Colloquium Fellows 2018-2019

Christopher Boyd Brown, Associate Professor, School of Theology and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
Christopher Boyd Brown is Associate Professor of Church History at Boston University School of Theology, where he has taught since 2003. He studied at Harvard University (A.B., A.M., Ph.D.) and Concordia Seminary, St. Louis (M.Div.). He is author of Singing the Gospel: Lutheran Hymns and the Success of the Reformation (2005) and serves as General Editor of the American Edition of Luther’s Works, volumes 56-75 (2009-). His most recent publication is an edition of Sixteenth-Century Biographies of Martin Luther (2018). His current projects include a study of sixteenth century wedding-sermons and an edition of Luther’s academic disputations.

Sultan Doughan, Visting Scholar, Elie Wiesel Center for Judaic Studies
Sultan Doughan is an anthropologist trained at the University of California at Berkeley and is currently a visiting scholar at the Elie Wiesel Center for Judaic Studies, Boston University. Doughan’s work focuses on the question of citizenship for religiously differentiated minorities in Western Europe. Her dissertation asks why and how Muslim and Jewish minorities become racialized in the secular-liberal context of the German nation-state. She asks what the place of non-Christian religious minorities is after the Holocaust and in the current context of war on terror. For that, she focused particularly on civic education in Berlin as a site of citizen-subject emergence through a cultivated relationship with Holocaust history. Doughan’s work is located at the intersection of Secularism, Protestantism, race, migration, Muslims and Islam, Jews and Judaism in Europe, nationalism, subject-subjectivity, state-citizen relations, civic practices.

Joe Kauslick, PhD Student, School of Theology
Joe Kauslick is a third year PhD student in Constructive Theology at the School of Theology. He holds a BA in Biblical Studies from Cincinnati Christian University and an MDiv from Abilene Christian University. He currently serves as the president of the Association of PhD Students in the School of Theology. Broadly his interests are in wisely and conscientiously engaging Christian traditions in order to enrich contemporary theological practices and commitments. More specifically, he is interested in the nature and task of Christian theology, the relationship between God and creation, Christianity and liberal democracy in the United States, theological and moral formation, ecclesiology, and the intersection of qualitative research methods and constructive theology.

Hyunwoo Koo, PhD Student, School of Theology Hyunwoo Koo is pursuing his PhD in Practical Theology, focusing on the socio-cultural and religious experiences of Korean immigrants in the U.S. His research interests also include contextual theologies, post-colonial studies, and migration studies. Prior to his current program, Hyunwoo studied at Boston University (M.Div) and Harvard University (MTS in Comparative Studies).


Lingshu Liu, Masters Student, School of Theology
Lingshu Liu is currently a second-year masters student at Boston University School of Theology. Her research interest is shaped by the diversity in religious cultures in China, inter alia, the communication between the eastern tradition and the western elements. She is curious about how the developments of religions and society are interrelated. When she was pursuing her Bachelor degree in Religious Studies, Lingshu spent two summers in two southern provinces in China researching the relationship between society and the educational systems of Theravada Buddhism and Tibetan Buddhism.

Ellen Messer, Visiting Professor, Metropolitan College
Ellen Messer is a biocultural anthropologist specializing in food, security, religion, and human rights. From 1987-1999 she was core faculty, then Director, of the Alan Shawn Feinstein World Hunger Program at Brown University. In the 2000s, she continues to update “food-systems” perspectives on agricultural biotechnologies, and the evolving cultural political roles of non-governmental organizations that fight hunger and promote human rights in the U.S. and the world.


Judith Oleson, Co-Director, Program on Religion and Conflict Transformation, School of Theology
Judith Oleson is the Co-Director of the Program on Religion and Conflict Transformation at Boston University School of Theology, where she also teaches courses in Transitional Justice, Reconciliation and Conflict Transformation. Her research and writing include reconciliation processes between Indigenous Communities, Governments and the Church for years of child removal policies that resulted in cultural genocide in the US, Australia, and Canada. She is also interested in the relationship between individual and collective healing and cross sector partnerships for social change in post-conflict communities.

Tom Reid, Masters Student, School of Theology
Tom Reid is in the final year of the Master of Divinity (MDiv) program at Boston University School of Theology in Boston University. His studies include a focus on religion and conflict transformation and interreligious engagement. In conjunction with his studies, Tom is an inquirer seeking ordination in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Prior to returning to higher education, Tom spent over ten years working in a variety of fields: clean energy in Boston, environmental and green building consulting in Boston and Dubai, and business education in Madrid, Spain. Originally from Kansas, Tom holds a BA with honors from the University of Kansas in Environmental Studies, Latin American Studies, and Spanish and an MA in European Politics, Policy, and Society granted jointly by the Euromasters consortium of European universities and funded by a Fulbright grant.

Barbod Salimi, Assistant Professor, School of Theology
Barbod Salimi is Assistant Professor of Philosophical Psychology, Theological Ethics, and Peace Studies in the School of Theology at Boston University. His teaching and research interests lie at the intersection of philosophy, psychology, religion, and ethics. His recent work has focused on peace and violence and he is currently working on his first book which explores the psychology of war.


Brother Lawrence A. Whitney, University Chaplain
Brother Lawrence A. Whitney, LC† is a doctoral candidate in philosophical and comparative theology at the Boston University School of Theology and serves as University Chaplain for Community Life at Boston University’s Marsh Chapel. His dissertation develops an alethic approach to the problem of religious language by engaging social scientific and Confucian ritual theories. He is also working on conceptualizing the phenomenon of Protestantization and, for the CURA colloquium, developing a religious philosophy for collaborative polity.

Abaas Yunas, Masters Student, Pardee School of Global Studies
Abaas Yunas is currently a second year MA candidate in the International Affairs and Religion program at the Pardee School of Global Studies. His academic interests lie in political science, international relations, and theology. Prior to BU, Abaas lived and worked in the Middle East, where he led and collaborated on projects related to religion and current affairs with religious leaders, state actors, NGO’s, and international institutions.


Alexandra Zirkle, Post-Doctoral Associate, Elie Wiesel Center for Jewish Studies
Alexandra Zirkle is Postdoctoral Fellow at the Elie Wiesel Center for Jewish Studies at Boston University. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago Divinity School in 2016, completed a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at the Leibniz Institute of European History (Mainz) in 2017, and was Visiting Assistant Professor of Modern Jewish Thought at the University of Notre Dame in 2018. Dr. Zirkle is currently completing her book manuscript, Biblical Hermeneutics and the Formations of Modern German Jewry, which traces how German Jews expertly wielded exegetical scholarship to defend their rights to civil emancipation and to formulate their identities as modern Jews and Germans. Her second book project is a history of nineteenth-century Jewish critiques of capitalism as articulated in religious texts including sermons, commentaries, and devotional literature. Dr. Zirkle has taught courses on subjects including modern Jewish thought, medieval and modern biblical exegesis, and Jewish-Christian relations at the University of Chicago, Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion, Los Angeles, and the University of Notre Dame.