candidate in historical studies, with a concentration in the literature that emerges from early Christian Alexandria. My dissertation maps out the literary configurations of divine providence as an educator who shapes both cosmos and texts as media for instruction. This pedagogical conceit frames discussions of free will, esotericism, hermeneutics, and asceticism. Not only Christians, but Jewish and pagan intellectuals contested many of the same questions, providing ample opportunity for comparison. What emerges from my analysis is not the dilution of a pure expression, but an eclectic retrieval of resources to translate a religious tradition into a new idiom. I maintain research interests in post-apostolic traditions about Peter, ancient biography, the history of biblical interpretation, and textual criticism. In addition to my scholarly activities, I direct the Writing and Academic Skills Center at Candler School of Theology.
I am a doctoral candidate in the Historical Studies in Theology and Religion course of study. My dissertation explores the complex dynamics of race, religion, and interracial romance within the transnational encounter between Koreans and Americans from 1880 to 1965. My additional research and teaching interests include early modern European religious history, North American religious history, world Christianity, and Asian American religions. Prior to doctoral studies, I completed my B.S. in Economics at the University of Pennsylvania, my M.Div. at Westminster Theological Seminary, and my Th.M at Candler School of Theology. I am a member and certified candidate for ordination in the Presbyterian Church (USA).
I am a second year Ph.D. student in the Graduate Division of Religion in the Jewish Religious Cultures course of study. My research focuses on narratives of friendship and ritual cooperation among mixed ethno-religious communities in North Africa. I am especially interested in the presence of Hebrew language in Muslim exorcism rituals and the physical presence of Muslim guests at Jewish holidays. I earned my B.S. in 2005 in Economics at Purdue University and my M.A. in 2011 at Ohio State University in Near Eastern Languages & Cultures. In my thesis, I addressed the ways in which economic partnerships between Jews and Muslims in rural Morocco often led to strong friendships. I have conducted ethnographic fieldwork in Morocco and Israel on numerous research trips, and am looking forward to spending the summer of 2012 in Morocco to do some preliminary site selection work for my dissertation research.
My research interests include Hebrew Bible, Second Temple Era and Rabbinic Texts, early Christianity and Samaritanism. My MA is from Hebrew University where I focused on the history of the Biblical Period. Currently, my interests lie in trying to understand the formation of early Judaisms and their emergence out of Israelite and biblical religions. My dissertation is a study of the biblical character, Joshua. In it I analyze the use and development of his character and how his various images are deployed in the narratives and sacred texts of several religious traditions. Additionally, I am also interested in exploring the position of Israel and Early Judaism in their overall cultural contexts, and, in that vein, I have applied myself to studying Ancient Near Eastern and Classical Cultures as well. Finally, I take an active interest in material culture and archaeology, and serve as part of the staff at Bar Ilan University's dig at Tel Eton.
I am a third year PhD student working on the New Testament in conjunction with critical and hermeneutical theories. I earned my M.Div from Yale University in 2010 and my B.M. in French Horn performance, BA in Musical Theory and Composition, and BS in Mathematics from the University of Florida in 2007. My research focuses on the history of biblical interpretation and how particular modes of reading and standard interpretations become controlling while others are cast aside, in light of textual history and the manner in which critical theory can illuminate various interpretive streams.
My dissertation on the pedagogical function of Hell in antiquity is entitled “Weeping and Gnashing of Teeth: The Pedagogical Function of Hell in Matthew and the Early Church.” This project focuses on the connections between the afterlife, ancient rhetoric, ethics and social formation. I am also interested in the theme of suffering in antiquity, women in early Christianity, Petrine literature, historiography, philosophy, disability studies and feminist hermeneutics. I hold a BA in Religion and Economics from Denison University, and an MAR from Yale in Bible. Recently, I have taught as an adjunct faculty member at universities and colleges in the Boston area including Boston University, Lesley University and Emmanuel College. To see a complete list of my publications and recently delivered lectures and papers see http://emory.academia.edu/MeghanHenning. Meredith Elliott Hollman
I completed my B.A. at Wheaton College (IL), with majors in Anthropology and Biblical and Theological Studies, and my M.T.S. at Emory's Candler School of Theology. My master's thesis examines the use of the OT in the Johannine passion narrative. My primary research interests include Jewish backgrounds of the NT, intertextuality, theories of interpretation, and the Gospel of John. Broader concerns include epistemology, the hiddenness of God, the problem of evil, and the validity of truth-claims in a postmodern, pluralistic context. I will focus on exegesis of NT texts in their historical, social, literary, and religious contexts. I intend to move beyond the exegetical level to the theological and existential implications of these texts, which were written by people of faith to people of faith. As a member of this ancient community, I hope to interpret Scripture to the glory of God and in the service of the Church and the world.
Christopher T. Holmes
I am a second year PhD student in the New Testament course of study within the Graduate Division of Religion. I received a B.A. from Whitworth University in 2006 and a MDiv from Princeton Theological Seminary in 2011. Informed by the larger religious and cultural milieux out of which early Christianity emerged, I approach the study and interpretation of the New Testament with attention to the literary and theological particularities of the New Testament compositions and their use in contemporary faith communities. I plan to work with the epistle to the Hebrews and the epistles of Paul. My larger research interests include the varieties of Judaism in antiquity, religious experience in the ancient Mediterranean world, and ancient moral philosophy. I moved to Emory with my wife and two small children, and we have come to love the mild winters and seasonal festivals in Atlanta.
Jonathan M. Potter
My interests lie in the interwoven traditions of incipient Christianity(-ies) and Judaism(s) in the first two centuries CE. I am particularly interested in how the emergent movement in the name of Jesus developed and forged an identity amidst a context of diverse Jewish groups, including Pharisees, Sadducees, and others. Of further interest to me are ancient ideas about sacred writings (“scripture”) and their use and interpretation, particularly in the works of Philo of Alexandria and Paul, as well as the Epistle to the Hebrews.
In 2012, I completed a Master of Arts in Religion at Yale Divinity School, concentrated on New Testament and Ancient Judaism. Here I focused especially on the Synoptic Gospels and Hellenistic Jewish literature. Prior to this I received a B.A. in Biblical Studies from Grace College, in Winona Lake, Indiana. For further information, see http://emory.academia.edu/JonathanPotter Gilberto Ruiz
My dissertation, Gods Competing in the Marketplace: Temple Commerce and John 2:13-22, integrates literary and historical analytical methods to examine Jesus' demonstration in the Jerusalem temple with close attention to the realities of ancient temple commerce that affect its interpretation. New Testament scholarship has largely ignored studying John's Gospel in light of the economic realities that beset Jews and Christians in the Roman Empire, but I contend that doing so is crucial for a more complete understanding of the Fourth Gospel and the trajectory of early Christianity that it represents. I earned my B.A. in Theology and English (double major) from Boston College in 2003 and my M.T.S. from Harvard Divinity School in 2005.
Michael K. Suh
I am a first year Ph.D. student in New Testament in the Graduate Division of Religion. I earned my B.S. in Biology from UCLA in 2004 and completed by M.T.S. from Duke Divinity School in 2012. My master’s thesis (“OT Material in the Triple Tradition: The Parable of the Wicked Tenants as a Test Case”) analyzed the redactional profiles of each of the Synoptic Evangelists vis-à-vis their OT citations, to explore how they may help form a coherent understanding of the Synoptic Problem. My research interests include intertextuality, social memory theory, rhetorical criticism, and the history of interpretation of the Hebrew Bible in early Jewish and Christian communities.
I am currently entering my second year in Emory’s Graduate Division of Religion where I specialize in the NT and Early Church. After completing my BA in Classics at Grand Valley State University (2008) I moved to Atlanta to pursue my MTS in Biblical Studies at Candler School of Theology (2010). My research interests include apocalyptic literature (esp. Enochic literature), 1 Corinthians, reception history, theological exegesis of Scripture, and the development of the apophatic tradition between Justin Martyr and Pseudo-Dionysius; my current research focuses on such questions as the meaning and significance of Paul’s phrase “the mind of Christ” (1 Cor 2:16) and the philosophical and theological traditions underlying Evagrius of Pontus’s theory of virtue.
Antonio (Tony) Alonso
The application of ritual studies to liturgical studies and its relationship to ecclesiology guides and inspires my scholarship. I am interested in the complex ways in which communities appropriate their understandings of tradition; the multivalent interaction of the verbal and non-verbal languages of ritual prayer; and the ways in which the church’s worship embodies its ecclesiological structures. My current research focuses on how constraints placed on ritual language and gesture can embody structures of power which legitimate the authority of ritual leaders while dominating those involved as participants. In addition to my scholarly work, I have served as a lay ecclesial minister of music in Roman Catholic communities in Los Angeles and Chicago; I am also a published composer of liturgical music. I hold a Bachelor of Music in choral conducting from Northwestern University and a Master of Arts in theological studies from Loyola Marymount University.
I am currently a first-year PhD student at the Graduate Division of Religion. I received a B.A. in Communication from the University of Southern California and an M.Div. from Duke Divinity School (Duke University). Prior to entering Emory I completed a yearlong chaplain residency at the Durham VA Medical Center. My research interests include Patristics, theological anthropology, mental illness, Christian theories of community, and healing practices in the Early Church. I anticipate my future research will involve exploring the early monastic practice of integrating the infirm into the life of their communities as a remedy for various (physical, mental, and spiritual) illnesses. I hope to discern a theological basis for this practice and theorize how it might inform pastoral and ecclesial forms of care today. This course of study was inspired by my experiences working as a chaplain on the psych ward, as well as Jean-Claude Larchet’s work on illness and healing in the Patristic tradition.
Emily “Michelle” Ledder
I am currently in coursework as a PhD student in the Graduate Division of Religion with a concentration in Homiletics. I earned my B.A. in Theology and Philosophy from Eastern Nazarene College in 2007. My M.Div., with a concentration in Theology and Ethics, was completed in 2010 at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University. My research interests include liberative and subversive pedagogies; the relationships between power, agency, psychology, and transformation; restorative justice within the US criminal justice system; Multicultural Homiletical Theories and Practical Theologies; and practical theories of epistemology. My dissertation project, as I conceive of it at this time, focuses on co-creating a pedagogy and methodology for teaching Prophetic Preaching by working alongside women who are serving long-term prison sentences.
Haemin Lee is a Ph.D candidate in the Graduate Division of Religion (PCRL) at Emory University with a particular focus on Korean Christian missions and international development. Born in Seoul and traveled to more than 70 countries, Haemin has served Brazilian, African, and Hispanic congregations as a Presbyterian minister (PCUSA) in addition to hospital chaplaincy and an advisor to a humanitarian mission NGO, Korea Food for the Hungry International. Haemin holds degrees from Emory (Th.M), Harvard (M.Div), and Yonsei (B.A).
I am a third year doctoral student in Person, Community and Religious Life with a concentration in Religious Practices and Practical Theology. My primary interests lie in the liturgy as moral formation and in the interaction between the worship life of communities and the practices of their "surrounding cultures." My current research examines the influence of social differentiation (especially class and geography) upon the worship preferences of American Protestants in the late 19th century. Beyond liturgical studies, I am interested in congregational studies, Methodist history, and Wesleyan spirituality and theology. I earned my M.Div from Duke University in 2006 and my BA in both Philosophy and Religious Studies in 2001.
Prior to my Ph.D. work, I completed my M.Div. at Wartburg Theological Seminary and served a fabulous congregation as pastor. At Emory, my research is multifaceted. Within liturgical history, I am researching the development of the offering as related to money and the Eucharist. Additionally, using Emory’s Special Collections, especially the Kessler Collection, I research the epiclesis of the Word and its variable patterns of liturgical inclusion. Another research interest is the intersection of liturgical theology and narrative theory. I marshal the work of Paul Ricoeur to investigate ways in which anticipation influences liturgical encounters and how liturgies extend beyond the confines of temporally-constrained worship services. As a scholar in the field of religious practices, I use ethnographic research to explore lived liturgies and hear people’s own thick descriptions of their experiences.
Natalia A. Shulgina
I am a PhD candidate in The Person, Community, and Religious Life Program. My primary areas of scholarship include Practical Theology, Pastoral Care, and Religious Education. I have a special interest in the issues of spiritual formation and contemplative monastic spirituality. My dissertation focuses on clergy burnout and the possibilities of addressing this problem in the context of theological education of clergy, under the guidance of the Benedictine-Cistercian monastic tradition. Prior to my coming to Emory, I lived and studied in Russia, earning degrees in surgical nursing, clinical pharmacy, and theology. I am an ordained elder in the Russia United Methodist Church. Hence, in my work I seek to bring together insights from different academic disciplines and cultural traditions, to ground the practices of rigorous study in the habits of vital piety, and to bridge the gap between the church and the university.
I am a second year PhD student in the Graduate Division of Religion, focusing on Practical Theology and Homiletics. My research interests include the role of Christian practices in religious formation of individuals and communities, and particularly the way preachers are formed through engagement with particular practices that constitute a way of life. Prior to entering the PhD program, I served as pastor of College Park Presbyterian Church in Atlanta from 2006-2011. I am an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and have a B.A. in English from Emory University and a M.Div. from Columbia Theological Seminary.
Wesley N. Barker, Ph.D.
Comparative Literature and Religion
I am a recent Ph.D. graduate from Emory University’s Graduate Division of Religion with a concentration in Comparative Literature and Religion and a graduate certificate in Women’s Studies. My dissertation explores the works of philosopher Emmanuel Levinas and feminist psychoanalyst Luce Irigaray to construct an ethics of radical alterity through the materiality of flesh. The dissertation reflects my interdisciplinary research interests in postmodern Christian thought, ethics, and gender theory. In addition to my research, I have a broad range of teaching competencies reinforced by extensive classroom experience. I am currently a Visiting Instructor with Georgia State University’s Department of Religious Studies where I have designed and taught courses in the areas of comparative religion, inter-religious dialogue, religion and politics, literature and religion, and modern Christian thought. I am passionate about both the ethical responsibilities and creative possibilities of the academic life, and I therefore approach my work as a researcher and teacher with earnest deliberation, wholehearted enthusiasm, and a generous sense of humor.
J. Cayenne Claassen-Luttner
M.T.S. Harvard Divinity School, B.A. Wellesley College. I recently defended my doctoral dissertation, “Witnessing Maria Goretti: Testimonial Practices for a Silent Martyr.” The project focuses on a small Italian community’s evolving relationship with its controversial patron saint. I explore the ethical dynamics of that relationship, focusing on gender, violence, and Roman Catholic discourses of the martyr as witness. My next major project will be based on interviews with Mexican Catholic women about the ethical reasoning they employ in making reproductive and health-care decisions. I began doing preliminary interviews in Mexico City in 2011. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and after graduation at email@example.com
I am a PhD candidate in Theological Studies writing a constructive theological project entitled Theology After Residential Schools. I have an educational history in systematic and feminist theology, and my dissertation conversation partners include contemplative Christian theology, Paul Tillich, Canadian First Nations history and in particular the history of church involvement in Indian Residential Schools. I am a certificate student with the Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies department and work with the Tam Institute for Jewish Studies teaching in the area of Holocaust history. Despite my sustained focus on suffering and marginalized communities, I have a finely honed Canadian sense of humor. I received my S.T.M. from Yale Divinity School and my M.Div from Canadian Theological Seminary.
I am a first year PhD student in the Graduate Division of Religion. Before pursuing a theological education, I earned a B.A. in English literature from the University of Miami (FL), and a J.D. from the William and Mary School of Law. I spent eight years as an Assistant Attorney General for Virginia before earning my M.Div. and Th.M. from Candler School of Theology. My work at Candler focused on the Christian doctrine of the incarnation and understandings of atonement and sacrifice. My research interests include a broader understanding of what is essential in the incarnation, and the implications this definition has for other doctrines, including creation, theological anthropology, and soteriology.
My research interests include womanist, feminist, black, liberation and constructive theologies; Christology; ethnography; and the intersection of theology and New Testament studies. Overarching these interests is a commitment to contextual theology and the flourishing of communities. I earned my B.A. in Religious Studies and Psychology from Brown University. Subsequently, I completed my M.Div. at Harvard Divinity School in 2008. My M.Div. thesis explored feminist critiques of atonement theologies and proposed ways of recovering New Testament atonement theologies for survivors and perpetrators of violence. In addition to my research interests, I have a strong interest in teaching, particularly at the seminary level. As a future educator, I am interested in the ethical nature of theologizing: How do our theologies serve to liberate or oppress others? What implications do our theologies have for our action in the world?
I began as a theatre major at NYU; but after my third semester, I transferred to Harding University. There, I sought training as a missionary, planning to serve in cities where the arts flourish even as religion founders. I soon after received an M.A.T.S. at the Austin Graduate School of Theology. In the following years at Andover Newton Theological School, I came to doubt and revise my theological vision. I graduated with an M.A. in Theological Research, and moved to Emory to hone my work’s recurring intersection: literature (poetry and drama), continental philosophy, and theology. My dissertation will present the sacred import of doubt as it surfaces uniquely in: agnostic modes of hermeneutical phenomenology (Heidegger, Levinas, Derrida, Ricoeur), existential Christianity (Marcel, Berdyaev, Unamuno, Tillich, Weil), and contemporary literary artists (Anna Kamienska, Christian Wiman, among others). You could say I ultimately seek an apophatic sacramentality.
Elizabeth O’Donnell Gandolfo
I am a doctoral candidate in Theological Studies, with a concentration in Religious Practices and Practical Theology. My research interests include feminist and liberation theologies, vulnerability studies, motherhood studies, medieval women mystics, and the relationship between contemplation and social action. In my dissertation, I draw on maternal experiences of vulnerability, resilience, and resistance to construct a feminist practical theology of suffering and grace. My theological training prior to my doctoral studies focused on Catholicism, especially Catholic social ethics. I received a B.A. in Theology from St. Joseph’s University in 1999 and an M.T.S. with a concentration in Systematic Theology from the University of Notre Dame in 2006.
Lee Ann Bambach
I am an attorney and a PhD candidate in the Graduate Division of Religious Studies. My dissertation focuses on faith-based dispute resolution among Muslims in the United States, looking particularly at the use of arbitration and mediation. I seek to place such practices by Muslims in historical and comparative context by looking at other religious and ethnic groups who have used similar dispute-resolution forums, as well as to examine how such forums interact with the U.S. judicial system. I earned my B.A. in Medieval Studies from Brown University and M.T.S. from Harvard Divinity School. I also have studied at Philipps-Universität in Marburg, Germany, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel. After receiving my J.D. summa cum laude from the University of Georgia, I clerked for the late Honorable Sam J. Ervin III on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and then worked as an associate in the Washington, D.C. office of Latham & Watkins.
I am a fifth year student at West and South Asian Religions program, currently writing my dissertation about hagiographies from thirteenth-century South India, written in the Kannada language. My study engages with this literary culture as one that oscillates between antithetical elements: temple culture vs. personal devotionalism, equalitarianism vs. sectarianism, and traditional poetics vs. non-elite oral cultures. My scholarly interests are pre-modern literary representations of history, canon and community, religious narratives, literature and poetics, and classical South Asian languages. In addition to my dissertation study, I am involved in a translation project of a tenth-century treaty in Kannada about poetics (called the Kavirajamargam) and am also exploring early Buddhist narratives.
I graduated with a Shastri degree in Indo-Tibetan Buddhist philosophy from the Central University of Tibetan Studies, Varanasi, India and with a Masters in Asian Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. My graduate research at Emory will focus on the intersection of Buddhist philosophy and practice by engaging in an in-depth research on the philosophical foundations and contemplative practices leading to the state of liberation. Liberation, as a soteriological concern within this tradition has many levels. For example, engendering a particular way of thinking based on loving-kindness and empathy can give rise to ‘liberation’ from hatred. Ultimately, liberation refers to the state of perfect Buddhahood. My concentration will be on ‘practical’ madhyamaka philosophy as it relates to the fundamental Buddhist quest of seeking liberation from afflictive emotions. I will do so by undertaking a comparative study of madhyamaka philosophy and meditation techniques in the Dzogchen teachings of Nyingma tradition and the Madyamaka and tantric teachings of Geluk tradition of Indo-Tibetan Buddhism.
My work focuses on the confluence of Buddhist contemplative theory and cognitive science, as well as the cultural contexts that shape the transmission and reception of Buddhist-based contemplative practices in America.
I am a lead instructor for several studies examining the efficacy of Cognitively-Based Compassion Training (CBCT), a secular, compassion-based meditation program, and have helped to develop and adapt CBCT for school children as well as adolescents in Atlanta’s foster care system. (For more information onthese programs
Since 2009 I have served as a Program Coordinator for the Emory-Tibet Partnership and have co-led the Emory Tibetan Mind/Body Sciences Summer Study Abroad program in Dharamsala, India. Prior to attending Emory, I earned my B.A. in Religion and Psychology at Barnard College and my M.A. in Religion at Columbia University. While at Columbia, I worked as a Research Coordinator for the Columbia Integrative Medicine Program, where I developed and taught mindfulness-based meditation programs.
I am a PhD candidate interested in Islamic thought and theology (primarily in Arabic and Turkish). My dissertation project focuses on Islamic theological projects in contemporary Turkey and their utilization of classical Arabic sources (in this case Maturidi kalam). In particular, I am interested in contemporary liberal or progressive Islamic theological discourses, and especially those that deal with issues of gender, sexuality, tradition, and secularity. My study of Islamic theology therefore intersects with the examination of such notions as tradition and modernity, and the definition of religion and theology in the contemporary world. I am also interested in Christian theology in Arabic and the history of Middle Eastern Christian communities. I received my BA in Religion and English from Purdue University in 2007 and my MA in Near Eastern Languages and Cultures (with a focus on Arabic and Turkish) from Indiana University in 2009. I have also studied at Bogazici University in Istanbul.
Jonathan (Jon) Loar
I'm currently working on a dissertation about Shirdi Sai Baba (d. 1918), an Indian saint from Shirdi village in Maharashtra, who is popularly known for conflating the boundaries between Hindu and Islamic traditions and for advocating Hindu-Muslim unity. My primary interest is the Shirdi Sai Baba hagiographic tradition and the representations of the saint therein, but I'm also looking at Shirdi Sai Baba's iconography, as well as the discourse about sainthood and religious syncretism. I entered the WSAR program in 2008 with my M.A. from the University of Virginia and my B.A. from Emory. I have also studied Hindi in Jaipur and Marathi in Pune with the American Institute of Indian Studies.
I am a first year PhD student concentrating on Islamic Studies. I am primarily interested in Islamic mysticism and philosophy and their relationship to one another. My M.A. thesis focused the epistemology of Ibn al-‘Arabī and his school. During my PhD, I would like to continue research in this area while exploring the concurrent movements in rationalist philosophy. In addition to the historical aspects of my research, I am interested in questions related to philosophy of language, epistemology, and philosophy of mind as they apply to mystical expression and experience. I received my B.A. in Comparative Religion and Philosophy from Western Michigan University in 2009, and my M.A. in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies from Brandeis University in 2011.
Mohamad Abdun Nasir
My dissertation examines the integration of Shari’a into state law and judicial system in contemporary Indonesia. Focusing on the increasing number of divorce lawsuits petitioned by women at an Islamic court in Lombok, this research analyses the dialectic of Islamic law and social change, legal awareness, and gender and power relations that shape the ways in which the law is (re)interpreted and contested among legal actors. This research project aims to elicit background information of marital disputes, courtroom discourses on the (re)interpretation of Islamic law, and litigants’ firsthand experiences and their strategies in negotiating marital disputes. It will also analyze the court’s role and its judges’ discretion in dealing with divorce initiated by women. The research thus will provide a picture of recent phenomena of continuity and change in law, religion, gender, and family in the most populous Muslim country in the world. B.A. Islamic Law, Institute of Islamic Studies, Semarang, Indonesia; M.A. Islamic Studies, Leiden University, The Netherlands; Email:firstname.lastname@example.org
Comparative Literature and Religion
I am a sixth year PhD student in the Graduate Division of Religion’s West and South Asian Religions track. My research focuses on theories about the relationship between concept formation and the structures of consciousness. I approach these questions through the work of two medieval Indian philosophers, Dharmakirti and Abhinavagupta. Last year, I completed a Fulbright grant in Varanasi, India, where I read relevant Sanskrit works by Dharmakirti and Abhinavagupta. I am very interested in exploring how insights gleaned from Indian epistemological traditions can advance current debates on both the role of language in perception and the nature of consciousness.
My research interests revolve around religious practices, performance, and notions of tradition and authenticity in communities in the eastern coastal areas of India including Andhra Pradesh and Orissa. I am particularly interested in incorporating methodologies such as ethnography, ethnographic film, and visual and material culture to these studies. I am also a student of Indian classical dance with experience in bharata natyam, odissi, and kuchipudi.
I received my undergraduate degrees in physics and astronomy from The University of Texas at Austin, and I completed my master's degree in religion at Duke University in 2011 where I studied the intersections of religion and Indian classical dance. My master’s thesis focused on an ethnographic documentary I filmed on the subject of dancers from South and East Indian classical dance traditions in the US. My background in Indian classical dance, science, and religion can be found at anandileela.com.
I am an MD/PhD student studying Buddhist meditation practices in the west, with a particularly keen interest in mindfulness in psychotherapeutic settings. My academic history consists of an undergraduate degree from Boston College (Theology) and a medical degree from Cornell. Wanting to learn more about the mind and its role in suffering and wellness, I came to Emory to study Buddhism under John Dunne and Sara McClintock – with the additional hope that I may help bridge the divide between humanities research and medical practice. Eventually, I plan to practice psychiatry and continue to research – and participate in – the evolving conversation taking place between Buddhist meditation practices and western medicine. My dissertation work focuses on the relationship between subjectivity/selfhood and suffering within Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and related mindfulness-based therapies. On the side, I run for the Atlanta Track Club and teach two types of meditation: mindfulness-based practices and Cognitively-Based Compassion Training.
I am a second year student in the GDR, specifically in the West and South Asian Religions concentration, with a primary focus on Islam and secondary focus on Hinduism. I completed my BS in International Affairs from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2007 and my MA in Near Eastern Studies from New York University in 2009. My research interests include Islam and gender, women's religious ritual and performance in South Asia and "the Middle East," devotional literature, sacred space and place, and deconstructing categories of orthodoxy and popular religion.
Deeksha Sivakumar is in West and South Asian Religions. She has completed her Master’s in Asian Religions from University of Hawaii (2010) and her B.A (Hons) in Philosophy and Psychology from Linfield College, OR (2007). She is natively proficient in Hindi, Tamil, and pursues Sanskrit as well for her doctoral studies on Indian religious traditions. Her current research interests surround a particular enactment of a goddess festival and its unique celebration in Southern India as Bommai Golu https://sites.google.com/site/devikolu/. Her subordinate interests include ritual performance, healing, materiality and femininity. She is also excited to see what digital technologies can do for the Humanities and the study of ethnography. She has been an energetic TA and given several lectures on Hindu deities, ritual practices and the Indian diaspora.
I am a first year PhD student in West and South Asian Religions and I recently completed my MA in Religion at Wake Forest University. My research at Emory will focus on conceptions of masculinity in Muslim and Jewish communities during the emergence of Islam. I intend to examine how such conceptions became solidified in Islamic jurisprudence around the 10th century CE and the extent to which Jewish custom influenced Islamic law. My MA thesis delineated the criminalization of same-sex acts in Islamic law through textual and ethnographic methodologies.