Graduate Students

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Graduate Students

Name/Contact Info Prior Degrees Area of Focus Research Interests

Andrew Aghapour

B.A., College of Charleston
M.Phil., Cambridge University
Religion and Culture Religion and science in the modern and postmodern west; religion in literature; critical theory

Candace Buckner

B.A., Wesleyan University
Post-Bac, Georgetown University
M.A., University of Minnesota
Ancient Mediterranean Studies Saint’s lives, martyrology, church fathers; Early Christian art & architecture and its representation in literature; the eye & memory in Early Christian thought.

Jocelyn Burney

B.A., UNC-Chapel Hill
M.A.R., Yale Divinity School
Ancient Mediterranean Religions Second Temple Judaism, Syro-Palestinian archaeology, Hebrew Bible, ancient synagogues, Judaism in the Greco-Roman world, Dead Sea Scrolls, apocalypticism

Samah Choudhury

B.A., University of Michigan
A.M., Harvard University
Islamic Studies Diaspora, Transnationalism, Gender, Race, American Islam

Charles H. Cook

M.A., Western Michigan University
M.A., Sophia University, Tokyo
Asian Religions (Japanese Religion) modern Japanese Buddhist theory and ethical movements; Jodo Shinshu institutional protest statements; activist monks and buddhist NGO accounts of post Tohoku triage, nuclear concerns and ongoing care; Shinshu Vihara writings and their impact on Buddhist Kokoro (heart/mind) care

Brian A. Coussens

B.A., Georgia Southern University
M.A., Wheaton College
M.A., UNC-Chapel Hill
Ancient Mediterranean Religions Archaeology of the early New Testament/Late 2nd Temple world; theories on the creation, sustainability, & transformation of concepts of place; confluence of Greco-Roman & Jewish ideas

Matthew Dougherty

B.A., Amherst College
M.T.S., Harvard Divinity School
Religion in the Americas Missions and Native American Christianities in North America, American religion in the colonial and early republican periods, whiteness and masculinity in American religion

Luke Drake

B.A., Brigham Young University
M.T.S., Harvard Divinity School
Ancient Mediterranean Religions New Testament, early Christianity, early Judaism

Patrick D’Silva

B.A., Macalester College
M.T.S., Harvard Divinity School
Islamic Studies (De-)Construction of religion, science, and magic in colonial and post-colonial South Asia; Sufism in Persia and South Asia; Islamic Art & Architecture; Qur’anic Recitation and embodiment

Bo Eberle

B.A., The Ohio State University
M.Div., Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York
Religion and Culture Materialisms and Religion; Philosophy of Science and Religion; Post-secular Religious Theory and Analysis; Critical Theory and Political Economy

Isaiah Ellis

B.A., Trinity University Religion and Culture Religion and Modern Architecture; Intersecting Religious and Urban Histories; Religion in the Americas; Space, Place, and Coloniality; Critical Theories of Modernity and Neoliberalism; Intellectual History

Bradley C. Erickson

B.A., Centre College
M.Div., Duke Divinity School
Ancient Mediterranean Religions Syro-Palestinian Archaeology, Second Temple Judaism, Early Christianity, relationship between material culture and religious text

Alejandro S. Escalante

B.A., Trinity College
M.Div., Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York
Religion in the Americas Gender and sexuality; ideology theory and critique; Caribbean religious festivals; Catholic Christianity

Stephanie Gaskill

B.A., Bowling Green State University
M.A., Bowling Green State University
Religion in the Americas African American religious history, religion, and prisons

Andrew Hagstrom

B.A., Wheaton College
M.A., The Catholic University of America
Ancient Mediterranean Religions (Early Christianity) Pagan and Christian interaction; early Christian apologists; orthodoxy and heresy; mystery cults; comparative religion and mythology

Cynthia Hogan

B.A., Wells College
M.A., North Carolina State University
M.A., UNC-Chapel Hill
Religion and Culture theory and methods of religion; material religion; visual culture of religion; museums and religious material culture

Micah A. Hughes

B.I.S., Georgia State University
M.A., Fatih Sultan Mehmet Üniversitesi, İstanbul, Turkey
Islamic Studies Late Ottoman Intellectual History, Adab and Akhlaq literature, Sufism and Sufi Networks, Religion and Empire, Genealogies of Religion and Secularism, Political Theology

Nathan Jumper

B.Mus., Cairn University
B.S. (Biblical Studies), Cairn University
M.Mus. (Piano Performance), Temple University
M.Mus. (Music Theory), Temple University
M.Div., Princeton Theological Seminary
Religion and Culture Representations of violence, Liberalism and ideology, Pornography studies, Critical theories of religion, Transgression and horror

Leonard J. Lowe

B.A., Kentucky Christian University
M.T.S., Duke University
Religion and Culture Haitian religious economy; critical ethnography; religion and poverty; surrealism and Négritude

Matthew B. Lynch

B.A., Marlboro College
M.A., University of Chicago
Islamic Studies Early modern Persian literature and thought; Sufism; mysticism; Persian poetry; hermeneutics; aesthetics

Katherine Merriman

B.A., Vassar College
M.T.S., Harvard Divinity School
Islamic Studies contemporary expressions of Islam in America; urban ethnography; race and religion; social networks and the formation of community

Candace Mixon

B.A., Vanderbilt University
M.A., McGill University
Islamic Studies Modern Iranian and Central Asian Islamic traditions, Material Religion, Visual Culture and Islamic Studies, Gender Studies

Alejandro Hermes Moreiras Villarós

B.A., Hampshire College
Five College Certificate in M.E. Studies
M.A., Hebrew University of Jerusalem
M.T.S., McGill University
Religion and Culture Marrano and Morisco culture and history, Spain, Israel, Middle East politics and international affairs, ethnography, anthropology, critical theory, origins and new beginnings, politics of religion, history of religion, ghosts, Abrahamic religions, frontiers

Helen M. Orr

B.A., Trinity University
M.T.S., Harvard University
Religion and Culture Religion and trauma studies; post-Holocaust theology; phenomenological anthropology; Balkan studies

Shaily Shashikant Patel

B.A., Wake Forest University
M.A., University of Chicago Divinity School
M.T.S., Vanderbilt Divinity School
Ancient Mediterranean Religions The construction of spiritual and political identity and authority in formative Christianity

Haley Petersen

B.A., UNC-Chapel Hill Asian Religions (Japanese Religion) Religions in Japan; Shinto; folk traditions; gender and religion; Japanese New Religious Movements; Spiritualism in Japan

Travis Proctor

B.A., Washington University in St. Louis
M.A., UNC-Chapel Hill
Ancient Mediterranean Religions Early Christian apologetics and heresiology (1st-2nd centuries CE); demonologies of the Ancient Mediterranean; the body in early Christian literature; formation and function of authoritative scriptural collections; critical theory and historiography

Tine Rassalle

B.A., Gent University
M.A., Gent University
B.A., Leiden University
Ancient Mediterranean Religions Archaeology of the Ancient Near East, Early Christianity and Judaism; especially in art and architecture, the interaction between paganism and monotheistic religions, and ancient inscriptions

Kenny Richards

B.A., College of Charleston
M.A., University of Colorado, Boulder
Religion and Culture religious freedom in the United States; American Indian religious traditions

Shannon Trosper Schorey

B.A., Northern Arizona University
M.A., University of Colorado, Boulder
Religion and Culture Religion and media; philosophy of technology; American religious history; minority religions and the politics of religious pluralism; contemporary critical thought.

Nathan Schradle

B.A., Occidental College
M.A., New York University
Religion and Culture Religion and Media, Religion and the Internet, Critical Theory of Religion, New Religious Movements

Ben Sheppard

B.A., University of Georgia
M.A., University of Chicago
Ancient Mediterranean Religions The Pauline network and its development; Christian organization and structures of authority in the 1st & 2nd centuries; production of culture; the study of religion as a social practice

Christopher Cameron Smith

B.A., UNC-Chapel Hill
M.A., Wake Forest University
Islamic Studies Sufism, Islamic conceptions of nature, Islam and Science, Religion and Nature, Islamophobia

Joanna Sierks Smith

B.A., Connecticut College
M.A., UNC-Chapel Hill
Religion in the Americas New Religious Movements; Religion and Literature, Slaughter and Sacrifice, Religion and the State

Timothy Smith

B.A., Ursinus College
M.A., Sophia University (上智大学)
Religions of Asia Japanese New Religions, interactions between religion and the state, religion as a form of resistance and as a means of control, folk traditions, Japanese mythology, Shinto and Buddhist combinative movements

Barbara Sostaita

B.A., Salem College
M.A.R., Yale Divinity School
Religion in the Americas Ethnography, transnational migration, social movements in the Americas, Mexico – U.S. borderlands, material cultures of the migrant experience, Latinx migrant faith practices and communities

Miguel M. Vargas

B.A., University of North Texas
M.A., University of North Texas
Ancient Mediterranean Religions Hellenistic Judaism, Jewish Marginalization in the Hellenistic Diaspora, Second Temple Judaism, Early Christianity

Brook Wilensky-Lanford

B.A., Wesleyan University
M.F.A., Columbia University
Religion in the Americas 19th and 20th century new religious movements, religious liberalism, religion and literature, utopias