Claire Bischoff is a doctoral candidate in religion at Emory University in the Person, Community, and Religious Life program. She focuses on religious education and practical theology.
Sarah Imhoff is a doctoral candidate at the University of Chicago Divinity School and a fellow at the Center for Gender Studies. Her work centers on gender and American Jewish history.
Samira Mehta is a doctoral candidate in the American Religious Cultures course of study at Emory University. Her dissertation focuses on Christian-Jewish interfaith families in the United States, a project in which she explores the dynamics of familial religious practice and experience through the lens of cultural history.
Andrea Tucker is a doctoral student in the Ethics and Society program of the Graduate Department of Religion at Vanderbilt University. Her research focuses on the relationship of religion and desire to the formation and representation of the citizen.
Jonathan (Jon) Loar is a doctoral student in Emory University's Graduate Division of Religion. His course of study is West and South Asian Religions, and he focuses on modern Hinduism.
Kristy Slominski is a graduate student in the Religion in America program at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her research explores the intersection of sexuality, gender, and American religion.
Andrew Zirschky is a doctoral student in Practical Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary. He focuses on youth and young adult formation. His research interests include the intersection of faith and technology, faith and adolescent brain development, and youth and spiritual practices.
Katherine M. Douglass is a doctoral candidate in Practical Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary.
Stephen Cady is a doctoral candidate in Practical Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary with an emphasis in youth, culture, and worship. He is a provisional elder in the United Methodist Church.
Elizabeth Corrie is Assistant Professor in the Practice of Youth Education and Peacebuilding at the Candler School of Theology, Emory University. She directs Candler's Youth Theological Initiative.
Rebekah Eklund is an ordained minister who served a church in Minneapolis before beginning studies in New Testament and theology/ethics in the Th.D. program at Duke Divinity School.
Laurie Occhipinti is an Associate Professor of cultural anthropology at Clarion University of Pennsylvania.
Montana Miller is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Popular Culture at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. A folklorist and ethnographer, she specializes in youth culture.
Lucia Hulsether, Agnes Scott College '11, is double-majoring in Religious Studies and Sociology/Anthropology. She is interested in how religion intersects with issues of identity and power, especially in relation to gender, race, and migration in the US. She has worked as a research assistant on a Ford Foundation project that studied how religion influences interethnic and interracial relations around new immigration to the US south. In 2009 a version of the paper published herein won the undergraduate paper award at the Southeastern Commission for the Study of Religion conference.
Brian J. Mahan is the former Director of Religious Education at Candler School of Theology and former faculty member of the Graduate Division of Religion of Emory University. He lives in Manhattan with his wife, Kim.
Jillian Schedneck holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from West Virginia University and is currently working on a travel memoir about her experiences in the United Arab Emirates titled "Abu Dhabi Days, Dubai Nights." Her creative work has been published in literary journals such as The Common Review, Brevity, and Fourth River.
Richard Voelz is a PhD candidate in Homiletics and Liturgics at Vanderbilt University currently writing his dissertation entitled "A Youthful Homiletic: A Practical Theological Examination of the Relationship between Preaching and Adolescents." He is an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), managing editor of the journal Homiletic, and previously served in parish youth ministry.
Josh Borkin has worked in interfaith youth contexts for over 10 years with both the Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions and Auburn Theological Seminary. Josh currently teaches at The City College of New York and plans to receive his doctorate from Teachers College, Columbia University in the fall of 2009.
Natalie Stadnick is a junior at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, GA, where she studies Philosophy.
Susannah Morris is a sophomore at Furman University, majoring in classics and religion.
Sonia Narang is a freelance reporter and filmmaker in New York City.
Brian Campbell is a doctoral student in the American Religious Cultures course of study at Emory University. His current work examines contemporary hermits and their relationships with the natural world.
Jana Strukova is Assistant Professor of the Chair in Christian Education & Formation at the Episcopal Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas. Her research concerns the faith-based transformative practices that nurture and sustain families and youth in their life of faith.
Almeda M. Wright is a doctoral candidate in the Person, Community and Religious Life course of study of the Graduate Division of Religion at Emory University. Her dissertation, entitled "Integrated-Integrating Pedagogy," offers a practical theological analysis of the spirituality of African American adolescents. Wright addresses a trend among youth to "fragment" or separate their religious convictions from taking action and responding to injustices in "non-religious" contexts. Combining an analysis of educational curricula and sermons in African American churches with interviews of African American youth, she seeks both to analyze the complexity of fragmented spirituality among African American youth and to offer pedagogical strategies that empower youth to "integrate" the various dimensions of their spirituality.
Josh Thomas is a doctoral candidate in the Person, Community and Religious Life course of study focusing on religious education with youth and young adults. His dissertation will draw on work with Kids4Peace, an organization that gathers Jewish, Christian, and Muslim youth from Jerusalem for intensive summer camps. Evaluating the impact of this program, Thomas will explore the theologies and religious practices required to support young people in efforts toward peace. He also studies religion and sexuality, developing practices of pastoral guidance to help LGBT young adults navigate the relationship between their faith and sexuality. An ordained Episcopal priest, Thomas works in campus ministry for the Diocese of New Hampshire.
Ted A. Smith is an assistant professor of ethics and society at Vanderbilt Divinity School, where he directs the Program in Theology and Practice. He is the author of The New Measures: A Theological History of Democratic Practice.
Amanda Drury is a doctoral candidate in Practical Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary. She is an ordained minister in the Wesleyan Church.
Jenn Ortegren is a doctoral student in West and South Asian Religions at Emory University. Her research interests are in the religious songs of rural Rajasthani women.
Courtney T. Goto is a doctoral candidate in the Person, Community and Religious Life course of study of the Graduate Division of Religion at Emory University. Her dissertation, entitled "Artistic Play: Seeking the God of the Unexpected," sets forth a practical theology of play through art, and explores issues of body, imagination, teaching and learning for adults through two case studies. In the first case, Goto investigates how participants of InterPlay, based in Oakland, California, are creating selves by engaging in improvisational theater, movement, and vocal music. In the second case, Goto compares the ways in which a Japanese-American congregation in Sacramento, California discovers connections between faith and culture through play, Japanese artifacts, and aesthetics. Performance theory and object-relations aesthetics serve as theoretical lenses.
Katy Shrout is a doctoral candidate in American religious history and culture. Her dissertation addresses the role of the sacred in the commercialization of white wedding practices, 1840-1970. Drawing upon books, diaries, advertisements, church materials, films, photographs and material artifacts, she investigates how the wedding has served as a site of sacred significance for women, depending upon and reshaping meanings derived from religious institutions and the marketplace. She is interested in what constitutes a religious practice in modernity, and how consumer culture has competed with, fed upon, and sustained American religion. Shrout also has a masters' in documentary film from Berkeley, and produced a documentary screened at the Sundance Film Festival in 2002.
A PhD candidate in the American Religious Cultures course of study, Donna S. Mote is an ethnographer of religious cultures and practices. The focus of her dissertation project is the religious culture of Shingleroof Camp Meeting in Henry County, Georgia, and she is currently at work on a documentary film about Shingleroof. Much of Mote's work involves identifying and analyzing implicit practices of ancestor veneration in US contexts. She places such practices in conversation with more explicit ancestor-venerating practices in non-US religious cultures, such as that of Obon, the Buddhist Festival of the Dead, in Japan. Animating her work are a focus on the interplay of practices, memory, bodies, and place and an interest in new approaches to religious places and spaces.
Letitia Campbell is a doctoral student in the Ethics and Society course of study of the Graduate Division of Religion at Emory University. She is interested in the history of Christian social ethics, social and political theory, and the new rhetoric of empire. Before beginning doctoral studies, Campbell lived in New York City, where she was part of the program staff at Auburn Theological Seminary and taught at Manhattan College and Columbia University. She has worked as a newspaper reporter, and she brings experience in faith-based organizing and anti-racism facilitation to her scholarly work. She has also worked in youth, young adult, and campus ministry, and is a candidate for ordination in the Presbyterian Church (USA).
An ordained Baptist minister within the historic black church, Jermaine McDonald is a doctoral student in the Ethics and Society course of study in Emory?s Graduate Division of Religion. He is interested 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. McDonald has 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. Prior to doctoral studies, he worked as a web-based systems developer and as a hospital and hospice chaplain.
Howell Belser received her B.A. in English from Emory University in 2002 and her M.T.S from Pacific School of Religion in 2004. She has returned to Emory and is a doctoral student in the American Religious Cultures course of study of the Graduate Division of Religion. Her academic interests include lived religion, popular culture, gender/queer studies, utopian fiction, performance theory, social change movements, and pedagogy. Her current work explores the transformative potential of queer utopian science fiction and subversive queer performance art.
David King is a doctoral student in the Historical Studies course of study of the Graduate Division of Religion at Emory University. Trained as a scholar of American religions, he employs ethnographic and historical methods to explore the complexity of twentieth-century American evangelicalism, depicting its diverse practices and ideologies. King's current work examines the evolving understandings of mission and public policy within evangelical non-governmental organizations. As an ordained minister, King is also committed to researching and responding to issues of practice within local communities of faith. His recent work has followed the formation of a Hispanic storefront congregation, as well as the short-term missions program of a suburban megachurch.
Samira Mehta is a doctoral candidate in the American Religious Cultures course of study. Her dissertation focuses on Christian-Jewish interfaith families in the late twentieth century United States, a project in which she explores the dynamics of familial religious practice and experience through the lens of cultural history. Mehta's project translates conversations about pluralism in American religion to familial religious practices, and examines the cultural construction of Christian-Jewish interfaith families through a close examination of popular culture. The ethnographic portion of her dissertation involves interviewing families about their own religious practices, with particular analytic attention paid to areas of innovation. Her project also explores dynamics of community outreach to interfaith families.
John Senior is a doctoral candidate in the Ethics and Society course of study and a concentrator in the Initiative in Religious Practices and Practical Theology. His dissertation explores the construction of Christian identity and moral agency in and through forms of political activism. Senior's interests also include the relationship between theological education in the seminary context and diverse practices of ministry.
Haemin Lee is a doctoral student in the Person, Community, and Religious Life course of study of the GDR at Emory University. Born in Seoul, Haemin has a longstanding interest in utilizing academic knowledge in the service of humanity, bridging the gap between the academy of religion and religious practices at international and inter-religious levels. As an ordained Presbyterian minister (PC(USA)), Haemin has served as a pastor in Brazilian, African, Korean, and American congregations and as a chaplain at Harvard and Emory hospitals, Saint Francis House in Boston, and UNICEF. Haemin is generally interested in Christian global missions in conjunction with intercultural studies, postcolonialism, postmodernism, developmental psychology, and cultural anthropology. His current ethnographic research focuses on Korean Christian transnational NGO groups. Haemin holds degrees from Emory (Th.M.), Harvard (M.Div.), and Yonsei (B.A.).
Matthew Bersagel Braley is a doctoral student in the Ethics and Society course of study of the Graduate Division of Religion at Emory University. He works at the intersection of religion and global health in Africa and the African Diaspora. He is a member of the African Religious Health Assets Program, an international network of scholars and practitioners employing assets-based development approaches to understand the contribution of religion in healthcare. At Emory he served as executive director of Southern Truth and Reconciliation, a university-community partnership highlighting reconciliation practices of communities confronting legacies of racial violence. Prior to graduate studies, he directed youth programs in churches and other non-profit organizations.
Amy Levad is a doctoral candidate in the Ethics and Society course of study whose research explores religious efforts to reform criminal justice systems in the US. Her dissertation, entitled “The Moral Imagination of Restorative Justice,” places the intellectual history of virtue ethics in dialogue with ethnographic research in six restorative justice programs in Colorado. Levad's dissertation also explores how participation in restorative justice practices can change the ways communities imagine and respond to the ethical challenges that arise in the aftermath of crime. This work fits within Levad's larger projects of investigating the contributions of religious traditions to criminal justice theories and practices and the role of moral imagination in responding creatively to other social problems.
Jessica M. Smith is a doctoral student in the Theological Studies course of study of the GDR. Her academic interests center around feminist and womanist scholarship in contemporary Christian theology. She utilizes feminist and womanist literature, feminist theory, and post-structuralist thought as sources for her constructive theological work. Currently, she is interested in re-imagining angelic revelation as a redemptive epistemology for the transformation of self and community.