DSR Celebrates: Promotions, Appointments and Acknowledgements

October 30, 2020 by Department for the Study of Religion Staff
Hidden Lands in Himalayan Myth and History


Congratulations to DSR faculty Frances Garrett, and DSR graduate students Annie Heckman, and Barbara Hazelton on the publication of Hidden Lands in Himalayan Myth and History: Transformations of sbas yul through Time in Brill's Tibetan Studies Library. Frances is the co-editor with Elizabeth McDougal and Geoffrey Samuel. 

From the book: In an era of environmental crisis, narratives of ‘hidden lands’ are resonant. Understood as sanctuaries in times of calamity, Himalayan hidden lands orsbas yul have shaped the lives of many peoples of the region. Sbas yul are described by visionary lamas called ‘treasure finders’ who located hidden lands and wrote guidebooks to them. Scholarly understandings of sbas yul as places for spiritual cultivation and refuge from war have been complicated recently. Research now explores such themes as the political and economic role of ‘treasure finders’, the impact of sbas yul on indigenous populations, and the use of sbas yul for environmental protection and tourism. This book showcases recent scholarship on sbas yul from historical and contemporary perspectives.

For more information on the book, please go here.


Pandemic, Ecology and Theology: Perspectives on COVID-19


Congratulations to DSR assistant professor, Alexander Hampton on the publication of his edited book, Pandemic, Ecology and Theology: Perspectives on COVID-19. The collection of essays, written by scholars of religion, science and philosophy, explores the possibilities of transformation in the wake of the pandemic, and more broadly, the relationship between religion and the natural world.


Amira Mittermaier
Congratulations to Amira Mittermaier who was promoted to Full Professor in July, 2020.

reading muslims


This past summer, Anver Emon, Director of the Islamic Studies Institute and DSR alumni, Youcef Soufi, were awarded a Connaught Global Challenge Fund grant for their project Reading Muslims, a multi- and interdisciplinary conversation among leading local and international scholars on the place of textuality in Islamic studies. Reading Muslims begins from the premise that a consideration of texts and textual methods are indispensable to the study of Islam.



Shah Mosque
DSR colleagues are continuing their Connaught Foundation success. Simon Coleman’s Entangled Worlds project asks the question how and why do attachments to soil matter? How do we engage anew with the sacralization of old and new forms of sovereignty? This initiative is an interdisciplinary engagement with the changing nature of theopolitical charisma and the formation of populist forces in multiple urban, historical emplacements. We cross boundaries between the Natural, Social and Human Sciences in attempting to grasp the significance of theological practices to political and social forms of living.

DSR Alum Matthew King has won the Central Eurasian Studies Society Book Award for his book, Ocean of Milk, Ocean of Blood: A Mongolian Monk in the Ruins of the Qing Empire. (Columbia University Press, 2019). To learn more, read this interview with Matt conducted by another DSR alum Daigengna Duoer (now a doctoral student in Religion at UCSB).

Congratulations to our graduate and undergraduate students who graduated on November 21, 2020! 
PhD Graduates:
  • Sara Ahmed Abdel-Latif, “Gendering Asceticism in Medieval Sufism” (Supervisor: Walid Saleh, Committee Members: Jeannie Miller, Ash Geissinger)
  • Elizabeth Klaiber-Noble, “Book-Burning and the Banning of Books and Authors in England, 1526–1558: A Sixteenth-Century Fire-Library” (Co-Supervisors: David Galbraith and Pamela Klassen, Committee Member: Nick Terpstra)
  • Rony Kozman, “Adam's Wisdom and Israel's Law: Natural Law in Early Judaism” (Supervisor: Judith Newman, Committee Members: David Novak, John Kloppenborg)
MA Graduates:  
  • Molly Mignault, “Not in Our Lifetime - A Case Study of Sacred Nature in South Asia: The Bagmati River and Mt. Khangchendzonga” (Co-Supervisors: Frances Garrett and Stephen Scharper)
  • Mark Mueller, “Religious Motivations for the Diocletianic Persecution” (Supervisor: John Kloppenborg)
  • Yitong Tong, “The Doctrine of Consciousness Process (Citta-vīthi) in the Pāli Commentarial Literature” (Supervisor: Christoph Emmrich)
  • Joel West, “The Fractured Jew: A Study in the Constructions of Jewishness in Popular Culture” (Supervisor: Ken Green)
Alanna Dussiaume
Sofia Ali
Ruth Alves
Aminah Abd-Al-Rashid
Unaiza Punjwani
Daniel Balay
Joseph Baduria
Anushree Kariwal
Danya Naqvi
Talia Preziuso
Jeffrey Yagar