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Graduate Students

Amanda Gvozden

Amanda Gvozden

AmandaGvozden2024@nlaw.northwestern.edu

Amanda Gvozden is a JD/Ph.D. student in the Religious Studies department. As an undergrad at Dickinson College, she studied religion and neurology focusing on the relationship between religious and mystical practice, neuroplasticity, and temporal lobe epilepsy. Her interest in religion and science focused into an interest in religion and medical ethics. Following these interests, Amanda received her MA degree in religious ethics at the University of Chicago focusing on religion and religion and medical ethics. Outside of the classroom, Amanda served as a fellow with the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship working with pediatric patients and their caregivers on physical and mental stress management using meditative techniques she studied in undergrad. Currently, Amanda is interested in the intersection of religious ethics, law, and medicine. Particularly, she is interested in questions of authority over definitions of “life” and “death,” the medical and legal guidelines that govern religiously affiliated hospitals, and the place of religious belief in the hospital both regarding patients’ treatments and doctors’ practices. Amanda is advised by faculty at both TGS and Pritzker School of Law including Cristina Traina in religious ethics, Andrew Koppelman in First Amendment Law, and Candice Player in Medicine and Law.

James Howard Hill, Jr.

James Howard Hill, Jr.

jameshhilljr@u.northwestern.edu

James Howard Hill, Jr. is an interdisciplinary doctoral candidate in the Department of Religion at Northwestern who is also pursuing a graduate certificate in African American Studies. His research engages a wide range of critical paradigms from Black studies, sound studies and theology to popular culture, performance studies, and the relationship between U.S. religious culture and media. By working within these discursive paradigms, his research primarily focuses on the relationship between religion, Black politics, and popular culture in the post-civil-rights era. He is the past recipient of fellowships and awards from the Forum for Theological Education, The Louisville Institute, Northwestern’s Social Science Research Council (SSRC),  as well as Northwestern University’s Mellon Cluster Fellowship for Promising Research in Comparative Race and Diaspora studies. Past grants have allowed him to conduct research at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (New York), The National Portrait Library (London), The Stuart Hall Library of INIVA (London), and the Archives of African American Music and Culture at Indiana University (Bloomington). In the spring of 2018, he co-organized the Politics of Movement: Racialization, Religion, and Migration Graduate Student Conference sponsored by the Buffett Institute of Global Studies at Northwestern University. His public commentary on issues of race, popular music, sports, Black politics and religion have appeared in Black Agenda Report, The Syndicate, Urban Cusp, and The Huffington Post among other outlets.

Nisheeta Jagtiani

Nisheeta Jagtiani

NisheetaJagtiani2021@u.northwestern.edu

Nisheeta Jagtiani is a doctoral candidate in Buddhist Studies.  She studies the non-sectarian ideal (Ris med) that gained popularity in East Tibet (Khams) in the 19th century. Through studying the lives of the founders of the Ris med ideal, she examines the closely intertwined relationship between religion, politics and the creation of authoritative figures in Tibet. Nisheeta graduated from the University of Chicago with an M.A. from the Divinity School. Her advisor is Sarah Jacoby.

Ashley King

Ashley King

ashleyking2020@u.northwestern.edu

Ashley King is a doctoral candidate in Religion, Ethics, and Public Life. Her dissertation project, "Hard Femme Religion," explores the intersection of religion and trans identity. Employing trans theory, memoir, and fiction, she shows how trans authors narrate the construction of identity and the body without losing sight of the multiple forms of marginalization and erasure that structure these very categories. She is also pursuing a graduate certificate in Gender and Sexuality Studies. Her other areas of interest include animality studies, critical race theory, liberation theology, popular fiction, and pedagogy. Most recently, she co-edited the book Feeling Animal Death: Being Host to Ghosts (Rowman & Littlefield, 2019) and contributed a chapter called "Hos-pet-ality: Handmade Selves and Transspeciated Femininity." She is a graduate student fellow in the Humanities Without Walls-funded project Arendt on Earth: From the Archimedean Point to the Anthropocene (2018-2020). Before coming to Northwestern, she received her MA in Religious Studies from Missouri State University, where her thesis, "Religion and Anthropogenesis: Other Animal Presences in the Science-Fiction of Ursula K. Le Guin," received the award for Distinguished Thesis in the Humanities in 2016. Ashley is advised by Cristina Traina.

Rachel Levy

Rachel Levy

RachelLevy2013@u.northwestern.edu

Rachel Levy is a doctoral candidate in Buddhist Studies. As an MA student in Art History at Virginia Commonwealth University, her research examined Tibetan portraiture within the framework of Buddhist relic traditions. Her current research continues to foreground questions of representation, materiality, ritual, and embodiment. Her dissertation examines the role clothing plays in the lives of seventeenth-century yogins in the Drukpa Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. Drawing on biographies, ritual manuals, and visual representations, she studies the ways clothing enables or hinders spiritual attainments and serves as a discursive tool for interpreting and authenticating those attainments. Her advisor is Sarah Jacoby.    

Marlon Millner

Marlon Millner

MarlonMillner2021@u.northwestern.edu

Marlon Millner is a Ph.D. candidate at Northwestern University in religious studies (field specialty of theological studies). Marlon works at the intersection of political and constructive theology, African-American and black diaspora studies, and contemporary theory. Broadly, he is interested in theology's discursive constitution of modernity as anti-blackness, and therefore the black sacred, including expressions of AfroChristianities as excessive to, and not constituted by theology. In particular, Marlon is working towards a dissertation project focused on Pentecostalism as a transnational movement of diaspora, which grounds itself in exile -- human fulfillment beyond a theologically constituted modernity. Pentecostalism offers disruption of the theologically enacted biopolitical formations of race, sex and gender, which presage Pentecostalism's early 20th century emergence, and reveals blackness as the out-of-nothing which Pentecostals enflesh. Marlon earned an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School and a B.A. from Morehouse College. He blogs at www.humuse.me, or follow him on Twitter @MarlonMillner. His advisor is Sylvester Johnson.

Courtney Rabada

Courtney Rabada

CourtneyRabada2022@u.northwestern.edu

Courtney Rabada is a doctoral candidate in American Religions. Her research interests include contemporary American religions, feminist theory, gender/sexuality, and ethnography. Her work focuses on the role of Audre Lorde as a devotional figure and the ways in which Black feminist theory informs and impacts the study of religion in the United States. She earned her B.A. from Indiana University, Bloomington in English Literature and her M.A. from Claremont Graduate University in Religious Studies. Her advisor is Robert Orsi.

Carlos Recarte

Carlos Recarte

CarlosRecarte2022@u.northwestern.edu

Carlos Recarte is interested in emergent religiosity in relation to broader concepts of colonialism/decolonialism, embodiment/disembodiment, technocratic and state influences, appropriation, commodification and secularization, and the religious practices/discourse that occur at the nexus of those concepts within a transnational context between the Americas and East Asia. Carlos received a BA in Religious Studies and Masters in City Planning from the University of California, Berkeley. 

Matthew J. Smith

Matthew J. Smith

matthewSmith2015@u.northwestern.edu

Matthew J. Smith is a doctoral candidate in American Religions and Mellon Fellow in Comparative Race and Diaspora. He specializes in the interdisciplinary study of religion, race, and sexuality in the U.S. empire in the late 19th and early 20th century.  His dissertation project, "The Age of Plastic(s): Race, Religion and Ecology in the Protestant World Order" explores the science of conversion in Protestant missions and the human/in-human sciences to interrogate the discourse of plastic/plasticity within the humanistic grammars of racialized modernity. Areas of interest: U.S. empire, critical race/sex theory, Black and Indigenous studies, secularism and biopolitics, space and mobility, science and technology, environmental humanities, decolonial methodologies, and critical ethnic studies. Before coming to Northwestern, Matthew earned his Masters degree from Princeton Seminary and his Bachelors from Anderson University. His adviser is Sylvester Johnson.  

Miranda Smith

Miranda Smith

MirandaSmith2022@u.northwestern.edu

Miranda Smith is a doctoral student in Buddhist Studies. She is primarily interested in Tibetan literature, especially autobiography and poetry. She plans to study modern Tibetan poets and examine how they sustain, depart from and reinvent Tibetan literary tradition. She is also interested in poetry as a technology of the self. Her other interests include women’s religious history, autobiography studies, and poetics. Before arriving at Northwestern, she received an MTS from Harvard Divinity School, an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Texas at El Paso, and a BA from Mount Holyoke College. Her advisor is Sarah Jacoby.

Lily Stewart

Lily Stewart

LilyStewart2021@u.northwestern.edu

Lily Stewart is a doctoral student in Medieval Religious History. She focuses her studies on medieval perceptions and experiences of saints, sanctity, and the afterlife. Lily is interested in exploring how women, the poor, the disabled, and other marginalized groups fit within medieval structures of spirituality and devotion, and where (or whether) they were allocated space in various models of the afterlife. Before coming to Northwestern, she earned a post-baccalaureate certificate in post-classical Latin as a Mellon fellow at UCLA. She received her BA in Religious Studies from Scripps College. Lily’s advisors are Richard Kieckhefer and Barbara Newman.

Eda Uca

Eda Uca

EdaUca2022@u.northwestern.edu

Eda Uca is a doctoral student in American Religions and Mellon Fellow in Comparative Race and Diaspora. Eda is interested in the blooper reel of American racialization; those racial ideas and identities which were produced during crisis points in American racialization and not consolidated into subsequent racial regimes. Her research examines how 20th century religious communities and movements functioned as sites for the production of racial imaginaries and what these racio-religious experiments might illuminate about the obsolescence and production of hegemonic racial regimes, and in turn, the continually renegotiated boundaries of "America" and American identity formation in the U.S. She comes to Northwestern from Yale Divinity School where she earned an Master of Divinity and Master of Sacred Theology concentrated in Black Religion in the African Diaspora. Her master thesis, "What is Islam? Reading Noble Drew Ali's Islamic American Imaginaire" earned honors distinction. Her advisers are Sylvester Johnson and Brannon Ingram. 

Darcie Price-Wallace

Darcie Price-Wallace

darciepricewallace2021@u.northwestern.edu

Darcie Price-Wallace is a doctoral candidate in Buddhist Studies. Her dissertation focuses on histories of ordained Tibetan and Himalayan women alongside a contemporary full ordination movement for nuns (bhikṣuṇī/dge slong ma). Her work contextualizes precedents within different Tibetan lineages, explores rhetoric of Tibetan scholars on the topic of ordination, and examines narratives about ordination amongst monastic communities. She recently completed a year of fieldwork in India as a recipient of a Fulbright-Nehru Student Grant. In Fall 2018 and 2019, she she taught Contemporary Buddhist Culture for the Carleton-Antioch Buddhist Studies Program in Bodh Gaya, India. Previously, she served as the student facilitator for the Asian Studies Graduate Cluster at NU for two years. She completed an M.A. in History of Religions and an M.A. in Social Work from the University of Chicago. Her advisor is Sarah Jacoby.

Sherab Wangmo

Sherab Wangmo

FnuXiraoxiangmao2022@u.northwestern.edu

Sherab Wangmo is a doctoral student in Buddhist Studies. She is primarily interested in Women in Tibetan Buddhism, particularly women’s religious lives and their contributions in specific social and historical contexts. She plans to study contemporary Tibetan female master Mu med ye shes mtsho mo, a leading figure of Larung Gar Buddhist Academy. By studying her four available biographical writings, Sherab examines Buddhist concepts of gender, agency and power. Sherab received an MA from University of Colorado Boulder and a BA from Minzu University of China in Beijing. Her advisor is Sarah Jacoby.

Jeffrey Wheatley

Jeffrey Wheatley

jwheatley@u.northwestern.edu

Jeffrey Wheatley is a doctoral candidate in American Religions. He researches race, religion, empire, and state power in the United States, especially in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Related focal points include pedagogy, theory and method, global Christianity, secularism, the history of the study of religion, and popular use of the octopus as an image for visualizing dangerous others. His current project examines American understandings of “superstition” and “fanaticism,” paying attention to how these terms have been used to surveil and govern populations deemed dangerous. Jeff published “US Colonial Governance of Superstition and Fanaticism in the Philippines” in Method & Theory in the Study of Religion and co-wrote “The Protestant Secular in the Study of American Religion: Reappraisal and Suggestions” in Religion. Jeff holds an MA in American Religious History from Florida State University and a BA in History from Arizona State University. You can view his CV here. He is on Twitter @wheatleyjt.

 

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