Ph.D. Job Candidates
Elizabeth Cecil, Ph.D. Candidate
Elizabeth is a Ph.D. Candidate in the South Asian Religions Program. Her dissertation, "Mapping a Contested Landscape: Religion, Politics, and Place in the Making of Pashupata Identity," investigates the growth of the earliest Shaiva devotional movement (i.e. Pashupatas) in early medieval northwest India. Through an interdisciplinary approach that unites philological work on Sanskrit texts and inscriptions with the study of material culture, her research explores the ways in which sanctified spaces were used to materialize an early Shaiva identity.
Related to her focus on early Shaivism, Elizabeth has worked closely with the international team of scholars engaged in the critical editing and analysis of the Skandapurana, a foundational text for the study of Shaiva religiosity. She has also conducted extensive fieldwork and research in original sources in South and Southeast Asia with the support of Mellon Dissertation Research Fellowships from the Council of Library and Information Resourcs (CLIR) and the Social Science Research Council (SSRC). She is curently completing her dissertation at the Institute of Area Studies at Leiden University in the Netherlands with the support of the Mellon Dissertation Completion Fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS).
Elizabeth is qualified to teach courses on South Asian religions, the history of pre-colonial South Asia, the material and visual cultures of South Asia, and practices of pilgrimage. She has experience teaching courses on Sanskrit language and literary history and she is competent to teach courses on Theory and Method in Religious Studies and the History of World Religions.
Stephen Young, Ph.D. Candidate
Dolores Zohrab Liebman Fellow
Stephen is a teacher and scholar of Religious Studis who focuses on Judaism in the Hellenistic through early Roman Imperial periods and Christianity in the first through second centuries. He uses his expertise in these areas to explore myths and mythmaking, textuality and sacred books, discourses and ideologies about deities, and ideas and rituals related to the afterlife. And he pursues these interests in dialogue with critical theories and methods in religious studies, social theory, gender theories, and cognitive science.
His dissertation focuses on Paul's reuse of culturally availably mythic materials in order to promote his Jewish Christ-cult to potential initiates in the Greco-Roman Mediterranean. In addition to his expertise in Biblical Studies and ancient Mediterranean religion, Stephen also researches modern American religion, with particular attention to the cultural or intellectual "elites" among American Evangelical Christians. His research thus far has resulted in six peer-reviewed articles in the Journal of Biblical Literature, the Harvard Theological Review, Biblical Interpretation, the Journal for the Study of the New Testament, and the Journal of Early Christian History.
Stephen's research and teaching interests incude New Testament and Early Christianity, Second Temple Judaism, Hebrew Bible, Textual Production and Sacred Books in the Ancient Mediterranean, Myths and Mythmaking in Religious Studies, Greco-Roman Discourses about Deities, the Afterlife in the Ancient Mediterranean, American Evangelicalism, Theory and Methodology in Religious Studies, Gender and Religion, and Religions of the World.