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Department of Religious Studies

News

Graduate Student News

Recent PhD Degrees Awarded

Susie Meister, "Presents of God: The Marketing of the American Prosperity Gospel," 2014

Patrick Hughes, “A Reception History of Thomas Paine’s The Age of Reason,” 2013

Hongyu Wu, “Leading the Good Life: Peng Shengshao's Biographical Narratives of and Instructions for Lay Buddhist Women in High Qing China (1683-1839),” 2013

Izzet Bahar, “Turkey and the Rescue of Jews during the Nazi Era: A Reappraisal of Two Cases; German-Jewish Scientists in Turkey and Turkish Jews in Occupied France,” 2012

Joel Brady, “Transnational Conversions: Greek Catholics and Russian Orthodox Conversion Movements in America and Austro-Hungary (1890-1914),” 2012

Nancy Klancher, “Jesus and the Canaanite Women: Studies in the Reception of Matthew 15: 21-28,” 2012

Peter de Vries, "Approaching Apocalyptic: The Hermeneutics of Paul Ricoeur and the Olivet Discourse of Mark 13," 2010

Sandra Collins, "'Weapons upon her body': The Heroic Feminine in the Hebrew Bible," 2009

Recent MA Degrees Awarded

Lianghao Lu, "A Modern Encounter between Chinese Buddhism and Periodical Publishing," April 2014

Emily Stewart, "E-Scripture: The Impact of Technology on the Reading of Sacred Texts (2013),"Aprl 2013

Marco Dozzi,"Approaching the Fissure in Being: Parmenides, Sartre, Plotinus, and Early Christian Theology," April 2011

Emily Bailey, "'Eateth Not the Bread of Idleness': Church Cookbooks and Victorian American Domesticity," December 2010

David Givens, "Shared Visions in Shared Space: Latino and Euro-American Identity Transformation at St. Regis Catholic Church," December 2010

Susie Meister, "Work of the Lord: An Ethnographic Case Study of an Evangelical Entrepreneur," December 2010

Wynne Lanros, "The Ontological Argument and the Philosophy of Logic," December 2009

Margaret Rencewicz, "The Polish National Catholic Church: The Founding of an American Schism," December 2009

Alexandra C.K. Seitz, "Arriving at the 'Proper' Moral Choice: Pittsburgh Catholics for Obama and Issues of Social Justice," summer 2009

Graduate Student Wins Renewal of Chancellor's Fellowship in Chinese Studies

Congratulations to Lianghao Lu on a one-year renewal of his Chancellor's Fellowship in Chinese Studies (2013-2014). This extends his two-year Chancellor's Fellowship (2011-2012, 2012-2013) awarded by the China faculty of the Asian Studies Center. Lianghao also won a SEALS-Japan scholarship for intensive Japanese language study in summer 2012 through the Department of East Asian Languages & Literatures.

PhD Candidate Wins Andrew Mellon Predoctoral Fellowships

Congratulations to Margarita Delgado on being awarded a Mellon Fellowship (2012-2013) for dissertation research on “Material Culture and Religious Change in Early Chinese Buddhism.” Ms. Delgado was also the unprecedented recipient of three one-year Chancellor's Fellowships in Chinese Studies (2008-2009, 2009-2010, 2010-2011).

PhD Candidate Wins Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation Doctoral Fellowship

Congratulations to Hongyu Wu on being awarded a prestigious Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange Doctoral Fellowship (2011-2012) for completion on her dissertation called “Leading the Good Life: Biographical Narratives of and Instructions for Lay Buddhist Women in the High Qing Period (1683-1839).” The CCK Foundation, headquartered in Taiwan, supports last-stage dissertators in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central America, or South America in the field of Chinese Studies in the humanities and social sciences and awards twelve fellowships each year. Hongyu was a two-time Mellon Doctoral Fellow (2006-2007, 2007-2008).

Recent Publications

Tucker S. Ferda, “Jeremiah 7 and Flavius Josephus on the First Jewish War,” Journal for the Study of Judaism 44 (2013): 158-173; ‘Sealed’ with the Holy Spirit (Eph 1,13-14) and Circumcision,” Biblica 93 (2012): 557-79; "The Seventy Faces of Peter's Confession: Matt. 16:16-17 in the History of Interpretation," Biblical Interpretation 20 (2012): 421-57, and "John the Baptist, Isaiah 40, and the Ingathering of the Exiles," Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus 10 (2012): 154-88. Encyclopedia entries in Hans-Josef Klauck et al., eds., Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception (New York: de Gruyter, 2009 to present); review of Matthias Henze, ed., A Companion to Biblical Interpretation in Early Judaism, Reviews of the Enoch Seminar (2012.12.07). www.enochseminar.org//drupal/node/7669.

Soorakkulame Pemarathana, “Empiricism and the Buddhist View of the Mind in Sensory Knowledge,” in Gnanaprabha: A Felicitation Volume in Honor of Venerable Dr. Pategama Gnanarama (Singapore, 2011); "Early Buddhist Insights in Proliferating Concepts and Views," in New Horizons in Buddhist Psychology: Relational Buddhism for Collaborative Practitioners, edited by Maurits G.T. Kwee, Chargrin Falls, OH: Taos Institute Publications, 2010.

Recent Conference Presentations

Lianghao Lu presented “Taking Care of the Dead: The Role of Buddhist Monks during the Ming-Qing Transition” at the 2013 22nd Columbia University Graduate Student Conference on East Asia.

Emily Bailey presented "Faith and Victorian American Foodways," as part of a panel she organized at the 2013 Nineteenth-Century Studies Association annual meeting. Emily also presented "Historical Cookbooks in the Study of American Religion" at the Mid-Atlantic Popular & American Culture Association annual conference in November 2012 and “Recipes for Religion: Church Cookbooks and Victorian American Domesticity” at the Nineteenth Century Studies Association in March 2012.

Hongyu Wu presented "Women and the Path to the Pure Land," at the American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting in Chicago in November, 2012; she spoke on"Sincerity, Morality, and Miracles in the Biographies of Good Women" at the AAR Annual Meeting in San Francisco in November 2011, and “Dharma Teachers, Moral Instructresses and Talented Women”at the XVth Congress of the International Association for Buddhist Studies in Taiwan in June 2011.

Patrick Hughes is presenting “Irreligion Made Easy: The Reaction to Thomas Paine’s The Age of Reason" at the International Conference of Thomas Paine Studies held at Iona College in New Rochelle, NY on October 19-21, 2012.

Adrienne Spillar presented "Roman Catholics on the Borders of 'Us' and 'Them' in American Television Dramas" at the Popular Culture Association Meeting in Boston, April 4-7, 2012.

Susie Meister presented "The Social Gospel?: The Market of the Prosperity Gospel in Social Media" at the International Conference on Digital Media hosted by the Center for Media, Religion and Culture in Boulder, Colorado in January 2012.

Margaret Rencewicz was panel organizer and discussant for “Religion in Polish America: Community, Conflict and Cooperation” at the Polish American Historical Association Meeting in Chicago in January 2012.

Religious Studies Graduate Students Participate in 2012 Grad Expo

The Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, 2012 Grad Expo takes place this year on March 22, 2012 in the William Penn Union. Three Religious Studies graduate students are presenting papers. For the program schedule, click here.

Tucker Ferda, "The Anti-Marcionite Implications of Origen’s Textual Criticism"

Lianghao Lu, "The Taiping Rebellion's Influence on the Chinese Bible"

Emily Stewart, "Reading Technology and its Impact on Sacred Texts"

Grants & Awards

Margaret Rencewicz was awarded a 2012-2013 Grant in Aid from the Immigration History Research Center at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis for archival dissertation research at the Center on "Conflict and Schism in Catholic America, 1865-1945."

Graduate Student Publications
Icon of saints Cyril and Methodius, Apostles to the Slavs

David Givens, "From the Student Desk" column of Religious Studies Review, published by the American Academy of Religion (10/2010). Check out what he has to say about "The Intelligent Design of Online Resources."

Emily Bailey, "Historical Cookbooks in the Study of American Religion," Bulletin for the Study of Religion 41.4 (November 2012):
24-33.

Nancy Klancher, A Massacre Averted: An American Town, An American Nurse, and the Turkish Army They Resisted, Markus Weiner Publishers, 2011, and "The Male Soul in Drag: Women-as-Job in the Testament of Job” in the Journal for the Study of the Pseudipigrapha 19.3 (2010).

Izzet Bahar, "German or Jewish, Humanity or Raison d'Etat: The German Scholars in Turkey, 1933-1952," Shofar 29.1 (2010). He is also author of a book, based on his Pitt religious studies MA thesis, called Jewish Historiography on the Ottoman Empire and its Jewry from the Late Fifteenth Century to the Early Decades of the Twentieth Century(Istanbul: Isis Press, 2008).

Hongyu Wu, "Shannüren zhuan he Qingdai Jushi Fojiao" (The Biographies of Good Women and Lay Buddhism in the Qing Dynasty) in Bai nian fojiao (Chinese Buddhist Studies in the Last Century), Wuhan University Press, 2008.

Documentary on Generation X's Attitudes Toward Religion

Susie Meister Barker produced and directed the full-lenfth documentry film called “The Revolving Door Faith Club: An Exploration of the Religious Identity Crisis of Generation X” (December 2011). She presented it at Religious Studies Colloquium Series in February 2012. Susie has been invited by the Executive Board of the Phi Alpha Theta (National History Honor Society) branch of The University of Texas at Arlington to show her documentary and conduct a roundtable discussion on religion in America this Spring 2013.

Conference Presentations

Hongyu Wu presented "Women and the Path to the Pure Land," American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting, November 2012; she spoke on "Sincerity, Morality, and Miracles in the Biographies of Good Women," AAR Annual Meeting, November 2011; “Dharma Teachers, Moral Instructresses and Talented Women,” XVth Congress of the International Association for Buddhist Studies, Taiwan, June 2011; "The Nonregressing Path to the Rebirth in the Pure Land: The Pure Land Thought of Peng Shaosheng," AAR Annul Meeting, October 2010; and "Buddhist Practices and the Womanly Way: Biographical Narratives of Buddhist Laywomen in High Qing China," XVth Congress of the International Association of Buddhist Studies, 2008.

Nancy Klancher presented "A Massacre Averted: An American Town, an American Nurse, and the Turkish Army They resisted," at Carnegie Mellon University in April 2011. She also presented "The Taming of the Canaanite Woman: Scenes from the Afterlife of Matthew 15:21-28" at the 2010 Society of Biblical Literature Mid-Atlantic Regional Meeting, New Brunswick, NJ in March 2010.

For the eighth year running, religious students graduate students were well represented at the Arts and Sciences Grad Expo. Tucker Ferda presented "The Seventy Faces of Peter's Confession: Matthew 16:16-17 in the History of Biblical Interpretation," and Susie Meister presented "Work of the Lord: An Ethnographic Case of an Evangelical Entrepreneur." The 2011 Grad Expo was held on March 24 in the William Pitt Union. In 2010, Marco Dozzi presented "Fluid Evidential Reasoning: An Alternative Model of Belief Formation, Maintenance, and Expression for the Cognitive Science of Religion." At the 2009 Grad Expo, four students presented their research: Emily Bailey, "Shoshin-Beginner’s Mind: My Month in an American Zen Monastery"; Andrew Cole, "Baklava, Books, and Boundaries: Religious Identity and Education for Eastern Orthodox Children in America"; Alexandra C.K. Seitz, "Arriving at the Proper Moral Choice: Pittsburgh Catholics for Obama and the Question of Abortion"; and Peter de Vries, "The Apocalyptic Genre Considered by the Light of Ricoeur's Hermeneutics." Kudos to Andrew and Alexandra whose presentations won Outstanding Paper Awards.

David Givens presented "Shared Faith in Shared Space: Ethnographic Evidence for a New Model of Cultural Transformation" at the 11th Annual Interdisciplinary Symposium for the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (Religion and Culture Theme) at Purdue University in March 2011. He also presented "Negotiating Belief and Ethnicity in Ethnographic Research" at the North Central Sociological Association Annual Conference in April 2010, and "Overcoming Divisions Amidst Diversity: Latino and Euro-American Faith and Identity at St. Regis Catholic Church” at the Florida State University Department of Religion’s 9th Annual Graduate Student Symposium in February 2010.

Margaret Rencewicz presented “The Sensationalism of Schism: Polish and English-Language Print Media and Conflict in Catholic America, 1880-1965,” at the Polish American Historical Association Annual Meeting held in conjunction with the American Historical Association Annual Meeting, Boston, January 2011.

Margarita Delgado presented "From Stupa to Pagoda: The Cultural Translation of Buddhism" at the annual meeting of the Association for Asian Studies in March 2011.

Emily Bailey presented "Recipes for Religion: Church Cookbooks and Female Spirituality in America," at the Association for the Study of Food and Society conference at Indiana University, Bloomington on June 3, 2010. In May 2009, she presented "Eating Habits: An Ethnographic Study of Social Food Practice in Female Catholic Religious Life" at the Joint Annual Meeting of the AFHVS (Agriculture, Food and Human Values Society) and ASFS (Association for the Study of Food and Society) held at Penn State University.

Ferda Tucker presented "Jesus and His 'Fishers of Men': Jesus' Call of the Four in Mark and Echoes of the First Jewish War" at the Upper Midwest Annual Meeting of the SBL/AAR in April 2010.

Susie Meister presented "The Perceived Insider: Ethnographic Challenges of a Former Member" at the North Central Sociological Association Annual Conference in Chicago in April 2010.

Matthew Peterson presented "The Politics of Gazing" at the North Central Sociological Association Annual Conference in Chicago in April 2010.

Alexandra C.K. Seitz presented "Arriving at the 'Proper' Moral Choice: Pittsburgh Catholics for Obama and the Question of Abortion" at the Annual Convention of the American Studies Association, Washington, D.C., in November 2009.

Peter de Vries presented "The Challenge of Apocalyptic Texts in Contexts of Crisis" at the Society for Biblical Studies annual meeting in New Orleans in November 2009.

Joel Brady presented three papers at national conferences in 2009: "Ethnography by Judicial Proxy in East European and American Migrant Religious History" at the Forty-first Annual Convention of the American Academy for the Advancement of Slavic Studies in November; "Transnational Reforms: Greek Catholic Converts to Russian Orthodoxy in America and Eastern Europe, 1890-1914" at the Third Biennial Conference of the Association for the Study of Eastern Christian History and Culture in October, for which he organized the panel called "Nationalism, Ethnicity, and Reform in the History of Eastern Christianity"; and "Transnational Conversions: Migrants in America and Greek Catholic Conversion Movements to Eastern Orthodoxy in the Habsburg Empire, 1900-1914" at the University of Alberta Conference on Eastern Christians in the Habsburg Monarchy in September.

Andrew Cole presented "Christ, Church, and Culture: Religious Education and Identity for Eastern Orthodox Children in America" at the Third Biennial Conference of the Association for the Study of Eastern Christian History and Culture, Inc., in October 2009.

Fellowship and Award Winners

Congratulations to Meghan Lilly on being awarded a Global Studies FLASF for the study of Chinese.

Congratulations to Nancy Klancher on winning a Mellon Fellowship (2010-2011) for dissertation research on "Jesus and the Canaanite Woman: Studies in the Reception of Matthew 15:21-28."

Congratulations to Margarita Delgado on being awarded a third-year renewal of the Chancellor's Graduate Fellowship in Chinese Studies (2008-2009, 2009-2010, 2010-2011).

Joel Brady is the recipient of three REES FLAS Fellowships (2007-2008, 2008-2009, 2010-2011) as well as a 2007-2008 Michael Komichak Ukrainian Language Scholarship. Joel received the 2009 Nationality Rooms, Eugene Manasterski Memorial Award to support summer research in Lviv, Ukraine on his dissertation "Transnational Conversions: Greek Catholic and Russian Orthodox Conversion Movements in America and Austro-Hungary (1890-1914)."

Susie Meister was awarded a 2010-2011 CLAS FLAS Fellowship for her work on "prosperity gospel" in Latin America.

Rebecca Slavin received a 2010 Nationality Rooms, Israel Heritage Room Award to support summer dissertation research on "Jewish Women in Pittsburgh who made Aliyah between 1950 and 1970" at the Central Zionist Archive in Jerusalem.

Patrick Hughes was awarded a 2009 Library Resident Research Fellow at the American Philosophical Society Library in Philadelphia to conduct research on his project called "A Reception History of Thomas Paine’s The Age of Reason."

Maggie Rencewicz won a Scholarship from the Slovak Ministry of Education to study at the Summer School of Slovak Language and Culture at Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovakia (2009). Maggie was also awarded a Thomas Kukucka Memorial Scholarship from the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures (2009) and a 2008 REES FLAS Fellowship for the intensive study of Slovak at Pitt's Russian and European Summer Language Institute.

Congratulations to Andrew Cole ("Baklava, Books, and Boundaries: Religious Identity and Education for Eastern Orthodox Children in America") and Alexandra C.K. Seitz ("Arriving at the 'Proper' Moral Choice: Pittsburgh Catholics for Obama and the Question of Abortion") whose presentations at the 2009 Arts and Sciences Grad Expo won Outstanding Paper awards.

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