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MemberJeremy Cohen

Jeremy Cohen’s ethnographic research focuses on communities and new religious movements seeking radical-longevity and immortality, as well as the historical and cultural framework of changing North American relationships to technology and death. Jeremy Cohen is currently ABD in the department of Religious Studies at McMaster University. He has presented his research at the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) and the Society for the Anthropology of Religion (SAR), and has given numerous guest lectures on transhumanism, immortality and the ethics of radical-longevity. His research is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). B.A in Jewish Studies. M.A in Religious Studies, exploring digital mourning practices. 

MemberJonas Richter

My PhD thesis (2017) analyzes Erich von Däniken’s ancient astronaut mythology (ancient aliens). I work as part of the team creating a new Middle High German dictionary. My interests include the history of games (mostly late medieval/ early modern games), and dice (in particular uncommon dice). The study of Däniken’s para-scientific alternative archaeology and its inherent mythology also brought me into anomalistics. Combined with my background in the study of religions my interest is particularly piqued by the diverse cultures surrounding UFO phenomena, ranging from rigorous research to full-blown new religious movements.

MemberSuzanne Newcombe

I joined the Open University as a Lecturer in late 2016 and have helped with the production of A227: Exploring Religion, chaired A332: Why is Religion Controversial? and am writing course materials for A111: Discovering the Arts and Humanities. I also have extensive experience in Sociology of Religion specializing in new and minority religious movements in contemporary Britain. I have a specialty in movements originating in, or inspired by South Asian religious beliefs and the overlaps between religious beliefs and health care practices. I also have a long-term interest in millenarianism and apocalyptic groups and conducted in-depth research at Inform concerning millennial expectations of 2012.

MemberGil Ben-Herut

Dr. Gil Ben-Herut is an Associate Professor in the Religious Studies Department, University of South Florida. His research interests include pre-modern religious literature in the Kannada language, South Asian bhakti (devotional) traditions, translation in South Asia, and programming for Digital Humanities. Ben-Herut’s book Śiva’s Saints: The Origins of Devotion in Kannada according to Harihara’s Ragaḷegaḷu (Oxford University Press) is the first study in English of the earliest Śaiva hagiographies in the Kannada-speaking region, and it argues for a reconsideration of the nature and development of devotionalism associated today with the Vīraśaivas. The book received the Best First Book Award for 2019 from the Southeastern Medieval Association (SEMA) and the 2020 Best Book Award from the Southeastern Conference of the Association for Asian Studies (SEC/AAS). Ben-Herut is currently co-translating selections from this hagiographical collection for a separate publication. This project is funded by the American Academy of Religion’s Collaborative International Research Grant. His extensive publications include a co-translation of a twelfth-century Kannada treatise about poetics, encyclopedic entries, a co-edited volume, book chapters, and peer-reviewed articles in the journals Religions of South Asia, International Journal of Hindu Studies, and Journal of Hindu Studies. Ben-Herut is the co-founder of the Regional Bhakti Scholars Network (RBSN), a platform for facilitating scholarly conversations about South-Asian devotional traditions, with annual events at national conferences, dedicated publications and special issues, as well as ongoing collaborations. Utilizing his copious experience in computer programming, Dr. Ben-Herut is leading several Digital Humanities projects, including ROSES (Rapid Online Search Engine for Scanned materials) and BHAVA (BHAkti Virtual Archive). The latter is funded by the American Library Association’s Carnegie Whitney Grant.

MemberJason Bruner

I am a scholar of religious history with a particular interest in the intersected histories of Christian missions, European imperialism, and the growth of Christianities in Sub-Saharan Africa in the 19th and 20th centuries. I am intrigued by the religious and cultural exchanges between European missionaries and those who converted, with a focus upon the agency of African peoples. My first book, Living Salvation in the East African Revival in Uganda, which is forthcoming with the University of Rochester Press, is a history of the East African (Balokole) Revival in Uganda from the early 1930s to the early 1960s. While the revival was a conversionary movement that proclaimed a Christian message of salvation, this project examines the ways in which salvation was not simply a personal, eternal aspiration for the Balokole, but rather a comprehensive way of life. This book will illuminate the many ways in which the revival created a new lifestyle for those who converted through its message, which had profound impacts upon revivalists’ understanding of themselves and how they ought to relate to their families, communities, societies, and nations.

MemberColin Snider

I am Assistant Professor of Latin American History at the University of Texas-Tyler, with a Ph.D. in Latin American History from the University of New Mexico. My work specializes in social movements, military regimes, state-society relations, and human rights & memory in Latin America, with a specific focus on Brazil. I have published articles on education and student activism in the 2013 Brazilian protests, on university autonomy and social mobilization in Brazil, and on defining transitional politics in the 21st century. I have contributed book chapters on  educational demands and student movements in Brazil’s long 1960s appears in the edited volume The Third World in the Global 1960s (Berghahn Books, 2013) and on the dynamics between student activism, religious movements, and political transformation in 20th century Brazil in the edited volume Local Church, Global Church: Catholic Activism in Latin America from Rerum Novarum to Vatican II (Catholic University Press, 2016). I am currently at work on a manuscript that uses the Brazilian university system to examine the ways in which the middle class played an increasingly central role in defining the political and social struggles of Brazil in the twentieth century. I teach undergraduate and graduate courses on Latin American History, Inter-American Relations, and Native American History. Additionally, he is currently the book review editor for the quarterly scholarly journal The Latin Americanist.

MemberTimothy Luckritz Marquis

Pedagogy, communication, mobility I work in faculty development and instructional design with an emphasis on online and hybrid teaching and learning and intercultural engagement. I also teach Religious Studies, Christian origins, and ancient history. My research and writing explore ancient and modern itinerancy, ancient ethnicity and modern race, gender studies, and biopolitics.

MemberVeronica Berry

I moved to Ottawa from Aylmer, Ontario four years ago to pursue a History B.A. Honours at Carleton University. My areas of interest are quite wide-ranging as my previous courses include discussions on the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the Vikings’ arrival in Britain, France after 1871 and a thorough history of Russia. I prefer to engage with various areas, periods and approaches to history because this helps to broaden my view on the world. I found it fascinating to take two courses on late nineteenth/early twentieth century Ireland at the same time as I learned about similar events from a male-centred narrative alongside a neglected, less traditional female viewpoint. I centred my fourth year on two seminars entitled American Madness and Digitizing Medieval Manuscripts. Though these classes sound incredibly different from each other their relationship to the present (along with my interest) links them together. Given mental illness’ awareness in our society I want to investigate exactly how people treated and understood mental illness in the past. The course’s specific focus in America feels suitable, as U.S. history—from the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement—has been a reoccurring subject throughout my undergraduate degree. Digitizing Medieval Manuscripts stood out due to the rising growth in digital history and my own personal aspirations for a graduate degree in Library Sciences. Through this course I hope to explore a new technological world and develop important skills to carry on after graduation. Additionally, my interest in the medieval significantly increased during my year in the United Kingdom where I investigated popular accounts of ‘ghost stories’ and religious vs. societal ideas around sanctity. Finally, as an avid reader I love uncovering the ‘story’ within historical documents, events and people. I hope to one-day work in an environment (whether that is a library, a museum or an archive) in which I can surround myself daily with documents and artefacts that make history come alive.