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.

  • 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

    Mikail Berg

    Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean

    Mikail Berg is a third year PhD student in the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean track. His work focuses on the intersection of race, ethnicity and religion in the ancient world, particularly in the Eastern Mediterranean. He completed his ThM at Vancouver School of Theology looking at the Syriac Short Recension of Ignatius of Antioch. Mikail also holds a MATS in the History of Christianity from Regent College (Vancouver, Canada) and a BA in Intercultural Studies with a concentration in the Middle East from Northwest University (Seattle, WA). He grew up in the Pacific Northwest and enjoys exploring the outdoors with his family and trying new recipes. 

  • 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
  • Bailey Freeburn

    Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean
  • 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.

  • Jennifer Greenberg

    Jennifer Greenberg

    Religion and Critical Thought

    Jennifer is interested in philosophical and religious ethics, political theory, and theory of religion, particularly concerning questions of moral formation and state power. She received an M.A. from the University of Chicago Divinity School prior to Brown.

  • Tali Hershkovitz

    Tali Hershkovitz

    Asian Religious Traditions

    Tali is a fifth year PhD student in ART. She earned her BA from Beijing Language and Culture University (BLCU), with a degree in Chinese language. She also earned an MA from BLCU in Teaching Chinese as a Second Language and an additional MA in East Asian Studies from Washington University in St. Louis. Her intellectual interests are related to women’s religious lives and religious praxis during the Song dynasty (960-1279). More specifically, she is interested in the interrelation of gender and religious spaces and places in the Jiangnan area (Southeast China) during the Southern Song (1127-1279). Her research employs a variety of sources including geographical materials such as local gazetteers,narratives from the Song’s largest zhiguai (tales of the strange) collection, The Record of the Listener, as well as miscellaneous writings (biji) by Song literati. Some of the questions she is interested in are related to women’s mobility through the landscape, their participation in religious meaning-making in relation to religious spaces such as temples and shrines, and the way in which gender relations might have shaped religious spaces and places (and vice versa).       

  • 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."

  • Zhujun Ma

    Zhujun Ma

    Asian Religious Traditions

    Zhujun is a PhD student in ART. She earned her BA in Chinese Languages & Literature from Zhengzhou University, a MA degree in Chinese Folk Literature from Shandong University, and her Dual MA in Religious Studies and Asian Languages & Civilizations from the University of Colorado Boulder. Her research interests mainly focus on religions, gender, vernacular practices, and print culture in Late Imperial China. She is currently wrapping up her research on the pilgrimage to the Goddess of Mount Tai (Bixia yuanjun), and has recently started exploring the cheaply printed pilgrimage maps of Mount Jiuhua in the late Qing and early Republican era.

  • Patrick Magoffin

    Asian Religious Traditions

    Patrick is a doctoral candidate in the ART program. He earned his BA from George Mason University with a degree in 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, doctrinal learning, and meditative praxis. Currently, Patrick's broader interests are in Buddhist intellectual and social histories in medieval China roughly between the 10th and 14th centuries. His dissertation investigates a Tiantai heresy and the formation of monastic communities based on textual practices during the Northern Song (960-1127).

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Shuangxia Zhu

    Shuangxia Wu

    Islam, Society and Culture

    Shuangxia “Sunshine” Wu is a first-year PhD student in Islam, Society, and Culture. She studies the social and intellectual history of Muslims in early modern China. Her broader interests include lived religion, transnationalism, cultural translation, and minority studies. Sunshine received a BA in Religious Studies and Mathematics from Brown University and a MTS from Harvard Divinity School. She enjoys rock-climbing, making music, and watching the sunset. 

  • 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 PhD candidate in the Asian Religious Traditions subfield, 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