Graduate Students

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Graduate Students


Name/Contact Info Prior Degrees Area of Focus Research Interests
Ellis S. Azcona
B.S., Indiana University
B.A., Indiana University
Religion and Culture
Deaf theology; embodiment; liberation theologies; cognitive linguistics of ASL; community formation and identity;  disability, vulnerability, and relationality; Deaf studies

Jacob Barrett

B.A., Nebraska Wesleyan University
M.A., University of Alabama
Religion and Culture
Religious Freedom in the United States, Theories of Governance, Politics of Identity Formation, Social Theory, Digital Humanities and Computational Analysis, Teaching and Pedagogy

Ryne Beddard

B.A., University of Mount Olive
M.A., University of Denver
Religion and Culture Religion, Race, and Environment in the antebellum Great Dismal Swamp and Tidewater region; Religion and Race in the U.S. South; Critical Theory and Ethics

Arpan Bhandari

B.A., UNC-Chapel Hill
M.A., Duke University
Islamic Studies South Asian Sufism, Sufi texts, Sufi Music and Poetry, Intersections of Islam, Historical interactions of Islam

Emily Branton

B.A., Smith College
M.A., University of Chicago
Ancient Mediterranean Religions Hebrew Bible; ancient Near Eastern iconography and literature; metaphor theory; translation

Vinna Chintaram

B.A., Brigham Young University-Idaho
M.A., Utah State University
Religion and Culture Ethnography of global Christianities; Decolonization and Religion; Religion in Indian Diaspora

Seonghyun Choi

B.A., Seoul Theological University
M.T.S., Vanderbilt Divinity School
M.A.R., Yale Divinity School
Ancient Mediterranean Religions Hebrew Bible; Late Second Temple Judaism; Dead Sea Scrolls; History of Biblical Interpretation; Disability Studies

Brian A. Coussens

B.A., Georgia Southern University
M.A., Wheaton College
M.A., UNC-Chapel Hill
Ancient Mediterranean Religions Second Temple Judaism; Archaeology of the Second Temple Period; Herodian Architecture; Architecture/Place in Agency and Memory

Israel Dominguez

B.A., University of Texas at Austin
M.A., University of Colorado Boulder
Religion in the Americas U.S.-Mexico borderlands; Decolonization and religion; Non-institutional religious healing; “Folk” traditions; Critical race theory; Queer theory; Intersections of gender, race, and colonization

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
Michelle Freeman

Michelle Freeman

B.A., The Ohio State University
M.A., UNC-Chapel Hill
Ancient Mediterranean Religions The cult of saints, relics, homiletics, the body and senses, and ritual/practice in late ancient Christianity
Chloe Griffin
B.A. UNC-Chapel Hill,
M.Div. Wake Forest University School of Divinity
Religion and Culture Contemporary Christian diasporas; the intersections of political and religious identity in the United States; Muslim/Christian interfaith dialogue; Black feminist and womanist lenses of qualitative research

Jerry Grimes

B.A., Saint Augustine’s University
M.Div., Virginia Union University
M.A., Fuller Seminary
Th.M., Union Presbyterian Seminary
D.Min., Liberty University
Religion in the Americas Religious History; Gender Studies; Socioreligious Dynamics in Postbellum North Carolina circa 1865; Nineteenth century missiology

Mary Hamner

B.A., College of William & Mary, 2006
B.A., North Carolina State University, 2011
M.A., UNC-Charlotte, 2014
M.A., UNC-Charlotte, 2021
Religion and Culture
Religion and social media; contemporary witchcraft; ethnography of American evangelicalism; children and religion; Pagan studies

Shamim Hossain

B.A., CUNY Baccalaureate Program
M.A., Columbia University
Islamic Studies Rebellion in Islam, Decoloniality, Islam in South Asia, Abolitionism, Liberation Theology

Nathan Jumper

B.S./B.A. (dual bachelor’s degree), Cairn University
M.M. (dual master’s degree), Temple University
M.Div., Princeton Theological Seminary
Religion and Culture Religion and technology; Metaphysics (post-Heideggerian); Psychedelic philosophy; Afrofuturism; Post-secularism

Victor H. Knight IV

B.A., Campbell University
M.A.R., Yale Divinity School
Ancient Mediterranean Religions Hebrew Bible, Ancient Israelite Religion; Deities in the Ancient Near East; Ancient Near Eastern Religion, Cosmology, and Mythology; Ancient Near Eastern Literature and Iconography; NorthWest Semitic Epigraphy, Linguistics, and Philology; Ugaritology; Hurritology; Metacriticism; Cognitive and Historical (NW Semitic) Linguistics.

Carter Kurtz

B.A., UNC-Chapel Hill
M.A., Duke University
Religion in the Americas Religion, race, and gender in the Civil War; Southern women and institutions of white supremacy; 19th century death and funerary culture in the United States and Great Britain

Jonathan Larach

A.A., Santa Monica College
B.A., University of California Santa Barbara
M.T.S., Harvard Divinity School
Ancient Mediterranean Religions New Testament; Historical Jesus; Second Temple Judaism; New Testament usage of the Hebrew Bible; Martyrdom Literature; Various understandings of Jesus in early Christian literature; Textual Criticism

Sierra Lawson

B.A., The University of Alabama
M.A., The University of Alabama
Religion and Culture History of Iberian Peninsula, Colonial Latin America, Social Theory, Marian Apparitions, Digital Humanities, Identity Formation

Bryce McCormick

Bachelor of Music, Virginia Commonwealth University
M.T.S., Duke Divinity School
Religion in the Americas History of religion, race, and music in the US South with specific interest in early American New Orleans; Mardi Gras masking traditions; Afro-Caribbean religious traditions

John Miller

B.A., UNC-Chapel Hill
J.D., UNC School of Law
Islamic Studies Qur’anic Hermeneutics; Liberal Islamic Thought; Rationalism in Islam; Classical and Contemporary Shi`i Thought; Philosophy of Law

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

Christopher Morey

B.A., Brigham Young University
M.T.S., Harvard Divinity School
Ancient Mediterranean Religions New Testament; Historical Jesus; Second Temple Judaism; Jewish Interpretation of Scripture

Ciara Mulcahy

B.A. Kenyon College
Ancient Mediterranean Religions Coptic Church in late antiquity; Greek and Coptic philology and translation; Markan apocrypha; martyrdom; collective memory

Mariana Nájera

B.A., Rice University Religion and Culture Syncretism, ritual, and belief in colonial Latin America; gender and sexuality; traditional medicine; religion and material culture; domestic and “folk” traditions
Annie Rose O’Brien
B.A., Wake Forest University
M.A., Wake Forest University
Religion in the Americas, WGST Certificate
Religion in the Americas Religio-racial violence and lynching in the Southern US; public monuments, collective memory, and historical narratives; critical race theory; religion, race, and ecology in the Necrocene; Anthropocenic pedagogy; gender & sexuality; disability & crip theory; new materialisms and religion
Latifat Odetunde
B.A., Boston College
Islamic Studies Black Muslim community, healing through faith, intersections of race, faith, gender, culture, triple consciousness, Black Muslim women, resistance
Mackenzie Oglesby
B.A., Virginia Tech University
M.A., Virginia Tech University
Religion in the Americas

Religions/Mythology of the American South, Southern Culture, Christianity, Medieval Christianity, Martyrdom, Lost Cause Ideology, Meaning-Making, and Iconography. 

Ayse Keskin Saglam
B.A., Leibniz University of Hannover
M.A., City College of New York
M.Div., Union Theological Seminary
Islamic Studies

Muslim women in the diaspora, feminism, gender, social media, patriarchy, lived religious experience, Islam in the USA and Germany


Nathan Schradle

B.A., Occidental College
M.A., New York University
Religion and Culture Religion and Media, Religion and Technology/New Media, Critical Theory and Religion

Ben Sheppard

A.B., University of Georgia
M.A., University of Chicago
Ancient Mediterranean Religions Christian organization and structures of authority in 1st & 2nd centuries; the Pauline network and its development; space and territoriality in Ignatius of Antioch; consequences of mobility in early Christian communities; production of culture; study of religion as social practice

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

Zara Surratt

B.A. College of the Holy Cross
M.A.R. Yale Divinity School
Religion in the Americas
American West; Religion during Greater Reconstruction; Native American Religious Traditions; Residential Boarding Schools; Catholic Missions; race, disability, and religion; religion and children.

Ariadne Tsoulouhas

B.A., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
M.A.R., Yale Divinity School
Ancient Mediterranean Religions Second Temple Judaism; Hebrew Bible; wisdom literature; affect theory; pedagogies of emotions and the self; necropolitics; hauntology; Greco-Roman religion

Thomas Waldrupe

B.A., Carson Newman University
M.S., University of Tennessee
Postgraduate Diploma, Oxford University
M.A., Duke University
Ancient Mediterranean Religions Permeabilities among Early Christian asceticism, Greek philosophical traditions, and South Asian ascetic traditions; Virtuality and fictive or secondary religions

Julia Mason Wedgle

B.A., Tufts University
M.T.S., Harvard Divinity School

Religion in the Americas

Religion and Politics; Peace, Conflict and Religion; Haredi (Ultra-Orthodox) Jews; Evangelical Christians; Anti-Zionism; Zionism; Palestine/Israel; Religion and U.S. policy in the Middle East; Messianism; Eschatology; Apocalypticism; Yiddish; Peace Studies; Jewish Studies