MemberDavid Skelton

David Skelton has a PhD in Religions of Western Antiquity from Florida State with an emphasis in the Second Temple period. His dissertation was on music and pedagogy in Ben Sira and the Dead Sea Scrolls. He is currently teaching courses on the survey of the Hebrew Bible and the Prophets. His research concerns the book of Ben Sira, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and Syriac Christianity. More specifically, he is interested in the use of prayer and music as a means of creating identity as well the pedagogical use of music in Early Jewish and Christian communities.  

MemberLauren Osborne

My interests revolve broadly around perception and experience of religious texts. My areas of specialization include Islamic Studies, the Qur’an and Qur’anic Studies, Islam and music, and Sensory Studies in the study of religion. My current project is a book on meaning and experience across the sound, text, and performance of the recited Qur’an called, Recite! Aesthetics and Experience of the Recited Qur’an. In this work, I take a combined hermeneutic and ethnographic approach in considering the recited Qur’an in a wide range of contexts, illuminating the theoretical possibilities for interrelationships and discontinuities between different realms of meaning. In my research and teaching more broadly, I am interested in interactions between discursive and non-discursive meanings of religious texts—the Qur’an most specifically—, as well as sense experience within Islamic Studies and Religious Studies. I am currently the co-chair of the Qur’an Unit in the American Academy of Religion.

MemberMatthew R. Hotham

Dr. Matthew R. Hotham [Hoe-Thumb] teaches Islam (RELS 275), The Qur‘an (RELS 208), introductory Religious Studies and Core Curriculum classes, as well as advanced seminars on Animals and Religion, Religion, Colonialism and Modernity, and Islamic Mysticism at Ball State University. His research and teaching focus on embodied, affective, and material approaches to the study of religion. His classes incorporate role-playing, case studies, music, scents, religious objects, and visits to the David Owsley Art Museum to encourage students to think about religions as lived and living traditions that invite a diversity of embodied human engagements and responses. His research has two theoretically related but historically distant prongs. First, his in-progress book manuscript, Introductory Matters: Maligned Manuscripts, Ascended Bodies, and Contested Definitions of Sufism, highlights the complexity and diversity of the Islamic tradition through the study of an important but under-researched medieval Persian text, Nizami Ganjavi’s Treasury of Mysteries. The second prong of his research examines Euro-American constructions of the Muslim as an “other” to be feared, focusing on how a diverse array of contemporary literatures, from television shows to internet memes, use animals and animal imagery to construct the Muslim body as different and dangerous. In both projects, his work focuses on the body and bodily comportment, examining how what a person eats, drinks, smells, sees, and touches is used to mark the boundaries of religious identity. Hotham’s research and teaching have taken him around the world, including summers in India, Iran, Malaysia, Morocco, Syria, and Turkey. He is the advisor to Religion Conversation Hour, a student-run organization that meets weekly to explore themes central to the study of religion and topics from a variety of religious traditions. He is also chair of the Midwest Region American Academy of Religion section on Literature and Sacred Texts in the Study of Religion.

MemberDr Louise McInnes

Musicologist-Researcher-Writer-Academic Skills Specialist-Educator Currently available for teaching, research, and freelance writing opportunities Previous Positions Honorary Research Fellow (Department of Music at the University of Sheffield) Associate Lecturer in Music (University of Huddersfield) Academic Skills Development Adviser and Undergraduate Research Development Specialist (University of Sheffield) Placement Officer for Arts and Humanities (University of Sheffield) Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Durham (short project) Teaching Experience I have over ten years teaching experience in both higher and secondary education. I have taught a varied selection of undergraduate and postgraduate music history, research, and music placement modules, in addition to teaching and designing academic skills workshops, and employability sessions. I have also recently developed an online module to support students in their transition to university level study, and developed workshops to support undergraduate researchers (including online support forums).  Research Experience My extensive research into the late medieval carol has provided me with the opportunity to engage with many aspects of historical research into this period of history: gender issues, politics and nationalism, religion, oral and written traditions, manuscript studies, medieval drama, and class structure, to name but a few. I am now developing these strands of my research beyond the carol repertoire, focusing particularly on gender, and politics and nationalism in the music of the Middle Ages.  Additional research work includes the short-term, postdoctoral, ‘Ushaw Music Project’. This project was funded by the University of Durham, and involved the investigation of the previously unexplored Ushaw College Library and Archives with the intention of locating, identifying and recording musical sources and archival material relating to the musical history of the college for future study and digitization. This was a successfully completed project in which a large number of musical sources were recorded; sources dating from the 12th century to the present day. My final report forms the basis of future funding applications for the University of Durham. Previous research also includes the local use of the Augustinian Canons, the women trouveres of Northern France, and aspects of researcher development.  Select Project Management in HE Managed and developed the University of Sheffield’s prestigious Sheffield Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) Managed large research budgets Designed the Sheffield Undergraduate Research Exchange Programme Written and submitted successful bids to host the British Conference of Undergraduate Research and  Posters in Parliment 2018 Managed the process of hosting the British Conference of Undergraduate Research Created and developed the University of Sheffield’s Undergraduate Research Hub For further employment history and skills information: University of Sheffield, Music Department profile: Current projects Book chapter: ‘Female-voice song in the Middle Ages’ Book chapter: ‘High or low? Medieval English carols as part of vernacular culture’ Professional Affiliations Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy Prizes, Awards and Funding Honorary Fellowship of the Music Department, University of Sheffield, March 2015 – March 2018 University of Durham, Postdoctoral Seedcorn funding ‘The Ushaw Music Collection’, June – August 2013 Musica Britannica ‘Louise Dyer’ Award, 2013 Vitae Yorkshire and North East ‘Communicating to the Public’ Award, 2010 Full PhD Fee Waiver, University of Huddersfield, 2010 Bursary for Masters Study, University of Huddersfield, 2007