Current Research Associates

The following scholars are working and teaching at HDS during the 2014-15 academic year:

Anila Daulatzai

Anila Daulatzai

Visiting Assistant Professor of Women’s Studies and Islamic Studies
WSRP Research Associate 2014–15
Colorado Scholar

Profile

Anila Daulatzai is a socio-cultural anthropologist with active research projects in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. Her current interests primarily circulate around the themes of war and humanitarianism, as well as the related themes of violence and care. She has graduate degrees from UCLA in public health and Islamic studies, and completed her PhD in socio-cultural anthropology in 2013 at The Johns Hopkins University.

Research project

War and What Remains: Widowhood in Contemporary Afghanistan

Anila is writing a book based on her ethnographic research with widows and their families in Kabul. The working title for her current book manuscript is "War and What Remains: Everyday Life in Contemporary Kabul, Afghanistan." "War and What Remains" explores everyday life amidst a current war and occupation with a backdrop of prior wars, occupation, and humanitarianism. The book is based on more than four years of anthropological fieldwork conducted between 2003 and 2011 in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Yakir Englander

Yakir Englander

Visiting Lecturer in Women's Studies and Judaism
WSRP Research Associate 2014–15

Home institution

Northwestern University

Profile

Yakir Englander is a specialist in modern Jewish philosophy, with a focus on gender issues. His PhD, from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem (2012), is in Jewish philosophy and gender studies. His dissertation, "The Perception of the Male Body in Ultra-Orthodox Society during the Last Sixty Years, and its Ramifications for Understanding the Human Subject and the World" offers new understandings of the images of the male body in Jewish Ultra-Orthodox contexts in recent decades.

Englander's research is interdisciplinary, touching on the interfaces between Jewish philosophy, Jewish law and gender studies. He has authored articles on sexuality in Judaism (gay and lesbian issues, masturbation, and women's sexuality in Jewish divorce law), on the role of the body as a mnemonic in the work of post-Holocaust writer Aharon Appelfeld, on "shame" in the Talmud, and on the body of the Hasidic tzadik (Jewish saint). His forthcoming book (coauthored with Avi Sagi) examines aspects of the religious-Zionist image of the body and sexuality during the last decade.

Englander is interested interfaith dialogue, as well as theory and practice of nonviolent social change. He has been developing understanding of these issues through his volunteer work as director of Kids4Peace in Israel and Palestine—a member of the global interfaith dialogue organization Kids4Peace International. In 2011, he received the Berlinsky-Sheinfeld Award for Change in Israeli Society from the Israel Council of Higher Education, for his work in Kids4Peace.

Research project

Within and Without the Walls: The Status of Ultra-Orthodox Women in the Jewish Public Sphere (1980-2010)

Focusing on the Lithuanian ultra-orthodox community in Israel, this project examines the exclusion of women both from the point of view of (male) Haredi literature and through the eyes of women as revealed in rebbitzins’ recorded lectures. It examines definitions of 'public sphere' and 'private sphere' in the Haredi world-view.

Rosalind I. J.  Hackett

Rosalind I. J. Hackett

Visiting Professor of Women’s Studies and Religion
WSRP Research Associate 2014–15

Home institution

University of Tennessee

Profile

Rosalind I. J. Hackett is professor and head of religious studies and adjunct in anthropology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. From 2003-08 she was a Distinguished Professor in the Humanities. She received her PhD in religious studies from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, in 1986, and prior to that taught at Nigerian universities for eight years. In 2000-01 she spent a year at Harvard University as a Liberal Arts Fellow in Law and Religion, Harvard Law School, and was a Senior Fellow at the Center for the Study of World Religions at HDS. She was a Rockefeller Research Fellow at the Kroc Institute of International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame in 2003-04. She was appointed a Mellon Fellow at the University of Cape Town in Religious Studies in May 2014.  

Hackett has published widely on religion in Africa, notably on new religious movements, religious media, gender and religion, regulation of religious diversity, and religion and conflict. Among her earlier works are New Religious Movements in Nigeria (1987, ed.), Religion in Calabar: the Religious Life and History of a Nigerian Town (1989), and Art and Religion in Africa (1996). Recent publications include: Proselytization Revisited: Rights Talk, Free Markets, and Culture Wars (2008, ed.) and Displacing the State: Religion and Conflict in Neoliberal Africa, (co-edited with James H. Smith, 2012). The Anthropology of Global Pentecostalism and Evangelicalism (co-edited with Simon Coleman, 2015) and New Media and Religious Transformations in Africa (co-edited with Benjamin Soares, 2015) are forthcoming. Her current research is on sound in/as religion.

Hackett has been very active in the International Association for the History of Religions (IAHR) and was reelected President from 2010-15). She is the cofounder of the IAHR Women Scholars Network. She was a founding member of the African Association for the Study of Religions and has also served as President of the North American Association for the Study of Religions. She is part of the founding steering committee of the African Consortium on Law and Religion Studies, founder/coordinator of the Jazz for Justice Project and the UT Gulu Study and Service Abroad Program in Northern Uganda.

Research project

Sacred Sound(s): Exploring the Sonic Dimensions of Gender and Religion

The goal of this project is to develop a more sonically aware approach to the study of gender and religion. It will explore the "sacred" sounds (not just music) made and heard by, associated with, or kept from women in a range of religious traditions, past and present.

Jennifer S. Leath

Jennifer S. Leath

Visiting Lecturer in Women’s Studies and Religious Ethics
WSRP Research Associate 2014–15

Home institution

Columbia University

Profile

Jennifer S. Leath's research concentrates on the intersection of sexualities and religions in sacred communities and spaces of African Diaspora. Her scholarship also engages the intersection of Afro-Diasporic women’s spiritualities and activism. Bridging concerns of religious ethics and African American studies, much of her current writing and teaching focuses on the sexual ethics and economies of historically Black churches in the United States.  

Committed to interdisciplinary scholarship, Leath is preparing her first monograph, "Childcare Activists: Reframing Afro-Diasporic Faith from the Home to the Streets," which actively engages the intersection of the spiritualities, activism, and secular childcare work of Afro-Diasporic women in the United States. She has also begun work on a second monograph, titled "From Black to Quare (and then) to Where: Ethical Trajectories of Black Sexualities."

Leath's other research interests include the metaphysics of womanism, African and Afro-Diasporic approaches to sexualities in political economies, ecumenisms of the "global south," the intersections of Buddhist and womanist thought, and interdisciplinary approaches to interreligious dialogue. Prior to joining HDS as a 2014-15 Research Associate, she helped to establish the Center on African American Religion, Sexual Politics & Social Justice at Columbia University, working as the assistant director of research. In addition to her research, she is an active member of various academic communities, including the Society for the Study of Black Religion, the American Academy of the Religion, and the Society for Christian Ethics. 

Research project

Is "Queer" the New "Black"?: Gender and Sexual Aspects of Afro-Diasporic Justice in the United States

What are the contemporary languages of "justice" and methodologies of "justice" making within the United States? This study addresses the peculiar life of "justice" as a concept that mediates the relationship between "queerness" and "blackness"—especially among women—within Afro-Diasporic communities.

Alison More

Alison More

Visiting Assistant Professor of Women's Studies and History of Christianity
WSRP Research Associate 2014–15

Home institution

University of Edinburgh

Profile

Alison More joins the Women's Studies in Religion program from the School of History, Classics and Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh. She completed her PhD at the University of Bristol under the direction of Carolyn Muessig. She later held a research position for the project "Religious Orders and Religious Identities," based at Radboud University in Nijmegen, and was assistant professor at the Franciscan Institute of St. Bonaventure University.

More's scholarly work investigates the social and religious culture of Northern Europe from 1250 to 1450. She is particularly interested in the evolution of female quasi-religious groups (including beguines and tertiaries). Her work also explores medieval lay piety, preaching, literacy, gender roles, changing images of sanctity, and cultural links between the Low Countries and Scotland. She co-edited the volume Representing Medieval Genders and Sexualities, authored several articles and chapters, and has a forthcoming monologue entitled "Preacher, Text and Religious Identity: 1289-1560." In Scotland and the Low Countries, More has used a diverse range of media to foster interest in local social and cultural history.

Research project

Education, Confessionalisation, and Identity in Women’s Religious Communities, 1370-1563

This project explores the changing identities and intellectual engagement of communities of non-monastic religious women in the Low Countries. It questions the established traditions that emphasize feminine passivity, illiteracy, and lack of theological engagement, and explores the roles that women played in creating a coherent confessional identity.