Undergraduate Research Fellows
The Center annually assists undergraduates by funding important parts of their junior or senior independent research. In addition to receiving research funding these students are invited to present their research at a luncheon with Center staff and fellows. Undergraduate fellows also become regular participants in the various seminars and lecture series hosted at the Center.
Applications for new Undergraduate Research Fellows are taken at various times annually. An application form is found here.
Saud Al-Thani ’13, Near Eastern Studies, “Joseph: A comparison of Muslim and Jewish Narratives”
Laura Anderson ’13, Religion, “Religion and End of Life Issues in Pediatric Cancer”
Christina Campodonico ’13, English, “Architecture, Illustration, and Narrative in the Works of Thomas Hardy”
Ahsen Nimet Cebeci ’14, Philosophy, ”Care of the Soul: a Comparative Study of the Soul in the Islamic and Platonist Traditions”
Stephanie Colello ’13, Slavic Languages and Literatures, “Childbirth in Contemporary Russia”
Brandon Davis ’13, Anthropology, “The Role of Israel in Gay Jewish Identity”
Margaret Fox ’13, History, “Israel and the Modern Messianic Jewish Movement”
Nava Friedman ’13, Religion, “Choosing to Be Chosen: Religious Identity Among the New Jews of East Africa”
Aseneth Garza ’13, Anthropology, “The Emergence of Violence in Religious Leader's Discourse in Post-Conflict Guatemala”
Aaron Glasserman ’13, Near Eastern Studies, “State Control of Islamic Education in China”
Monica Greco ’13, Classics, “The Interaction between Romans and Ancient Bedouins along the Limes Arabicus”
Sarah Hedgecock ’13, Anthropology, “Gender Performance in Evangelical Purity Culture”
Kristen Kim ’13, Psychology, “The Intersection of Suicide and the Christian Faith in South Korea”
Enoch Kuo ’13, Religion, “Reformed Epistemology and Pluralism”
Mohit Manohar ’13, Art and Archaeology, “Architecture of Ayodhya”
Nadirah Mansour ’ 14, Near Eastern Studies, “A Comparison of Ruling Party Politics and Religion in Zanzibar and the Tanzanian Mainland”
Madeline McMahon ’13, History, “Historical Scholarship and Protestant Confessional Identity in Sixteenth-Century England”
Sajda Ouachtouki ’13, Woodrow Wilson School, “The Strategies Employed Women in Morocco and Tunisia Post Arab Spring”
Sarah Paton ’13, Religion, “The Growth and Structuring of Humanist Communities”
Kathryn Phillips ’13, Psychology, “The Relationship between Religious Belief in a Higher Power's Plan and how People Construe Situations as Controllable or Uncontrollable”
Tessa Romano ’13, French and Italian, “The Effects of Non-Jews on Jewish Italian synagogue Music and Services in 16th Century Italy”
Elizabeth Scullin ’13, Anthropology “Church and Sex: The Irish Traveller Movement, Religion, and Dating”
Robert Stuart ’ 14, Religion, “Holy Words: Parallels in Perception of the Constitution and the Bible”
Alice Su ’13, Woodrow Wilson School, “Mass Media and Public Diplomacy in U.S.-Sino-Egyptian Relations
Stephanie Tam ’13, English, “Postcolonial Literature and British Fantasy Literature”
Elizabeth Cooper '12, Anthropology, "Mind and Body in Spiritual Communities"
Marjorie Crowell '12, Sociology, "Use of Contraception among College-Age Youth in Ireland"
Fellows from Previous Years
Hollis Barber '11, History, "Segregation and Discrimination of North African Immigrants in France"
Adam Bradlow '11, Anthropology, "Imagining China"
E.J. Chi '11, Art and Archaeology, "Examining the art, life, rituals of the Yuraba People"
Kok-Hou Chia '11, Religion, "Dorothy Day's Philosophy of Poverty and Its Implications on the Catholic Worker Movemen in the 1960s"
Hannah Cohen '11, Religion, "Prosperity Theology in Lakewood Church"
Lauren Cubellis '11, Anthropology, "Curanderismo: Mexican Ritual Healing in the American Southwest"
Anne Frances Durfee '11, History, "Women, Religion and the Vote in the Election of 1948"
Mary Gamber '11, Religion, "The Conference Board Summer Fellowship: Exploring the Relationship Between Business and Ethics"
Phoenix Gonzales '11, Religion, "Mystery and Passion Play Research"
Gabriela Gonzales-Araiza '12, Politics, "Religious Liberty from a Legal Perspective"
Kahina Haynes '11, Religion, "Competing Ethno-Religious Politics in Guyana and its Social Ramifications in the Twenty First Century"
Colleen Kent '11, History, "Sisters of Mercy and New York's Irish Immigrant Population"
Aarian Marshall '12, Religion, "Mountain Mourning": At the Intersection of Religion, Regional Identity and Environmental Activism in Appalachia
Anneliese Mondschein '11, Art and Archaeology, "The Whole is Greater than the Sum of its Parts: A Memling Portrait and its Missing Pendant Panel"
Katie Mumma '11, Art and Archaeology, "Tinmal Mosque: Architectural Expression of Almohad Doctrine"
Benjamin Oseroff '11, Near Eastern Studies, "Islamic Bioethics and Genetic Testing"
Liz Parsons '11, History, "Tracing the Princeton Unit with the Young Men’s Christian Association, 1917-1918"
Amelia Ridgeway '12, Religion, "Muslim-Christian Relations in Tanzania"
Patricia Sever '11, Spanish and Poruguese, "Perception and Memory in Borges and Bioy Casares"
Kit Thayer '11, History, "Benjamin Disraeli's Jewishness"
Amelia Thompson-DeVeaux '11, Religion, "The Faith of Abstinence?: Abstinence, Chastity and Female Sexuality on American College Campuses"
John Torrey '11, Religion, "Ethnographic exploration of how churches and mosques engage with HIV/AIDS education and care in Tanzania"
Eva Marie Wash '11, Art and Archaeology, "Creativity and Christian Faith in Community"
Ellen Adams '10, Comparative Literature/Creative Writing, "Spaniard: Outsiders in Contemporary Spain."
Carey Batschi '10, Anthropology, "Female Healing Rituals in Contemporary Mormonism."
Adam Bradlow '11, Anthropology, "Imagining China."
Jeffrey Campbell '10, Art and Archaeology, "Exploring Syncretism in Colonial Latin American Marian Imagery."
Eunjeong Chi '11, Art and Archaeology, "Examining the art, life, rituals of the Yuraba People."
Hannah Cohen '11, Religion, "Prosperity Theology in Lakewood Church."
Lauren Cubellis '11, Anthropology, "Curanderismo: Mexican Ritual Healing in the American Southwest."
Rachel Dunn '10, English, "Hester Pulter: Royalist Mystic."
Mary Gamber '11, Religion, "The Conference Board Summer Fellowship: Exploring the Relationship Between Business and Ethics."
Phoenix Gonzales '11, Religion, "Mystery and Passion Play Research."
Gabriela Gonzales-Araiza '12, 'Religious Liberty from a Legal Perspective."
August Hamilton '10, Religion, "The Black Baptist Church and Community Development in the Greater New York Region."
Peale Iglehart '10, Religion, "Give Us This Day Our Daily Blog: Exploring How and Why Christians Find Community Online."
Faaria Kherani '10, Religion, "Islamic Education in Yunnan: Rediscovering the earliest forms of Islam under China's watchful eye."
Alexandra Krupp '10, Religion, "Judaism as an American Brand: The Marketing of Kabbalah and Rabbi Shmuley"
Mackenzie Luzzi '10, Religion, "Women’s Family Planning in Modern Day Guatemala: The Evangelical Movement in a Conservative Country."
Jane McClintock '10, Religion, "The Politics of Puerto Rico's Presbyterian Mission."
Saba McCoy '10, Religion, "The Aesthetic of the Infinite: St. Augustine and John Dewey and the Performance Art as Experience."
Matin Modarressi '10, Politics, "Politics of Archaeology in Islam."
Farah Naim '10, Near Eastern Studies, "Religion and Diplomacy in Colonial Times: Aga Khan and the British Empire."
Elizabeth Presser '10, Classics, "A Production of Euripides' Medea."
Jeffrey Richmond-Moll '10, Art and Archaeology, "Marginality in Henry Ossawa Tanner's Biblical Paintings."
Dorian Rolston '10, Philosophy, "Shedding the Snake: Foreign Zen Practitioners in Japan."
Maria Shpolberg '10, Slavic, "Citizenship and Belonging in Ukraine: Shifting Notions."
Elizabeth Smith '10, Religion, "Ethnography of a new Reform Synagogue."
Michelle Thompson '10, Near Eastern Studies, "Islam and the Black Body: An Investigation of the Role and Instrumentalization of Islam in Two African American Communities."
Amelia Thompson-DeVeaux '11, Religion, "The Faith of Abstinence?: Abstinence, Chastity and Female Sexuality on American College Campuses."
Noelle Vinson '10, Religion, "Religiosity, Spirituality, and Moral Values of the African American Upper and Upper Middle Class."
Spencer Walle '10, Near Eastern Studies, "The Two Oceans: Syncretic Mysticism of Mughal India."
Allison Wood '10, Near Eastern Studies, "Liberal Islamic Thought in Egypt and Indonesia."
Lily Cowles '09, Religion, “Spiritual Reconciliation in Angola.”
This summer I am traveling to Angola to research and film the role of independent Christian churches in the rehabilitation of spiritual, psychological, and social stress caused by colonialism, civil war, and massive displacement. The film will be in conjunction with my senior independent work that investigates the incredible surge of independent churches in post-colonial African countries.
Jasmine Ellis '10, "Amazonian Healing Beliefs,"
I will be going to Ecuadorian Amazon this summer for my Senior Thesis Research. I will be following Western doctors indigenous healers as they treat indigenous Amazonian patients, and seeing how Western medicine affects the beliefs of the indigenous healers and of the indigenous patients.
Kelley Frances Fenelon '09, Woodrow Wilson School, "Unexpected Evangelicalism: PEPFAR's Illustrative Example of Diversity in Religiously Motivated Policy Making and Coalition Building."
Evangelical Christians took part in a coalition that promoted the passage of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) when the issue was imbued with religious salience. The unlikely coalition’s success in advocating for an unprecedented amount of international AIDS relief provides an example of the diversity of policies evangelicals can be mobilized to support.
Emily Garcia '10, Comparative Literature, "Poetry at the Mont Sainte-Odile."
I propose to visit le Mont Sainte-Odile during one of our vacations and to spend two nights there. I will participate in the life of the religious community and use my time to start drafting a pair of sonnets inspired by the life of the saint and of the convent. These will be a beginning to the work for my senior creative thesis.
Matthew Gleason '10, Religion, "Modern Revisions of Sacred Space."
Research of Mircea Eliade's theories of sacred space. Investigation of these theories as they pertain to the first Christian sacred spaces in Rome, and how these monuments compare to the Parque Tierra Santa in Buenos Aires.
Charlotte Glennie '09, Classics, “Ecology and the Societal Roles of Delos.”
I would like to explore the relationship between the ecology of Delos Island and the roles it played for Classical civilization, namely as a shrine to Apollo (and later as a commercial center). For example, my research will attempt to uncover how the ecology of Delos contributed to its becoming a religious sanctuary and how this role in turn affected the ecology of the island (through the Purifications, for instance, when all the buried were exhumed and transferred to neighboring Rineia).
Tao Goffe '09, English, “British Islamic Hip-Hop: Exploring the Cultural and Religious Expression of Brtiain's Muslim Youth.”
I am studying and researching a subculture of music called British Islamic Hip-hop. I plan to continue this research for my senior thesis. I am exploring the cultural and religious expression of Britain's Muslim youth through a poetic form of music, hip-hop. I hope to be able to study this cultural and religious phenomenon first-hand by traveling to the United Kingdom.
Robert Griest '09, Religion, “Effects of Tourism on Religious Culture in the Himalayas.”
How has a massive influx of foreign tourism to the Himalayan region affected the religious culture of people who remained almost entirely isolated until the mid 20th century? I plan to visit the Hemis Festival at the Hemis Monastery in Ladakh, India, an ancient Tibetan Buddhist ritual that attracts many foreign tourists. I will study both the current and historical climate of tourism at the festival in order to gauge the cultural and religious impact that outside interaction has had on the region.
Kaitlyn Hay '10, Art, "The Historical Reception of Programmatic Byzantine Church Decoration in Northern Italy, A Theological and Political Lens."
I am researching the interior mosaic cycles of Venetian cathedrals, principally San Marco and Torcello, as well as the mosaic programs of byzantine structures in Ravenna, Italy. I will examine the religious, historical and formal aspects of mosaic works executed in Italy that have roots in the Byzantine tradition. Comparing church decoration across these east and west geographies is centered on the translation and transmission of certain theological elements of the Orthodox church, specifically the production and veneration of icons.
Jaryn Horner '09, History, "Christian Appropriation of Muslim Cultural Sites in Medieval Spain."
I want to study Christian conversion of mosques into churches in late medieval Spain. I want to look at how the Christians changed a specific spaces and the symbolic and contextual reasons for those physical changes.
Laura Johnson '09, English, “Religion and the Woman's Voice: Studying Jane Austen and Charlotte Brontë in England.”
I plan to use the funding from the Center for the Study of Religion to travel to England for academic research surrounding religion and the woman’s voice in Villette, by Charlotte Brontë, and Persuasion, by Jane Austen. I will center my research at Oxford, where I will begin my thesis work for senior year through seminar work and individual study. I also plan to travel to Jane Austen’s homes in Chawton, Steventon and Bath, and to visit Charlotte Brontë house, Haworth Parsonage.
Sebastian Jones '09, Anthropology, "Living in the End Times."
In 2002 approximately 49 million Americans believed the events described in the biblical Book of Revelation would occur within their lifetime. In the wealthiest, most technologically advanced nation, it seems fair to ask what conditions fuel this apocalyptic worldview, how it impacts the lives of its adherents and how it shapes the broader political and cultural currents in American society.
Jordan Kisner '09, Religion, “‘More Life’: Heaven on Earth in Tony Kushner's Angels in America.”
For my senior thesis I will be performing in a Theater and Dance production of Tony Kushner's Angels in America, a six-hour epic concerning the apocalyptic atmosphere of late twentieth-century America. In addition, I will be completing a written thesis on the play's advocacy for locative sacred space, or, a heaven-on-earth world view. The play, in which both Heaven and Hell are metaphorical cities, takes place entirely in New York City, which will serve as the focal point for my discussion of the notion of heaven-on-earth as it is realized in the play.
Sumin Lee '09, "Let us Pray for our Northern Brothers and Sisters: Rhetoric of the North Korean Humanitarian Movement in South Korean Churches."
I would like to examine the rhetoric used in South Korean megachurches and the Catholic Church in connection with North Korean humanitarian aid and efforts. How it has been incorporated into their doctrinal views of the Gospel and Christian faith?
Cameron McLain '10, Religion, "The Spirituality of the Beats."
I would like to analyze the history and the literature of the Beat Generation from a religious perspective. I intend to argue that there was a definitively spiritual aspect to the movement. My primary arguments will focus on a close reading of Kerouac's "On the Road" and "Dharma Bums through the lens Emerson's essay "Self Reliance" and specific Buddhist Texts.
Alexander Metelitsa '09, Politics, “The Role of Islam in Post-Niyazov Turkmenistan.”
Throughout the first two decades of post-Soviet independence, there was a tension in Turkmenistan between the country's strong Muslim society (epitomized by Nasrullah ibn Ibadullah, the country’s chief mufti, or highest religious authority) and President Niyazov's idiosyncratic authoritarianism that above all prized 'positive neutrality' and the dictator's own cult of personality. How is Turkmenistan's domestic and foreign policy view of Islam beginning to change after Niyazov's death in late 2006? What do Turkmen see as the role of Islam in Central Asia (purely secular culture, a united caliphate, or somewhere in between?) And what role does Islam play in this transitional phase of the country's development?
Rebecca Nyquist '09, Religion, "The Effects of Intermarriage on Jewish Ritual Practice and Childhood Experience."
Broadly, I am examining the rising trend towards intermarriage in the Jewish American community and its effects on ritual practice both in and out of the home. More specifically, I will examine the impact this form of ritual practice affects children growing up in interfaith homes. Additionally, I will investigate in what ways intermarriage adds or lessens a child’s affinity for Judaism and their Jewish identity. The bulk of my research will come from firsthand interviews with 10 Princeton undergraduate students, in which I will require funding for an electronic voice recorder and transcription services.
Karen Okigbo '09, Politics, "Negeria-Biafra War."
What impact did the Nigeria-Biafra war have on the relationship between the Muslim Hausa and the predominately Christian Igbo? Can the omnipresent religious clashes be a continuation of this?
Colin Pfeiffer '09, Anthropology, “Hope Amidst Desolation: Dispatches from the Aral Sea.”
Thanks to the generosity of the Center for the Study of Religion, I was able to visit Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan this summer – originally researching another topic. However, upon arrival in Aralsk (the former port in Kazakhstan) – I had an epiphany, a moment of revelation. The urgency of the situation called for a different project. I want to tell its story. Or rather, I want to tell the story of the people who have watched their lives, jobs, families and friends dry up and blow away with the receding shoreline. I want them to have a voice where their plight is close to unimaginable. I want to tell the story of the new generation, of the youth – who are growing up as children of the desert instead of children of the rivers and lake. And, to put more of a point on it, I want to see how religion plays a role in their ability to cope. How do they go from day to day – and does religion have anything to do with it? After decades of Soviet rule and religious oppression – how large is religion in their lives now?
David Ponton III, '09, Religion, "The Manger, the Margin, and Pentecost."
The question which underlie many of these queries of the proposed thesis is: where is initial evidence pentecostalized Christianity headed? Because Pentecostalism, by its experiential nature, cannot be delimited to a denominational organizations, the question begs a look not only at the mainstream Pentecostal groups — those that are predominantly white and middle class — but also those Spirit-baptized churches somewhere closer to the margin of American Christianity: minority, Oneness, and non-denominational Charismatics. Three Pentecostal churches in Mercer County (two African American and one Hispanic) have been singled out for profiling in the thesis and upon approval by the IRB the pastors will be interviewed.
Kate Poole '09, Religion, “The Effects of Marxist Education on Young Peoples' Perceptions of Religion.”
In contemporary China, starting in grade school and continuing through college, children are required to take a politics class, which covers Marxist and Socialist thought. Besides covering political aspects of Socialism, the course also advocates Atheism, and I want to explore the content and structure of these political thought courses in regards to their presentations of religion. Additionally, I want to interview college students about their feelings on the religious content of the courses, and their own perceptions of the role of religion in contemporary China.
Wasim Shiliwala '09, Near Eastern Studies, "Educating Islam in America: a Study of Four National Muslim American Educational Institutions."
My senior thesis will examine four major Muslim educational programs in America - Zaytuna Institute, American Learning Institute for Muslims, Al-Maghrib Institute, and SunniPath Academy - with a view to analyzing their curriculums/course offerings, literature, and audio material in the hopes of determining how they present Islam to their students, what they feel their students need to be taught and discussed, and how they influence, or at least try to influence, the greater discussion on how Islam should be practiced in America.
Abigail Smith '09, Religion, "Pentecostal Healing in Latin America: How a philosophy of spiritual healing is affecting physical health care in developing areas."
This thesis is a look at how the Pentecostal philosophy of spiritual healing is contributing to a focus on physical health care and human development in poorer regions of the world. I am looking specifically at Latin American Pentecostalism though organizations in both Chile and Venezuela.
Isaiah Soval-Levine '09, Near Eastern Studies, “Religion and State in Turkey.”
I propose to study the interaction between religion and state in Turkey, with the goal of seeing how the former has been impacted by the state's intervention. I will do this by interviewing university students and faculty, government appointed religious officials, and normal mosque-goers.
Emmelyn Stevens '09, Art & Archaeology, "Religious Influence Recorded: Francisco de Zurbaran's Monastic Works at Guadalupe and Jerez de la Frontera."
In 1638 and 1639 Francisco de Zurbarán worked on large commissions for two Spanish monasteries - the Carthusian monastery at Jerez de la Frontera and the Hieronymite monastery at Guadalupe. I wish to study the religious attitudes of both the two monasteries and Seville (where Zurbarán lived and worked) in order to determine their influence on these major projects.
Brandon White '09, English/Creative Writing, “Mormon Missionary Activity in Brazil.”
For my project I hope to travel to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where I will study Mormon missionary activities, the subject of my proposed creative thesis novel. Brazil itself was chosen for this project due, foremost, to its large missionary presence (possessing more active Mormon missionaries than anywhere in the world outside of the United States and Mexico). At the same time, however, Brazil remains a culture wedded to its earlier religious heritage, and nearly 60% of the populace remains Catholic despite conversion efforts; untold numbers more, specifically in the country's northernmost provinces, practice candomblé, a unique fusion of Catholic rites and African ceremonies. Such a diverse religious heritage is pivotal to the work that I eventually hope to produce.
The 2007-2008 Undergraduate Research Fellows were:
Senior Thesis Awards:
Robert Bernstein '08, Religion, “Shades of Gray: Religion, Aging, and Adaptation in Retirement Communities of the American Sunbelt.”
Rachel Crane '08, Religion, “Documenting Evangelical Education: An In-depth look at Patrick Henry College.”
Sonya Hsieh '08, Woodrow Wilson School, “Taiwanese Church and State: Presbyterian Advocacy in the Independence Movement.”
Alexandra Katen-Narvell '08, Religion, “Tinseltown Transcendence: How Hollywood Shapes America in Its Image.”
Seth Ligo '08, Religion, “The Concurrent Transmission of Religious and Musical Culture in Hindu, Islamic and Christian Traditions”
Celene Lizzio '08, Near Eastern Studies, “Pragmatics and the Qur’ān: A Juxtaposition of Modern Revisionary Hermeneutics.”
Lubna Malik '08, Woodrow Wilson School, “Separation: The Vital Need.”
Elizabeth Malta '08, English, “The Way to Wonder: A Study of Travel and Marvel in Irish Sea-Voyage Narratives.”
Janna McLeod '08, Religion, “The Church of St. Francis Xavier: Religious Radicalism and its Limitations in the Roman Catholic Church.”
Joseph Muller '08, History, “God's Willing Instruments.”
Daniel Samit '08, East Asian Studies, “KUJIRA” (Documentary film on small whaling communities in coastal Japan) and “The Filming of Whales: Towards a Solution to the International Whaling Controversy.”
Sarah Zaslow '08, Religion, “The Priest and the Patriot: The Equality Arguments of the Conservative Christian Public Interest Law Movement.”
Junior Paper Awards:
Tao Goffe '09, English, “British Islamic Hip-Hop: Exploring the Cultural and Religious Expression of Brtiain's Muslim Youth.”
Abigail Smith '09, Religion, “Pentecostals after Pinochet: A Look at the NGO, SEPADE, and its Reaction to the Demise of Chile's Ex-Dictator.”
The 2006-2007 Undergraduate Research Fellows were:
Cassandra DeBenedetto ‘07, “Questions of division in the Chinese Catholic Church.”
Jonathan Elist ‘07, “Iran’s Regional Influence: Iranian Shiism in the New Near East.”
Maital Friedman ‘07, “Female Missionaries in Kenya.”
Nene Kalu ‘07, “The Feminine in Pakistani Sufism.”
Grace Kim ‘07, “Materialism and Christianity in Korea: is there a distinction?”
Ian McNally ‘07, “Sectarianism, ritualized violence and ice hockey in Northern Ireland.”
Ahmed Meleis ‘08, “Social Axioms in the Middle East.”
Dave Minnick ‘07, “Communication with the Secular World by the Monastic Order of Cluny.”
Blair Moorhead ‘07, “How Women in Conservative and Fundamentalist Religions Find A Sense of Personal Efficacy and Control.”
Christine Murphy ‘07, “Late Medieval Images of the Side Wound of Christ: Representation and Meaning.”
Silvio Pellas ’07, “Democratization Policies promoted by the Catholic Church within Authoritative Governments.”
Helen Rogers ‘07, “Quakers in Revolutionary Pennsylvania.”
Irene Routte ‘08, “The Effects of Christian Base Communities during Periods of Violence: El Salvador 1980-1992.”
Christian C. Sahner ’07, "Heaven on Earth in Late Antiquity: Rome, Constantinople, and the New Jerusalem.”
Sanhita Sen ‘07, “Hindu Fundamentalism in Gujarat and Maharashtra.”