Department of Religious Studies

Graduate Students

  • Muntazir Ali

    Muntazir Ali

    Islam, Society, and Culture

    Muntazir is a Ph.D. student in Islam, Society, and Culture. He has a MSt. in Modern South Asian Studies from Oxford University and a post-graduate diploma in Islamic Studies and Humanities from the Institute of Ismaili Studies, London. He is broadly interested in religious identity formation, orality and textuality in religious cultures and the role of space and place in religious traditions of ‘borderlands’ in South and Central Asia from the 1600s to the present. His current research seeks to apply spatial theory and methodologies to colonial boundary-making strategies (boundary commissions, surveys, road building, trade regulation and production of ‘trans-frontier’ information) in the ‘greater Badakhshan’ region during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in order to map entanglements of state actions with conceptions of religious space, self, and society.

  • Nicholas Andersen

    Nicholas Andersen

    Religion and Critical Thought

    Nicholas Andersen is a Ph.D. candidate in Religion and Critical Thought. He specializes in Black religious thought, religious ethics, and religions of the Americas. In particular, his work examines the ways key nineteenth- and twentieth-century Black thinkers appealed to religious resources as they fashioned ideas about African redemption and the destiny of the Black race. His dissertation, “‘Ethiopia Shall Soon Stretch Forth Her Hands unto God:’ Ethiopianism, Conjure, and Repatriation in Black Religious Thought,” reconstructs the moral vocabulary of the Ethiopianist tradition with special attention to its Africana dimensions.

  • Aseel Azab

    Aseel Azab

    Islam, Society, and Culture

    Aseel is a graduate student in Islam, Society and Culture. She holds a BA in Political Science from the American University in Cairo. She is interested in the cultivation and expression of contemporary Muslim socio-political projects and ethical subjectivities, particularly in Egypt, and the ways in which these projects are produced in response to political circumstances, as well as ongoing textual engagement with premodern Islamic traditions. She has published "The Secular in Anglophone Scholarship on Premodern Islam: A Critical Historiography" in the HDS Graduate Student Journal (2021), and recently presented a paper titled "Blessed Be the Strangers: an Islamic Ethical Framework for Eschatological Times" at the Muslim Futurism Conference (2022)

  • Kelly Banker

    Religion & Critical Thought
  • Mikail Berg

    Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean
  • Josiah Bisbee

    Josiah Bisbee

    Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean

    Josiah S. Bisbee is a graduate of Yale University, where he completed an MAR in Second Temple Judaism and is now in his fifth year at Brown University as a RAM student, concentrating in Ancient Israelite religion.  He has particular interest in the reception history and use of the Hebrew Bible in late antique Judaism, specifically in the fields of Rabbinic literature, so-called "Jewish Mysticism" and "Magic," as well as later use of the Hebrew Bible in Medieval "Jewish Mysticism" and Kabbalah. 

  • Tara Dhaliwal

    Islam, Society and Culture

    Tara is a PhD student entering the Islam, Society, and Culture track.  She holds degrees from Harvard (A.M. in Middle Eastern Studies), and New York University (B.A. in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, and Politics).  Her current research interests center around the Salfavid and Mughal empires broadly, with a particular interest in the shared features between them.

  • Timothy Gilmartin

    Timothy Gilmartin

    Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean

    Tim is a PhD student in the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean track. He entered the program in 2020 after completing an M.A.R. in Hebrew Bible at Yale Divinity School. His research focuses on the religion of ancient Israel, the composition of the Bible, and the history and methods of biblical interpretation. A particular research interest of his is the Israelite practice of tithing in its ancient West Asian context, including its development during the Second Temple period. In 2019, Tim participated in an excavation at Kiriath-Jearim.

  • Alexis Glenn

    Alexis Glenn

    Religion and Critical Thought

    Alexis is a fifth-year Doctoral Candidate in the Religion and Critical Thought track, entering the program after earning a dual B.A. in Religious Studies and Anthropology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2008, and an M.A. in Religious Studies from the University of Colorado-Boulder in 2012.  Her primary interests lie at the intersection of Human studies, Aristotelian moral philosophy, early modern Anglo-American ethical traditions, and constructions of the self within historical texts.  Her current work focuses on issues of ethical formation and moral anthropology in the work of David Hume, and the conceptual roles of 'tradition' and 'history' within early modern Western philosophical thought.  Her broad research interests include late medieval and early modern British and colonial American history, virtue ethics and its commentators, democratic theory, and political theology. 

  • Samuel Goldstein

    Asian Religious Traditions

    Sam is a PhD candidate in Asian Religious Traditions. His work tends to focus on the Warring States period in China (approx. 450-200 BCE), and he primarily works on early Chinese Daoist texts such as the Laozi and Zhuangzi  as well as excavated manuscripts from this period. He is writing his dissertation on an excavated manuscript titled Yin Gaozong wen yu San Shou, "The High Chief of Yin Questions the Three Venerables", which can be dated to approximately 350 BCE. This text contains a unique perspective on the relationship between the ruler, the spirit realm, and the human realm, outside of the traditional textual and philosophical categories of "Daoism" or Confucianism." His dissertation will utilize religious studies, historical, text-critical, philosophical, and linguistic methodologies to fix this text in historical and cultural context. Sam has a BA in Chinese from Grinnell College and an MA in Chinese Studies from the University of Michigan. He is currently a visiting scholar at Fudan University in Shanghai, China.

  • Tali Hershkovitz

    Tali Hershkovitz

    Asian Religious Traditions

    Tali is a second year PhD student in ART.  She previously earned her BA from Beijing Language and Culture University, with a degree in Chinese language.  She also earned an MA from Beijing Language and Culture University in Teaching Chinese as a Second Language.  She has an additional MA in East Asian Studies from Washington University in St. Louis.  She is broadly interested in women's religiosity in pre-modern China.  She has written about Daoist immortal Sun Bu'er.  Tali is currently pursuing a project to compare the construction of female religiosity across Chinese Buddhism and Daoism.

  • Robert Kashow

    Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean

    Rob holds a MA in Religion from Yale University and is currently pursuing a PhD in Religious Studies and a MA in Anthropology at Brown University. Broadly he is interested in the intersection of religion, politics, and violence, with specific foci on the history, culture, and heritage of ancient Israel and its environs during the 1st Millennium BCE. He also conducts research on the reception of Israel's heritage among modern day North American evangelical Christians, attending to issues related to Cultural Heritage and the relationship between ancient religious texts (especially the Bible) and modern politics. His dissertation is entitled "The Violent Imagination: Agency and Representation in Ancient Judaism and the Bible,” in which he focuses on textual representations of violence in the books of Zechariah, Daniel, and Revelation. His thesis for the Anthropology degree is entitled "Evangelical Heritage in the Making: The Museum of the Bible in Anthropological Perspective."

  • Caroline Kory

    Religion and Critical Thought

    Caroline's scholarship focuses on contemporary environmental ethics, American religions, and politics.  She has a dual Bachelor's degree in Religious Studies and Political Science from Grinnell College.  Beyond academe, Caroline has worked as a community organizer, environmental advocate, and lobbyist in Washington, D.C. and Virginia.  Caroline's current work is interdisciplinary, centering on questions of human-environment/spatial interactions, ethically formative religious and quotidian practices, new materialism(s), and relational ethics.  She seeks to highlight the complex web of relations within which humans in the Anthropocene exist, and to offer tools for both lamenting the harms we have wrought on all earthlings (including ourselves), as well as for learning to cope with, and adapt to, our current ecological realities. 

  • Patrick Magoffin

    Asian Religious Traditions

    Patrick is a fourth year PhD student in the ART program. He previously earned his BA from George Mason University, with a degree in World History.  He also earned a MA with a degree in Pre-Modern Chinese History from Xiamen University in Xiamen, PRC, and specialized in Tang-era (618-907) Chan and Tiantai Buddhism, particularly traditional forms of historiography and meditative practice.  Currently, Patrick's broader interests include Buddhist intellectual and social histories in China, with a focus on Huayan and Tiantai texts, rituals, and monastic institutions in the Northern Song (960-1127) and Southern Song (1127-1279) periods. 

  • Carolina Mendoza

    Islam, Culture and Society
  • Lise Miltner

    Religion and Critical Thought
  • Avery Morrow

    Asian Religious Traditions
  • Caleb Murray

    Caleb Murray

    Religion and Critical Thought

    Caleb’s research lies at the intersection of religious and philosophical ethics, theory of religion, and environmental humanities. He has particular interests in queer theory, film, and literature. Most recently, his research has appeared in the Journal of the American Academy of Religion and Literature and Theology. His dissertation—Feeling a Failing Climate: Tragedy, Affect, and Religious Storytelling in Film and Literature—argues that common affects in climate literature problematically predetermine environmental ethics and suggests that the creative use of religious storytelling in popular media challenges common and limiting narratives of hope and despair. Caleb is a graduate of Wittenberg University (BA) and Harvard Divinity School (MTS). His research has been supported by numerous fellowships and awards from organizations including The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Joukowsky Institute, and The International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature, and Culture.

  • Sherry Pan

    Asian Religious Traditions

    Sherry is a PhD candidate in Asian Religious Traditions. She studies the social and religious history of Chinese Buddhism during the late imperial era. Her dissertation focuses on eunuchs’ support of Buddhism in Beijing and nearby regions in the late-Ming (1527-1644). She has a broad interest in the scholarly discourse on religious diversity, death ritual, and gender identity in the late imperial and republican periods. 

  • Michaela Prostak

    Asian Religious Traditions
  • Michael Putnam

    Michael Putnam

    Religion and Critical Thought

    Michael A. Putnam is a doctoral student in Religion and Critical Thought.  His interests lie at the intersection of theory of religion, religious ethics, political theory, and the environmental humanities.  His primary research explores the religious dimensions of environmental politics in the United States.  Starting from the observation that American environmentalism has often been inflected with a certain religiosity, he examines how various paradigms for conceiving religion have accompanied environmental writing and activism.  His other areas of interest include the religious ethics of American Romanticism, the relationship between religion and science, and critical theories of secularism.  Before coming to Brown, Michael studied at Whitman College (BA) and Harvard Divinity School (MTS).  He has received a Mellon Graduate Fellowship in Collaborative Humanities from the Cogut Institute for the 2019-2020 academic year.

  • Lauren Smith

    Religion and Critical Thought
  • Celia Stern

    Celia Stern

    Religion and Critical Thought

    Celia is interested in the various intersections of religion, politics, and ethics. She thinks about mourning and memory, specifically as they relate to instances of political violence. She approaches these interests through the lenses of Jewish philosophical thought, literature, and political theory. More generally, Celia is animated by questions concerning relationality, corporeality, responsibility, survival, and modes of bearing witness.

  • Noah Tetenbaum

    Noah Tetenbaum

    Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean

    Noah studies the intellectual history of the Jews of the medieval Islamic world. His dissertation explores conceptions of the ancient Jewish sacrificial cult among 10th-century Karaites as revealed in their Arabic Bible translation-commentaries

  • Donnell A. Williamson Jr.

    Donnell A. Williamson, Jr.

    Religion and Critical Thought

    Donnell's research examines the dialogical relationship between faith and despair in relation to Protestantism's various, often disparate, ethical dispositions.  His scholarship focuses on modern religious thought, historical philosophy, and the Black literary tradition.  His primary research interests include philosophy of religion, religion and politics, religious ethics, and Black American religious traditions, emphasizing the intellectual histories of Frederick Douglass, Ralph Ellison, and Søren Kierkegaard.  Donnell holds a B.A. in Sociology from Morehouse College and an MDiv from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University.  He enjoys reading, playing tennis, and listening to music in his spare time.

  • Christopher Yang

    Christopher Yang

    Asian Religious Traditions

    Chris is a PhD student in ART.  He received a BA from Stanford University in Religious Studies and Philosophy and an AM from Harvard University's Committee on Regional Studies - East Asia.  He studies early Chinese intellectual history, with a focus on the received and excavated materials of the Warring States period (476-221 BCE).  His broader interests are in religious ethics, ritual theory, and practices of self-cultivation. 

  • Soyoung You

    Soyoung You

    Asian Religious Traditions

    Soyoung is a fifth-year ART student, focusing on the religious and intellectual traditions in East Asia during the pre-modern era, especially Neo-Confucianism.  She received a M.A. in Asian Philosophy from Korea University in 2011.  She is particularly interested in the notion of the sage in Neo-Confucianism and the identity of Neo-Confucians.  Her methodological interests include intellectual history, ethics, moral psychology, philosophical anthropology, and comparative philosophy.  She is a native Korean speaker and is fluent in Japanese as well as in Chinese