The Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship Program in Media, Religion, and Culture has now ended. The program was co-directed by Stewart M. Hoover and Lynn Schofield Clark. Throughout the course of the program, three different scholars served as fellowship coordinators and additional resource persons from the University of Colorado: Dr. Diane Alters, Dr. Scott Webber, and Dr. Monica Emerich. The program was funded through a generous grant from the Lilly Endowment, Inc. from 2002 through 2007. Other resource persons throughout the life of this program included Eileen Barker, Ronald Grimes, Amir Hussain, Hamid Naficy, David Nord, Wade Clark Roof, Michele Rosenthal, Lynn Ross-Bryant, Brad Verter, Hillary Warren, Rhys Williams, Diane Winston and Angela Zito.
One book has been published as a result of this fellowship program: Religion, Media, and the Marketplace, edited by Lynn Schofield Clark, Rutgers University Press, 2007.
Christine Kraemer, Boston University, Ph.D. candidate in Religion and Literature. Christine is studying alternative religion and sexuality in U.S. culture since 1960. She is examining works that celebrate the erotic as a key religious element, including works such as Zami: A New Spelling of My Name (1982), which is an autobiography by Audre Lorde; Angels in America (1992) a play and film by Tony Kushner; The Fifth Sacred Thing (1993), a novel by ecofeminist theologian Starhawk, Hedwig and the Angry Inch (1998, 2001), a play and film written, directed by, and starring John Cameron Mithcell, and Blankets (2003), a graphic novel by Craig Thompson. Her dissertation is under the direction of Susan Mizruchi.
Shazia Iftkhar, University of Wisconsin Madison, Ph.D. candidate in Communication. Shazia conducts research on the media representations of race, ethnicity, gender and religion in relation to question of nation, identity, and citizenship. Specifically, she is exploring the political, religious, and gender struggles at the heart of the French law forbidding the wearing of the Muslim headscarf, exploring the representation of these issues in local and international media. Her dissertation is under the direction of Hemant Shah.
Montre Aza Missouri, School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, Ph.D. candidate in Film Studies. Montre is exploring images of Yoruba spirituality and the construction of national identity in films categorized as third cinema, with a primary focus on independent Cuban, Brazilian and African American film, comparing representations of Yoruba spirituality in films from these areas with those of the Nigerian film-video industry and its treatment of indigenous spirituality. Her dissertation is under the direction of Isolde Standish.
Joon Seong Lee, Dept. of Telecommunications, Ohio University. Joon is studying digituality and governmentality, examining new Korean funeral culture, particularly looking at computer-mediated rituals, issues of the Self, and implications for feminine empowerment/standing.
Katherine Meizel, Dept. of Music, University of California, Santa Barbara. Katherine is studying the performance of personal and civil religion in the televised singing competition American Idol, particularly examining this in the context of post-9/11 anxieties about faith, patriotism, and morality in the United States.
Emily Zeamer, Dept. of Social Anthropology, Harvard University. Emily is studying the origins and ideological effects of the establishment of single-sex communities of renunciate Buddhist women in contemporary Thai society, focusing particularly on the tension between ideas about new media and technologies and Buddhist tradition.
Alexandra Boutros, McGill University, Ph.D. in Cultural Studies. Alex studied the ways that voudun culture has migrated from the Caribbean to diasporic communities in Canada and beyond as a result of the rise in popularity of the culture’s music. She was interested in how these movements of culture changed and informed the identification practices of those in diasporic communities and those who sympathize with their political concerns. Her dissertation was under the direction of Will Straw. She is now a Postdoctoral Fellow at New York University.
Mark Elmore, University of California, Santa Barbara, Ph.D. in Religious Studies. Mark studied South Asian Hindu practices of animal sacrifice and the ways in which local officials negotiated between local preferences for certain rituals and the demands and expectations of a tourist-driven economy. His dissertation was under the direction of Mary Hancock.
Bahiyyih Watson Maroon, University of California, Santa Cruz, Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology. “B” conducted research on the introduction of cybercafes into the former coffeehouse culture of urban Morrocco, exploring how Muslims negotiated issues of gender and morality in relation to the emergent public sphere that arose as a result of cyberculture. Her dissertation was under the direction of Melissa Caldwell.
Maryellen Davis, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Ph.D. in Religious History. Maryellen studied the construction and use of Marian imagery for inspirational and political purposes in various militia organizations from the early 20th century to the present. Her dissertation was under the direction of Tom Tweed. She is now an Assistant Professor at Lewis University in Illinois.
Lee Gilmore, Graduate Theological Union, San Francisco, Ph.D. in Theology. Lee studied the popular Burning Man festival, drawing upon her insider knowledge as a former volunteer worker in the media relations part of the festival. She examined how the festival workers attempted to control the images of the event, and how media professionals framed the event in ways that sometimes echoed, and at other times challenged, the organizers’ preferred interpretations of the happenings at Black Rock City. She is now an Instructor at Chabot College in California.
Regina Marchi, University of California, San Diego, Ph.D. in Communication. Regina studied Day of the Dead traditions as they migrated to the U.S. from various countries in Central and South America, exploring how the media covered these events, how various groups attempted to marshal these public rituals for political purposes, and how the rise of Day of the Dead chic in art galleries around the country participates in widening and changing the ritual for a broader audience. Her dissertation was directed by Chandra Mukerji. She is now an Assistant Professor at Rutgers University.
Phyllis Alsdurf, University of Minnesota, Ph.D. in Communication. Phyllis conducted research on the history of Christianity Today magazine. Her dissertation was under the direction of Hazel Dickens-Garcia. She is now an Assistant Professor at Bethel University in Minnesota.
Anne L. Borden, Emory University, Ph.D. in Sociology. Anne conducted research on the rise of Christian bookselling and the ways in which various workers in the Christian retail industry negotiate the tensions between evangelism and selling. Her dissertation was under the direction of Timothy Dowd. She is now an Assistant Professor at Kennesaw State University in Georgia.
Ferruh Yilmaz, University of Califonia, San Diego. Ferruh’s dissertation focused on the role of the Danish press in creating a discourse that collapsed issues of immigration and Muslims in ways that reinforced discrimination against Muslims. His dissertation was under the direction of Dan Hallin.