Their research spans history, religions, and academic fields, and next year, five new Research Associates will join the Women’s Studies in Religion Program at HDS to work on book-length projects.
By bringing together scholars from different disciplines and research areas, commonalities in religion and gender emerge. While working on their projects, the WSRP Research Associates teach a one-semester course and deliver a lecture on their research.
2017–18 Research Associates
Visiting Associate Professor of Women’s Studies and African American Religions Colorado Scholar
Kimberly Blockett is an associate professor of English at Pennsylvania State University, Brandywine. Her project, “Race, Religion and Rebellion: Recovering the Antebellum Writing and Itinerant Ministry of Zilpha Elaw,” provides the most extensive extant account of African-American female itinerant preaching during the Second Great Awakening. This is the first book-length study of Elaw’s life, ministry, and memoir, which includes an unprecedented chronicle of preaching in the slave states after the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793.
Visiting Lecturer on Women's Studies and Judaism
Avital Davidovich-Eshed is a teaching fellow at the Gender Studies Program at Bar Ilan University, a research fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem and a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for the Study of Conversion and Inter-Religious Encounters at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
Her project, "Enclosed Gardens Revealed: The Concept of Virginity in Medieval Jewish Culture" is a detailed and comprehensive historical study of virginity in Judaism, exposing its function as a determining factor of women’s identity, personal and social status, and as an essential religious category in medieval Jewish discourse.
Visiting Scholar of Women’s Studies and Islam
Ferial Khalifa is an independent scholar and researcher. Her project, “Muslim Women’s Piety and Agency: The Case of the Women’s Piety Movement in the West Bank, Palestine” explores an Islamic Women’s Piety Movement in which women undertake various Islamic pedagogic activities. It considers alternative framing of such activism as an outcome of Islamist politics and subordination to patriarchal norms by framing it, instead, as a social field, a new social movement, and an important means of gender empowerment.
Laura R. Prieto
Visiting Professor of Women’s Studies and American Religious History
Laura R. Prieto is professor of history and of women’s and gender studies at Simmons College in Boston. Her project, “Bibles and Butterfly Sleeves: Women and Protestant Missions in the Philippines” analyzes how American women and Filipinas negotiated the tensions and ties between evangelism and imperialism in the context of diverse religious faiths and gender ideologies. Its focus is U.S. Protestant missions in the Philippines from 1898 to World War II.
Visiting Lecturer on Women's Studies and Islam
Aslı Zengin is currently a post-doctoral fellow in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Program at Brandeis University. Her project, “Sovereigns of Sex: The State, Islam, Family, and Transgender Embodiment in Contemporary Turkey” explores the relationship between death, sovereignty, and gendered belonging by focusing on Sunni Muslim transgender people’s deaths, their funeral ceremonies, and burial and mourning practices in Turkey. Specifically, it examines how transgender deaths mark the gendered and sexual limits of belonging in regimes of Islam, family, kinship, and citizenship, and in practices of mourning and grief.