2016-2017 Fellows

Dissertation Fellows:

Stephanie L. Jackson is a Ph.D. candidate in Ethnomusicology at the Graduate Center. She received her B.A. in Cultural Anthropology and Music at the College of William and Mary, and an M.M. in Ethnomusicology at Bowling Green State University. Prior to receiving her masters, she spent two years in Chennai, India volunteering for a disaster relief non-profit organization. Stephanie specializes in the study of music, sound, race, and religion of the Anglophone and Francophone Caribbean. Her doctoral dissertation examines the significant role of music and trance in mobilizing contemporary Indo-Caribbean religious communities within a transnational network including Guyana, Trinidad, and New York City. She has conducted multiple phases of ethnographic research in these respective places in addition to online ethnography. In her work she further theorizes notions of alterity and diaspora as they intersect with musicality and religiosity by engaging with subaltern studies and posthumanist critiques of secularism and agency. She has recently contributed to an edited volume about Indo-Caribbean feminist theory.

Rebecca A. Karam is a doctoral candidate in sociology at the CUNY Graduate Center and research fellow at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding. She received her BA in sociology from University of Michigan-Dearborn. Her research is situated at the intersection of the sociology of religion, international migration, and race and ethnic studies. Rebecca is currently working on her dissertation entitled “Making Muslim Americans: Parenting Practices, Parochial Schools, and the Transmission of Faith Across Generations in Metropolitan Detroit.” Using qualitative methods, she is conducting a study investigating the intergenerational transmission of religion and parenting strategies among second-generation Muslim American adults in Metropolitan Detroit in order to reveal often misunderstood connections between religiosity and acculturation in contemporary Muslim American communities. www.rebeccakaram.com

Katrina Wheeler is a PhD Candidate in History at the Graduate Center. Her dissertation focuses on French Protestants (Huguenots) and their religious experiences during the late eighteenth century. Her research considers the ways that Enlightenment thought influenced Huguenot clergy prior to the French Revolution and whether that influence affected French Calvinist doctrine and preaching. It also focuses on lay use of the Psalms in liturgical and devotional practices in the home during the dechristianization period of the Revolution. She is interested in exploring the ways Huguenots used music to connect to their past, memorialize their sufferings, and validate their current experiences. Katrina holds a MA in the History of Christianity from Wheaton College, IL, and a BA in Theology and French from Whitworth University. She is also a member of the sixth cohort of the Lilly Graduate Fellows Program.

Meira Levinson is a PhD candidate in English at the CUNY Graduate Center, specializing in children’s literature and Jewish poetics. Meira is currently a Presidential Research Fellow at the Graduate Center, and is a recipient of the English Program’s Lynn Kadison Dissertation Year Fellowship. Her research focuses on Jewish poetics, children’s literature and religion, with an emphasis on Jewish children’s literature. Meira has presented her research at forums such as the American Academy of Religion and Children’s Literature Association; she recently initiated and presided over a panel on race, ethnicity and culture in Jewish children’s literature at the Modern Language Association conference. Through funding from Lost & Found: The CUNY Poetics Documents Initiative, Meira conducted archival research on kabbalistic, Beat-era Jewish-American poetry. Meira has taught composition and literature courses as a Graduate Teaching Fellow at John Jay College, and BA and MA courses on children’s literature at Queens College. Meira is currently writing her dissertation, titled Feminist Theology and the Fantastic in Jewish Poetics and Children’s Literature (1960s—current).

Faculty Fellows:

Justin Steinberg is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Brooklyn College. His research focuses on modern philosophy, particular the philosophy of Benedict de Spinoza. He is interested in how modern philosophers conceived of the relationship between cognitive and ethical development and how they viewed the place of the affects and role of civic structures in the pursuit of intellectual and moral perfection. He is currently completing a monograph, Spinoza’s Political Psychology: The Taming of Fortune and Fear (Cambridge University Press).

Omri Elisha (Associate Professor, Anthropology, Queens College) is the author of Moral Ambition: Mobilization and Social Outreach in Evangelical Megachurches (University of California Press, 2011). He has conducted ethnographic research in Tennessee and New York City on topics that include evangelical social engagement, urban prayer revivalism, and Christian anti-persecution activism. He is currently writing about charismatic Christian dance ministries that use artistic and choreographic techniques for religious purposes of worship, evangelism, healing, and spiritual warfare. He has received fellowships from institutions such as the School for Advanced Research, Social Science Research Council, the Center for Religion and American Culture, and the CUNY Center for the Humanities.  

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