Category: News

GDRS Alumnus Appointed Sultan of Oman Fellow in Islamic Studies at Oxford University

July 16th, 2015 in Alumni News, News


Michael Feener, a GDRS Alumnus and an expert on Islamic jurisprudence and Indonesian culture, has recently been appointed as the Sultan of Oman Fellow in Islamic Studies at Oxford University. Dr. Feener studied with emeritus professor Merlin Swartz and wrote his dissertation on law reform in Indonesia, which became his first book. He currently teaches in the history department of the National University of Singapore. Congratulations and good luck Dr. Feener!

Two GDRS Students Receive Awards from the BU Center for the Humanities

May 20th, 2015 in News

Two GDRS PhD students were among the recipients of the the annual awards administered by the Boston University Center for the Humanities.  Lauren Kerby, whose research focuses on religious tourism in Washington, DC, was one of the students awarded the Edwin S. and Ruth M. White Prize.  Rebecca Esterson, whose research focuses on the early modern theologian Emanuel Swedenborg, was one of the recipients of the Helen G. Allen Humanities Award as well as the Angela J. and James J. Rallis Memorial Award .  Congratulations to Lauren and Rebecca on the well-deserved recognition of your academic achievements!

BUCH awards 2015 (1)


GDRS Celebrates its 2014-2015 Graduates

May 20th, 2015 in News

On May 15, 2015 the Graduate Division of Religious Studies held its annual graduation celebration.  Friends, family, students, faculty and staff gathered to toast the achievements of the new PhD and MA graduates in Religious Studies.  This year, Doctrates of Philosophy were awarded to Margaret Arnold, Theresa Cooney, Joel Daniels, Peter Hasbrouck, Giacomo Leoni, Yair Lior, Dorie Mansen, Derek Michaud, Kevin Taylor and Achmad Tohe.  Master’s Degrees were awarded to Dan Ansted, Ian Cooley, and Wendy Scott.  Congratulations to all of our graduates!

Kevin TaylorKevin Taylor, PhD (right), with is wife (left) and his advisor Nancy Ammerman (center).

Dorie MansenDorie Mansen, PhD (right), with her advisor Kathe Darr (left).

Yair LiorYair Lior, PhD (center) with his mother and father.

Achmad ToheAchmad Tohe, PhD (right) with his advisor Kecia Ali (second from right) and his wife and three daughters.

Wendy ScottWendy Scott, MA (second from left) with her mother (left), her fiance (rear) and her two sisters.

All GraduatesPhD recipients and faculty advisors.
(left to right)
First row: Margaret Arnold and Theresa Cooney
Second row: Dorie Mansen, Prof. Kathe Darr and Prof. Kecia Ali
Third row: Kevin Taylor and Achmad ToheForth row: Yair Lior, Prof. Michael Zank, Giacomo Leoni

GDRS PhD Candidate Leading Seasonal Tours of the King’s Chapel Crypt

October 27th, 2014 in News

14-8256-KINGCHAPELBU Today explored the King’s Chapel crypt, open for special tours during the Halloween season, with GDRS PhD Candidate Theresa Cooney.

“The building is ambient, the electricity flickers, there’s always rumbling from a train… This place has amazing energy,” Cooney says. “There’s over 300 years of history down here.”

Find out about the eery history of the crypt and how you can take the tour too here:

Alumni Earn Tenure and Tenure-Track Positions

September 17th, 2014 in Alumni News, News

Alumni Joe Laycock recently began a tenure-track position as an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies in the Philosophy Department at the University of Texas, San Marcos.  UT San Marcos currently only has an option for a religious studies minor and Joe is helping to build and generate interest in a new religious studies major. Joe is teaching courses on world religion, religion and film and charismatic religious figures.

Alumni Echol Nix was granted tenure at Furman University.  Prof. Nix was part of a US delegation the traveled to El Salvador this summer in order to participate in forums honoring the legacy of 6 Jesuit priests who were killed 25 years ago during the country’s bloody civil war.

We wish both of these dynamic alumni continued professional success!

GDRS Student new Assistant Editor of New Testament Abstracts Journal at Boston College

August 14th, 2014 in Alumni News, News

stroupGDRS student Christopher Stroup has been hired as the Assistant Editor of New Testament Abstracts (NTA), a journal published by Boston College School of Theology and Ministry.

Chris will contribute to the general editorial functions (selection, composition, editing, and publication of content) for the journal. He will be working with with the Editor of NTA to monitor all publications, books and journals, relevant to the modern discipline of New Testament studies,including related material from the Jewish and Hellenistic/ Greco-Roman period; the sub-disciplines of archeology, Rabbinic Judaism, the Dead Sea scrolls, and Gnosticism; and modern hermeneutical and literary, anthropological, social-scientific methods and theories.

Every year NTA abstracts at least 2,150 articles chosen from more than 500 periodicals in numerous languages (primarily English, German, and French) and offers book notices for approximately 850 recently published books.

After finishing his dissertation, Chris will have the opportunity to teach one course per semester at BC’s School of Theology and Ministry.

Recent Graduate Continues her Research, Writing as part of the LDS Church History Department

July 15th, 2014 in Alumni News, News

Kate HolbrookAfter successfully defending her dissertation entitled Radical Food: Nation of Islam and Latter-day Saint Culinary Ideals (1930-1980) this spring, recent graduate Kate Holbrook has kept quite busy.

Kate works as the Specialist in Women’s History for the LDS Church History Department. The department reflects the Mormon Church’s interest in history and includes two hundred employees and five hundred volunteer missionaries, library archives, a museum, twenty four historic sites/visitor centers, and about two hundred historic properties throughout the world. Kate works full time at the library as a historian and writer on projects that include a documentary history of the first fifty years of Relief Society (the women’s organization started in 1842), journal articles, and public presentations. She is also currently working on turning her dissertation into a book, and completing an edited volume based on a conference she organized in August 2012 called, “Women and the LDS Church: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives.”

Recent Graduate turns his Dissertation into Art

July 8th, 2014 in Alumni News, News

onajephotoOnaje X. Offley Woodbine concentrated in Religion and Psychology in the GDRS after earning a Master of Theological Studies at BU’s School of Theology. A native of the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston, he graduated from Newton South High School. Onaje spent a post-graduate year at the Lawrenceville School in New Jersey before matriculating to Yale. While at Yale he played on the University’s varsity Basketball team and made All-Ivy. Onaje successfully defended his dissertation in March of this year and is already enjoying significant professional success while launching some remarkable projects.

Currently, Onaje is collaborating with co-Directors Anna Meyer and Jay Paris to create a mixed-genre performance entitled In the Paint, which is based on the street basketball narratives he collected during his dissertation research. The show premieres July 21, 2014, in Harlem, NYC, which is the birthplace of street basketball in the United States.

Onaje provided us with the following description of the performance: “In the Paint is a mixed genre performance of the remarkable and true stories of young men who reconnected physically, emotionally, and spiritually to parts of themselves that violence and abandonment had taken. Their journeys are allegories enmeshed to experiences on inner city basketball courts that reveal universal truths encompassing all of us seeking identity and purpose. It is on the court that harsh truths about fear, resistance, loss and the underlying beauty of life surface in revelations of self-discovery that are practical and also profoundly metaphysical. These stories will touch audiences deeply without regard to age, race, or basketball knowledge. In the Paint will be staged in-the-round to engage audiences in the process of self-discovery utilizing storytelling, modern and hip hop dance, Spoken Word, rap, trumpet, and saxophone.”

Christine Hoff Kraemer Develops a Theology of Touch

November 26th, 2013 in Alumni News, News

Christine Kraemer2008 Alum Christine Hoff Kraemer has just had her new book published by Routledge press.  Titled Eros and Touch from a Pagan Perspective: Divided for Love’s Sake, it explores the sacredness of touch. Christine is a Pagan theologian who teaches for Cherry Hill Seminary and edits the Pagan channel of the religion website  Christine’s first book Seeking the Mystery: An Introduction to Pagan Theologies was published by Patheos earlier this year.

This has been quite a year for GDRS (DRTS) alumni publications.  Counting Christine, we have had two alumni receive contracts and three see their work published.

Visit our aStore to view all publications by recent GDRS (DRTS) alumni.

A double congratulations to Christine!  Keep up the great work GDRS (DRTS) alumni!

Alum A. David Lewis Makes a Career of Comic Books

November 21st, 2013 in Alumni News, News

a.davidlewis2012 GDRS (DRTS) graduate A. David Lewis wrote his dissertation on the afterlife and notions of self-hood in superhero comics.  Since his graduation he has continued to build a career around comic books, writing and lecturing on the topic as well as serving on committees for the academic study of both comics and religion.  David earned his undergraduate degree from Brandeis and will give a webinar talk for Brandeis’ career center on December 3.  He and another Brandeis alum will discuss their comics-related careers and give advice to those also interested in working in the field.  We are excited to continue to follow David as he pursues his passion.