Skip over navigation

2002-2003 Visiting Fellows

Wallace Best received the Ph.D. in History from Northwestern University and is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia.  His current project, "Passionately Human, No Less Divine: Racial Ideology and Religious Culture in the Black Churches of Chicago, 1915-1963," illustrates how the migration of black southerners to Chicago launched a new sacred order in the city.  This new sacred order was largely a female order, as black women constituted over seventy per cent of the membership in many churches, and as women like Elder Lucy Smith and Rev. Mary G. Evans acquired unprecedented levels of authority to start and govern their own congregations.  Professor Best’s research year at Princeton will be followed by another Fellowship at the W.E.B. DuBois Institute at Harvard University.    

Carolyn Chen received the Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley.  Her project, "Getting Saved in America," compares Taiwanese immigrants who have converted to evangelical Protestantism, those who have converted to active membership in a Buddhist temple, and those who do not seek any active religious affiliation.  Extensive ethnographic fieldwork in the evangelical and Buddhist congregations and in work and family settings, along with formal interviews, enables her to analyze how religions provide the institutional and symbolic resources for the constructions of new selves and new communities for immigrants in the U.S.  After preparing her manuscript for publication during her year at Princeton, she will join the sociology faculty at Northwestern University as an Assistant Professor.     

Tracey E. Hucks received the Ph.D. in the Study of Religion from Harvard University and is Assistant Professor of Religion at Haverford College.  Her research focuses on the development of African-derived traditions in North America and the Caribbean.  She will soon publish her first book, Approaching the African God: African American Yoruba History in the United States (University of Illinois Press).  The book documents the history of African American Yoruba practice in the United States from 1959 to the present, including encounters between Cuban immigrants and African Americans in the 1960s, the formation of Oyotunji African Village in 1970, and the present globalization movement of Yoruba practitioners.

Timothy P. Jackson received a joint Ph.D. in Philosophy and Religious Studies from Yale University and is currently Associate Professor at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University.  His publications include Love Disconsoled: Meditations on Christian Charity (Cambridge University Press, 1999) and The Priority of Love: Christian Charity and Social Justice (Princeton University Press, in press).  At Princeton, he will continue work on a project titled "Souls and Selves: ‘Sanctity’ vs. ‘Dignity’ in Biomedical Ethics," which explores the very different implications off these concepts for contemporary biomedical ethics.  Professor Jackson’s project focuses on debates around the taking of human life, specifically abortion and euthanasia/assisted suicide.       

Thomas A. Lewis received the Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Stanford University and is Assistant Professor of Religion at the University of Iowa.  His first major project, Freedom and Tradition in Hegel: Reconsidering Anthropology, Ethics, and Politics, is forthcoming.  While at Princeton, he will work on a second project, "Intersecting Communities: Narrative and Practice as the Ties that Bind."  By acknowledging the very different ways in which we are bound to different groups, this project articulates the sense many people in this society have of belonging to multiple communities at once.  It thereby responds to critiques of excessive individualism and social fragmentation while still doing justice to pluralism and concerns about individual freedom.     

Jonathan L. Sheehan received the Ph.D. in History from the University of California, Berkeley, and is Assistant Professor of History at Indiana University.  He is completing a book titled The Bible and the Human Sciences in Early Modern Europe, which focuses on Biblical scholarship as a key domain for articulating new ideals of human nature, society, and culture as humanity was - during the seventeenth century - displaced from its comfortably guaranteed place in the divine order.  Professor Sheehan will serve as the Postdoctoral Fellow for the CSR Thematic Project, "Religion and the Preshistory of the Posthuman," directed by Professor Joanna Magali Picciotto.        

Daniel Zelinski received the Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of California, Irvine, and is Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Richard Bland College of the College of William and Mary.  He is preparing for publication his manuscript, "The Meaning of Mystical Life: An Inquiry into Phenomenological and Moral Aspects of the Ways of Life Advocated by Dogen Zenji and Meister Eckhart."  The project argues that the mystical ways of life espoused by Dogen and Eckhart essentially involve moral activity and that this behavior causally owes to paradigmatically mystical features.  Professor Zelinski will serve as the Postdoctoral Fellow for the CSR Thematic Project, "The Moral Mystic," directed by Professor Christian Wildberg     
    AFFILIATE FELLOWS 2002-2003     
Aytul Gurtas is a graduate of Gazi University School of Journalism and Gazi University Social Studies Institute in Ankara, Turkey. She was a recipient of the Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University and has been working, most recently, with the MacArthur Foundation. While at the Center, she will continue work on her book about Kurdish nationalism.        

Cleo McNelly Kearns holds the Ph.D. in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University.  She is the author of  T.S.Eliot and Indic Traditions: A Study in Poetry and Belief (Cambridge University Press, 1988), as well as many articles.  With focal interests in modern literature, contemporary theology, and cultural theory, her work-in-progress is currently titled "Beyond Orthodoxy: The Virgin Mary in Cultural Memory."     

Prema Kurien received the Ph.D. in Sociology from Brown University in 1993 and is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Southern California. Her book, Kaleidoscopic Ethnicity: International Migration and the Reconstruction of Community Identities, was recently published by Rutgers University Press.  At the Center she is pursuing her research on the challenges facing immigrant Indian churches in the United States for a project titled "Establishing an 'Ethnic' Christianity: The Challenges Facting Immigrant Indian Churches in teh United States."  She has received a Religious Institutions Sabbatical Grant from The Louisville Institute.        

Gustav Niebuhr is a graduate of Oxford University, England, and Pomona College, Claremont, California.  Since 1994, he has been a national correspondent at The New York Times, responsible for reporting on trends in religion, as well as breaking news stories, throughout the United States.  He has also written a biweekly column on religion for The Times, and has covered religion stories in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America.  He has written about religion as news since 1986, previously working for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post.  He has taught courses on religion and the news media at Union Theological Seminary and Princeton Theological Seminary and has lectured widely at many academic institutions.  His current book project, funded by a grant from the Ford Foundation, is entitled "Sacred Grounds, Meeting Grounds: Contemporary Religious Diversity and Interfaith Dialogue at Historically Significant Sites Across the United States."    

Vanessa Ochs received her PhD in Religion and Society from Drew University. She is the author of numerous books including, Words on Fire: One Woman's Journey into the Sacred, and The Book of Jewish Sacred Practices. While at the Center she will be working on two projects: The first is "Sarah Laughed," a collection of original short stories inspired by women in Bible (and their reflection in classical midrash and contemporary femininst biblical scholarship) to be published by Contemporary Books. The second is a study and compendium of new Jewish rituals that have been created in the last two decades, to be published by the Jewish Publication Society. Professor Ochs is currently on leave from The University of Virginia where she is the Ida and Nathan Kolodiz Director of Jewish Studies and Associate Professor in the Department of Religious Studies.     

Tim Watson is Assistant Professor in Princeton's Department of English.  He holds the Ph.D. in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University.  His research and teaching interests include post-colonial studies; 19th- and 20th-century British and Caribbean literature and culture; cultural studies; and literary theory. In progress is a book titled, "The Sun Also Sets: Transatlantic Cultures and the End of the British Empire."  The project explores British imperialism in the West Indies through the lens of religious conflict and negotiation, while at the same time trying to analyze the history of religious discourse in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Britain as fundamentally determined by the imperial context.  The starting point, and exemplary case study, for this project is the cultural, political, and religious encounters among evangelical missionaries, creole planters, and African slaves in the Caribbean between about 1760 and the formal emancipation of the enslaved populations in 1833.     


Eugene F. Rogers, Jr. holds the Ph.D. in Religious Studies  from Yale University. He is Associate Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia. A specialist in modern Christian thought, he is the author of Thomas Aquinas and Karl Barth: Sacred Doctrine and the Natural Knowledge of God (2001) and Sexuality and the Christian Body: Their Way Into the Triune God (1999), as well as editor of Theology and Sexuality: Classic and Contemporary Readings (2002).  He is currently finishing a project titled, "After the Spirit: The Eclipse of the Holy Spirit by Nature, Grace, and Law."   During his time at Princeton, Professor Rogers will teach a 300-level seminar in Princeton's Department of Religion entitled, "Aquinas: Theology and Ethics."