Department of Religious Studies

Graduate Students

  • Mariam Aboukathir

    Islam, Society and Culture
  • 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
  • Rhitama Basak

    Rhitama Basak

    Islam, Society and Culture

    Rhitama is a doctoral student in Islam, Society and Culture.  Her work explores pre-modern Sufi travel across the Silk Roads from South Asian perspectives, with a focus on performance and textual traditions in the Chishti Sufi Dargah spaces.  She has majored in Comparative Literature from Jadavpur University, India.  She holds a M. Phil on the "Reception of the Sufi Landscape in Framing Resistance in South Asia: From Pre-Modern to Progressive Urdu Poetry" from the Department of Modern Indian Languages and Literary Studies, Delhi University.  Rhitama's areas of interest include Reception Studies, Sufism, Islam, and South Asian Studies.  She is working on a book chapter on South Asian Sufi material culture and the making of sacred geography. 

  • Mikail Berg

    Mikail Berg

    Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean

    Mikail Berg is a PhD student in the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean track.  His work focuses on the intersection of race, ethnography 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 a PhD candidate 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.  His current dissertation, tentatively titled "Innumerable Gods in Heaven: Divine Hierarchies from the Hebrew Bible to the Hekhalot Literature" explores various conceptions of divine hierarchies from AWA to late antiquity, while interrogating evolutionary theories regarding the so-called emergence of monotheism, as well as the "angelification" of YHWH's divine council and "demonization" of rival deities in the HB, Second Temple Judaism, and late antique/early medieval Jewish texts.

  • Joss Childs

    Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean
  • Tara Dhaliwal

    Islam, Society and Culture
  • Tessa Finley

    Religion and Critical Thought
  • Bailey Freeburn

    Bailey Freeburn

    Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean

    Bailey is a second-year PhD student in the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean track concentrating in Christianity in Late Antiquity.  Her research focuses on the use of violence, sexuality, and trauma in late antique Christian literature.  She is also broadly interested in theories of affect and embodiment.  Before coming to Brown, she received an MA in Religion from Yale Divinity School. 

  • 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.

  • Zohar Gitlis

    Religion and Critical Thought
  • 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. 

  • Jennifer Greenberg

    Jennifer Greenberg

    Religion and Critical Thought

    Jennifer focuses on modern philosophical and religious ethics, political theory, and Jewish thought.  She is interested in questions at the intersection of political theology and ethical formation, concerning the relationship of absolute politics and such things as the attention, affective orientations, spiritual practices, and relationality of the self.  Jennifer 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 and 2023 dissertation fellow of the ACLS Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Program in Buddhist Studies.  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. 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
  • Lucianna Onderwyzer Gold

    Religion and Critical Thought
  • 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 topics that concern memory, storytelling, and ritual practice.  Her thinking primarily engages the various intersections of religion and politics, Jewish though, political theory, and literature.

  • 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. 

  • Chris Yang

    Christopher Yang

    Asian Religious Traditions

    Chris studies early Chinese intellectual history, with a focus on practices of self-cultivation, esotericism, and the body.  His dissertation examines traditions of "biospiritual" practice (dietetic, gymnastic, sexual, and meditational regimens by which many sought to extend their lives and expand their powers) with particular attention to the concept of shen (often translated as "spirit").  He holds a BA and MA in Religious Studies from Stanford University and an MA from Harvard University's Committee on Regional Studies East Asia.