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Graduate Students

Stephanie Brenzel

Stephanie Brenzel

stephaniebrenzel2012@u.northwestern.edu

Stephanie Brenzel is a doctoral candidate in Judaism. She studies modern Jewish philosophy, especially the works of German-Jewish thinker, Franz Rosenzweig. Her dissertation explores Rosenzweig’s philosophy of love in The Star of Redemption. Other research interests include political philosophy, German-Jewish Literature, and Holocaust theology. Before coming to Northwestern, she earned her BA in German and Religious Studies from Rhodes College. 

Will Caldwell

Will Caldwell

WilliamCaldwell2016@u.northwestern.edu

Will Caldwell is a doctoral candidate in Islam and American Religions. He specializes in the history of early twentieth-century African American Muslims, with a focus on issues of race, empire, and internationalism. Before coming to Northwestern, he received a Master’s degree in religious studies from NYU. His advisors are Sylvester Johnson and Brannon Ingram.

Jennifer Callaghan

Jennifer Callaghan

JenniferCallaghan2015@u.northwestern.edu

Jennifer Callaghan is a doctoral candidate in American religions.  Her dissertation, Mass Public: the Word of God, the Language of the People, and U.S. Catholic Liturgical Reform 1940 - 1974 examines the implementation history of vernacular liturgy in Chicago as well as the various narratives surrounding the transition from Latin to English ritual.  Jennifer's research and teaching explore the dynamic landscape of American religion with emphases on religious practices and on the religious tensions within American national self-understanding.  She received an MAIS from the University of Washington's Jackson School of International Studies and a BA from Swarthmore College.  Jennifer is advised by Robert Orsi.

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.

Joel Harrison

Joel Harrison

JoelHarrison2017@u.northwestern.edu

Joel Harrison is a PhD candidate in Theology. His work is focused on the relationship between theology and social theory at the turn of the 20th century in Germany and theory and method in the early history of religious studies. His dissertation, Between Normativity and History: Ernst Troeltsch's Mystic Type and the Creative Agency of Values, reads the "mystic type" in Troeltsch's theological sociology of the Church as a way of understanding his later work in the philosophy of history, particularly his solution to the problem of history and normativity. The dissertation argues that the "mystic type" can be understood philosophically, rather than historically or sociologically, and that a philosophical account of Troeltsch's mystic sheds new light on how he understands the development of Christian authority in history, showing how it is possible for norms to maintain authority while in a continual process of change. Joel holds a BA in English Education from California State University, Long Beach, an MA in English from the University of Northern Colorado, and an MA in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary. Areas of specialization: 19th and early 20th century German philosophy, social and critical theory, and ecclesiology. Awards include: DAAD Intensive Summer Language Course Grant (2014). His advisors are Cristina Traina and Mark Alznauer.

Joel has served as the Assistant Chair of the Humanities Residential College since 2015. In addition to that post, Joel will be the Graduate Assistant in the Public Humanities at the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities and will serve as the Religious Studies Department's Graduate Teaching Fellow through the Searle Center for Advancing Learning & Teaching for the 2017-2018 school year.

James Howard Hill, Jr.

James Howard Hill, Jr.

jameshhilljr@u.northwestern.edu

James Howard Hill, Jr. is a doctoral student in American Religions. Before coming to Northwestern, he earned an MTS in Social Ethics (Moral Theology) and Culture from Southern Methodist University where he graduated summa cum laude. His research explores the intersection of religion, necropolitics, race, and colonialism in the Americas and throughout Atlantic geographies (Africa, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas). His work also engages the theme of Anticolonialism in African American Religious History, the intersection of religion and retributive justice in the American Imaginary, and Black Political Theology. His advisor is Sylvester Johnson.

Nisheeta Jagtiani

Nisheeta Jagtiani

NisheetaJagtiani2021@u.northwestern.edu

Nisheeta Jagtiani is a doctoral student 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.

Harrison King

Harrison King

harrisonking2019@u.northwestern.edu

Harrison King is a doctoral student whose research interests include gender and sexuality studies, animality studies, critical race theory, liberation theology, and popular fiction. Their dissertation project develops the concepts of "flesh" and "meat" to theorize racialized queerness, transness, and animality in the viscously embodied soteriologies of contemporary science fiction. Before coming to Northwestern, they earned an MA in religious studies at Missouri State University. Harrison is advised by Cristina Traina.

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.

Aaron Moldenhauer

Aaron Moldenhauer

AaronMoldenhauer2013@u.northwestern.edu

Aaron Moldenhauer is a Ph.D. candidate in theology. He studies scholastic and Reformation theology and history, focusing primarily on the relationship between theology and philosophy and the continuities and ruptures between late medieval and Reformation thought. He is writing a dissertation on the Christology of Martin Luther, researching the conceptions of ontology, language, and logic that Luther uses in his account of the person of Christ. He uses Luther’s Christology serves as a lens to shed new light on the relationship between medieval and early modern theology and metaphysics. 

Teddy Nakate

Teddy Nakate

TeddyNakate2012@u.northwestern.edu

Teddy Nakate is a doctoral student in Theology. Before joining Northwestern University, she completed a bachelor’s degree in Education at Uganda Christian University Mukono (Uganda) where she also served as a Teaching Assistant for three years. She completed a master of philosophy in religious studies at the Norwegian Teacher academy Bergen. Her interests in Christian contextual and liberation theologies focus on religion and human suffering. Specifically she is working toward a dissertation that gives her occasion to reflect on adversity and heartbreak--“Theological Reflection on Human Suffering and Sense Making: An Ethnography of Marginalized HIV Women in Uganda.” Her advisor is Professor Cristie Traina.

Courtney Rabada

Courtney Rabada

CourtneyRabada2022@u.northwestern.edu

Courtney Rabada is a doctoral student in American Religions. Her research interests include contemporary American religions, gender/sexuality, and ethnography. Her work focuses on the effects of religion on women’s sexuality, in particular gendered issues of shame, self-confidence, and body image. 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. 

Myev Rees

Myev Rees

MyevRees2016@u.northwestern.edu

Myev Rees is a doctoral candidate studying religion and American popular culture, media, and gender. Her dissertation explores how conservative Christian women in the United States use mainstream and new media platforms to (re)imagine motherhood, female and fetal bodies, and reproductive and sexual agency. Myev received an MA from Miami University of Ohio where her research focused on American religious history and culture, megachurches, and religious self-help literature. She received her BA in Philosophy from Barnard College, Columbia University.

Benjamin Ricciardi

Benjamin Ricciardi

BenjaminRicciardi2012@u.northwestern.edu

Benjamin Ricciardi is a doctoral student in Jewish philosophy. Before coming to Northwestern, he earned an MA in Jewish Studies from the Jewish Theological Seminary and a BA in Philosophy from Arizona State University. He is particularly interested in the Kantian strain in modern Jewish thought, especially the Marburg school of Neo-Kantianism. His dissertation analyses the weekday Jewish liturgy as a response to the Problem of Evil. Benjamin’s other areas of interest include early modern philosophy, political philosophy, ethics, and ontotheology. His advisor is Kenneth Seeskin.

Hannah Scheidt

Hannah Scheidt

HannahScheidt2012@u.northwestern.edu

Hannah Scheidt is a doctoral candidate studying contemporary atheist culture. Combining methods and approaches from religious studies, cultural studies, and media studies, her dissertation examines how atheists negotiate meanings and values through media. The project aims to show how “atheism” gains positive content, signaling more than simply lack of belief in god(s). Her other research interests include secularism, religion and/of technology, and transhumanism. Hannah graduated from Bowdoin College with a B.A. in Religious Studies and English Literature. Her advisor is Sarah McFarland Taylor.

Matthew J. Smith

Matthew J. Smith

matthewSmith2015@u.northwestern.edu

Matthew J. Smith is a doctoral student in American Religions and Mellon Fellow in Comparative Race and Diaspora. He specializes in the inter-disciplinary study of religion and race in the Americas, with specific interest in the entanglements between Anglo-Protestantism and White imperial/colonial formations at the turn of the 20th century. His dissertation project explores racial theories of the human articulated by Protestant "missions science," across a number of interrelated colonial sites, both locally and globally. Areas of interest: U.S. empire, critical race theory, gender/sexuality, racial and settler colonialism, secularism and the politics of freedom, space and mobility, de-/anti-colonial methodologies, and critical white 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@northwestern.edu

Darcie Price-Wallace is a doctoral student in Buddhist Studies. She studies different forms of female monasticism and renunciation in contemporary South Asia. Her research examines the relationship between communities of such women and the social environments in which those communities exist, and the way in which these communities are influenced by and accept or reject the nexus of cultural traditions of which they are a part. Darcie graduated from the University of Chicago with an M.A. from the School of Social Service Administration and an M.A. from the Divinity School. 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.

 

Sarah Wolf

Sarah Wolf

swolf@u.northwestern.edu

Sarah Wolf is a doctoral candidate in Ancient Judaism. She studies practices of textual interpretation in ancient and medieval Jewish culture. She is currently working on her dissertation, "The Rabbinic Legal Imagination: Between Praxis and Scholasticism in the Babylonian Talmud," in which she reveals the competing drives towards practical law and scholastic thought in late antique Jewish literature. Her advisors are Barry Wimpfheimer and Mira Balberg.

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