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2003-2004 Visiting Fellows

R. Bryan Bademan received his Ph.D. in history from the University of Notre Dame. His research is focused on questions of Protestant identity in the 19th-century United States. His dissertation, “Contesting the Evangelical Age: Protestant Challenges to Religious Subjectivity in Antebellum America,” explores how several churchly or confessional Protestant traditions maintained their religious integrity in response to rising evangelical forms of Christianity. During his year at the Center, he worked on a manuscript titled Saints Go Marching: Religion and Nation in the Industrializing United States. He has contributed to the Encyclopedia of Religious Freedom and the Encyclopedia of Fundamentalism, and his review essay, “Jonathan Edwards and America” is forthcoming in Reviews in American History.

Francisco Benzoni received his Ph.D. in religious ethics from the University of Chicago. A primary focus in his research is demonstrating the importance of metaphysics and theology for an ecological ethic capable of effectively addressing current ecological problems. His dissertation, "Ecological Ethics and the Human Soul: Aquinas' Substantial Bifurcation, Whitehead's Aesthetic Unification," centers especially on articulating and defending the central theological and anthropological underpinnings of an adequate environmental ethic. During his year at the Center, he will expand his work especially around the need for a non-anthropocentric value theory in ecological ethics, and the practical usefulness of such a theory in generating defensible norms in the face of some of the most intractable environmental problems.

Nancy Hudson received her Ph.D. in religious studies from Yale University and in 2002-2003 was a graduate faculty member and Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Toledo. Her research is focused on Nicholas of Cusa, a medieval philosopher and theologian. Among other publications, she has contributed two articles to the recently released Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature. Her project at Princeton is focused specifically around Nicholas of Cusa’s neoplatonic view of creation and deification as a model for a contemporary and holistic view of the natural world and more broadly around the possibilities within Christian mysticism for ecological thought.

Paul Christopher Johnson
received his Ph.D. in history of religions from the University of Chicago and is currently Associate Professor at the University of Missouri (on leave), and Visiting Associate Professor at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. His first major project, Secrets, Gossip and Gods: The Transformation of Brazilian Candomble, was published by Oxford University Press in 2002, and in 2003 received the American Academy of Religion Award for Excellence in the Study of Religion for Analytical/Descriptive Studies. His current project, The Work of Diaspora: Religion and Migration between the Caribbean and the U.S., relates empirical data on a single transnational society, the Garifuna of the Caribbean coast of Honduras and of New York City, to broader comparative issues of religion and migration. The project develops a model of how religious change through migration occurs by analyzing how African diaspora religions are theologically "expanded" but socially "contracted" through cyclical migrations between Honduras and NYC. Johnson was the recipient of two National Endowment for the Humanities grants, in 2001 and 2003 (the latter deferred to 2004), which have supported the development of the project.

Amy Koehlinger received her Ph.D. in religious studies from Yale University and is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Religion at Florida State University. Her research focuses on intersections of religion and social reform in the United States, American Catholic experience, and the construction of gender within religious traditions in the American context. During her year at the Center she will be completing a book for Harvard University Press entitled “From Selma to Sisterhood: Race and Transformation in Catholic Sisterhood in the 1960s,” which examines the relationship between the racial justice activism of Catholic women religious during the Civil Rights era and the reforms American sisters implemented within their own religious congregations after the Second Vatican Council.

Paul A. Macdonald Jr.
received his Ph.D. in religious studies from the University of Virginia. In his dissertation, “Having the World and God in View: John McDowell’s Direct Realism and the Philosophical Theology of Thomas Aquinas,” he uses philosophical insights proffered by contemporary philosopher of mind and moral psychologist John McDowell in order to explicate paradigm models of cognition and knowledge in the philosophy and theology of Thomas Aquinas. A main goal of his research and writing at Princeton will be to expand central themes in the dissertation in order to develop and articulate a robust “theological realism.”

Monica Najar received her Ph.D. in history from the University of Wisconsin and is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of History at Lehigh University. Her research focuses on religion in the American South in the 18th and 19th centuries. Her book manuscript, “Evangelizing the South: The Sacred and the Secular in the Early Evangelical South, 1765-1815,” studies the rapid transformation of the American South into an evangelical society and the resulting social, cultural, and political consequences.

Nicole von Germeten received her Ph.D. in history from the University of California, Berkeley, and is an Assistant Professor at Oregon State University. While at Princeton, she completed her book manuscript, " Black Blood Brothers: Afromexican Confraternities and Upward Mobility in New Spain," which chronicles changes in the religious and social roles of Afromexicans in the 17th and 18th century New Spain. She has also begun research on a second book entitled "Race, Religion and Society in Colonial Cartagena de Indias [Colombia]" as well as beginning research on two articles, one the Afromexican Baroque painter Juan Correa and the second on the hagiography of Saint Peter Claver among African American Catholics.

Visiting Professor in Christian Thought

Sarah Coakley holds the Ph.D. in theology from the University of Cambridge and is the Mallinckrodt Professor at Harvard Divinity School. Her published work moves between studies of modern theory (Christ Without Absolutes), comparative religion (Religion and the Body), patristic theory (articles on Gregory of Nyssa, especially), and feminist theology (God, Sexuality and the Self: On the Trinity, forthcoming). Her most recent book is Powers and Submissions: Spirituality, Philosophy and Gender. During her time at Princeton, Professor Coakley will teach a 300-level seminar in Princeton’s Department of Religion on theology and ethics.

Affiliate Fellows 2003-2004

Bettye Collier-Thomas
holds the Ph.D. in History from George Washington University. She is the author and editor of numerous books including Daughters of Thunder: Black Women Preachers and Their Sermons, 1850-1979 (1997); My Soul Is a Witness: A Chronology of the Civil Rights Era, 1954-1965 (2000); the award winning Sisters in the Struggle: African American Women in the Civil Rights-Black Power Movement (2001) and African American Women and the Vote, 1837-1965 (1997). Her current book project funded by grants from the Lilly Endowment, Inc. and the Ford Foundation, is entitled "'She Hath Done What She Could': A History of African American Women and Religion." Collier-Thomas is currently on leave from Temple University, where she is a Professor in the Department of History, and an affiliate faculty in Women's Studies.

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.

Gustav Niebuhr is a graduate of Oxford University and Pomona College, and is currently Associate Professor in Religion & the Media at Syracuse University. Over a twenty-year career in journalism, most recently at the New York Times and, prior to that, at the Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and the Atlanta Journal/Constitution, Niebuhr established a reputation as a leading writer about American religion. His work has been published in books, magazines and on the internet; he also does occasional commentaries on religion for the National Public Radio program "All Things Considered." While at Princeton, he had Ford Foundation funding for work on a book entitled Sacred Grounds, Meeting Grounds: Contemporary Religious Diversity and Interfaith Dialogue at Historically Significant Sites Across the United States.

John Whalen-Bridge (Ph.D. University of Southern California) is Associate Professor of English at the National University of Singapore. His teaching and research center on American literature from 19th-century through present. His publications include Political Fiction and the American Self (University of Illinois Press, 1998) and articles on Charles Johnson, Vladimir Nabokov, Gary Snyder, Norman Mailer, Toni Morrison, and Christopher Isherwood. He is currently working on American literary Orientalism with a specific focus on Buddhism in the postwar period.