Graduate Students

About our Graduate Students 

Nicholas Andersen
Religion and Critical Thought 

Sarah Berns
Religions in the Ancient Mediterranean 

Sarah is a third-year RAM student, focusing on the religions of ancient Israel and Canaan.  She received a B.A. in Religious Studies from Smith College in 2010 and an MTS in Hebrew Bible/Old Testament from Harvard Divinity School in 2013, and has excavated at Tel Megiddo.  Her research focuses on situating religious practices and texts in relation to everyday life in the ancient Eastern Mediterranean.  She is particularly interested in households and work sites as centers of religious action and identity.  Her methodological interests include comparative Semitic philology, archaeology, art history, and theories of practice.

Chris DiBona 
Religion and Critical Thought
 

Chris is a second-year student in Religion and Critical Thought.  He earned a B.A. in Philosophy from Trinity College (2010) and an M.A. in Philosophy from Boston College.  Chris is interested in exploring the religious and ethical implications of varying conceptions of subjectivity, selfhood, and reason in Western philosophical and religious traditions, as well as the possibilities for normative thinking about religion and ethics within an anti-foundationalist and post-metaphysical framework.  To investigate these topics, he draws on a variety of figures from continental philosophy and Christian theology.  His most recent work explores how Hegel's conception of Christian love provides a unique phenomenological platform from which to rethink traditional philosophical and theological boundaries between sacred and secular, infinite and finite, transcendent and immanent, self and other.  Chris also has research interests in ancient Greek philosophy and aesthetics.  

Larson DiFiori
Asian Religious Traditions

Reyhan Durmaz
Religions in the Ancient Mediterranean 

Reyhan is a student of Late Antiquity and Syriac Christianity.  She received an M.A. in Anatolian-Civilizations and Cultural Heritage Management from Koc Univeristy (Istanbul) in 2010, specializing in the ecclesiastical architecture of the Syrian Orthodox Church.  She received a second M.A. in Medieval Studies from Central European University (Budapest) in 2012; in her CEU thesis she analyzed a group of saints' lives from Tur 'Abdin, focusing on their thematic foci and perceptions of sacred space.  In addition to monasticism and hagiography of the Syriac Church, she studies the dialogue between the hagiographical traditions of Christianity and Islam.  She is a dedicated student and friend of the Suryoye in Tur 'Abdin, and a devout lover of Istanbul.  

 

Nicholas Friesner
Religion and Critical Thought

Nicholas  received an A.B. in Philosophy from Brown in 2006, and a M.A.R. in Philosophy of Religion and Philsophical Theology from Yale Divinity School in 2011.  He works in the areas of religious ethics, philosophy of religion, and modern religious thought, with special attention to contemporary issues in religion and ecology and religion in America.  His dissertation examines the efforts of Ralph Waldo Emerson to articulate a progressive understanding of religion, and how Emerson's philosophical reflection on religion can contribute to contemporary conversations about the interconnections between philosophy, theology, and ethics.  This version of Emerson critiques the way his legacy has been portrayed by most interpreters and calls into question the traditional portrayals of him as a proto-secularist and/or spiritualist, instead placing him in the larger traditions of western philosophical and christian theological ethics.  Nicholas is also working on questions concerning social critique and secularism, as well as traditions of environmental thought in America.  Nicholas  served as a fellow at the Cogut Center for the Humanities last year. This year he is the recipient of the Brown/Wheaton Faculty Fellowship.

 

Alexis Glenn
Religion and Critical Thought 

Alexis is a fourth-year RCT student, entering the program after earning a dual B.A. in Religious Studies and Anthropology from the Univeresity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2008, and an M.A. in Religious Studies from the University of Colorado-Boulder in 2012.  Her primary interests lie at the intersection of Aristotelian moral philosophy, early modern Anglo-American ethical traditions, and constructions of the self within historical texts.  Her current work focuses on issues of ethical formation, moral anthropology, and the conceptual roles of 'tradition' and 'history' within early modern Western philosophical thought.  Her broad research interests include late medieval and early modern English and colonial American history, Aristotelian virtue, ethics and its commentators, democratic theory, and political theology.  

Samuel Goldstein
Asian Religious Traditions 

Nechama Juni
Religion and Critical Thought 

Chumie is a second-year student in RCT.  She received her BA (summa cum laude) from Stern College for Women of Yeshiva University, with a double major in Philosophy and Biology.  She earned her MA in Jewish Philosophy from the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies.  Her interests lie at the intersection of Jewish philosophy, 20th century 'continental' ethics, relational models of subjectivity, and philosophical aesthetics.  She is particularly interested in questions of how both aesthetic experiences and religious traditions contribute to the formation of ethical subjectivity.  She has thus far explored these topics mainly through the works of Emmanuel Levinas, placing his ethics in various philosophical frameworks, including Nietzschean skepticism, a late-Strawsonian transcendental perspective, and Sellarsian/Brandomian empiricism.  Other research interests include theory of religion and feminist philosophies.  

Robert Kashow
Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean

Rob is interested in the intersection of social-anthroplogy and the historical study of the Ancient Mediterranean region (primarily ancient Israel and Judah, secondarily ancient Assyria/Babylon/Persia and Egypt) during the first millenium BCE.  Rob uses anthropology to bring new questions to bear upon historical study, and uses historical data to contribute to anthropological scholarship dealing with the culture of the present day.  Topics especially of interest to Rob include the study of violence, migration and immigration, race and ethinicity, millennium movements, prophets, prophetic literature, and apocalyptic literature.  

Caroline Kory

Religion and Critical Thought 

Megan K. McBride
Religion and Critical Thought 

Megan entered the RCT program in 2011.  She received a B.A. in Psychology from Drew University in 2000, an M.A. in Liberal Arts from the Great Books program at St. John's College in 2004, and an M.A. in Government from John Hopkins University in 2010.  She is principally interested in the relationship between religion and contemporary terrorism.  Her work focuses the agency of individuals committing acts of terrorism, and the relationship between religious and political discourses.

Caleb Murray
Religion and Critical Thought

Caleb Murray is a graduate of Wittenberg University (B.A.) and Harvard Divinity School (M.T.S.).  With a background in Christian theology and literary studies, Caleb’s current research lies at the intersection of religious ethics and philosophy of religion.  He has particular interests in the history and philosophy of mysticism, environmental ethics, aesthetics, and critical theory.

Qingyue Pan
Asian Religious Traditions 

 Michael Payne

Religions in the Ancient Mediterranean 

Daniel Picus
Religions in the Ancient Mediterranean

Daniel is a fifth year in the RAM program, focusing broadly on religion in late antiquity.  He received a BA (magna cum laude) from Macalaster College in Classics (2010), and an M.St. with distinction from the University of Oxford in Jewish Studies in the Greco-Roman Period (2011).  His primary focus is with the rabbis of Palestine and Babylonia, but his interests extend to the late ancient world more broadly, and include sources in Latin, Greek, and Syriac more specifically.  Daniel is currently writing a dissertation on late ancient reading practices among Jews and Christians.  During the 2014-2015 school year, he was the Resident Instructor at the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies in Rome, teaching both an advanced Greek seminar on later Greek literature, and classes on Roman and Greek religion.  He was also the on-site director for Brown's Pre-College Summer in Rome program in July of 2015.

Lauren Smith
Religion and Critical Thought 

Kerry Sonia
Religions in the Ancient Mediterranean

Kerry is a sixth year in the RAM program, focusing on the religion of ancient Israel in its ancient West Asian context.

She received an A.B. in Religious Studies from Brown (2007) and an M.T.S. in Hebrew Bible from Harvard Divinity School (2009). Her research interests include ancient historiography, comparative Semitic philology, the history of biblical interpretation, and the role of women in cultic practice. She is particularly interested in reconstructions of Israelite ancestor cult and its relationship to the Jerusalem Temple. Her dissertation examines this relationship in light of recent work on famiy religion and the dynamics of cultic competition in ancient West Asian and the Mediterranean. 

Adrien Stoloff


Asian Religious Traditions 

Adrien Stoloff is a fourth-year Ph.D. student focusing on early Daoism in the Warring States period and the Early Han Dynasty.  He received a B.A. in Liberal Arts from St. John's College (Annapolis) and an M.A. from Columbia University in East Asian Languages and Cultures with a specialization in East Asian Religion and Philosopy.  Adrien is interested in Daoist body cultivation practices, particularly meditation practices in early Daoist texts such as the Neiye and the Zhuangzi.  He has studied Mandarin Chinese at National Taiwan Normal University through the Taiwan Ministry of Education's Huayu Enrichment Scholarship and at Sichuan University through the U.S. State Department's Critical Language Scholarship.

Noah Tetenbaum
Religions in the Ancient Mediterranean 

Shane Thompson
Religions in the Ancient Mediterranean 

Shane is a second-year RAM student focusing on Israelite Religion within the larger context of the Ancient Near East.  His research interests include ritual, ritual theory, archaeology, and linguistics within Late Bronze and Iron Age Syria-Palestine.  He is particularly interested in how sources reflect the political and social hierarchies of the period.  A graduate of Wake Foret University, Shane holds several graduate degrees, including an MTS from Candler School of Theology, Emory University, and an MA in Bible and the Ancient Near East (NEJS) from Brandeis University.  He has also been a staff member on archaeological digs at Khirbet Summeily and Tel Halif.  

Tanner Walker
Religions in the Ancient Mediterranean 

Soyoung You
Asian Religious Traditions

Soyoung  is a second-year ART student, focusing on the religious and intellectual traditions in East Asia during pre-modern era, especially Neo-Confucianism.  She received a M.A. in Asian Philosophy from Korea University in 2011.  She is particularly interested in the notion of sage in Neo-Confucianism and the identity of Neo-Confucians. Her methodological interests include intellectual hisotry, ethics, moral psychology, philosophical anthropology, and comparative philosophy.  She is a native Korean speaker and is fluent in Japanese as well as in Chinese.