MemberMichelle Margolis Chesner

Michelle is the Norman E. Alexander for Jewish Studies at Columbia University, as well as the Vice President/President Elect for the Association of Jewish Libraries.  She is a co-director for Footprints: Jewish Books Through Time and Place (, and edits a column in Judaica Librarianship on Digital Humanities and Jewish Studies.

MemberDaniel P. Diffendale

Mediterranean, sometime Classical, archaeologist. Currently I am researching the relationship between the ancient Romans, their volcanic landscape, and their built environment as director of the “Quarry provenience and Archaeological Dating of the Roman-Area Tuffs in Antiquity” (QUADRATA) Project. I also continue to study cult places in the context of local and regional political developments, with a particular interest in the 1st millennium BCE central Mediterranean, and am working on the architectural and ritual development of the sanctuary of Fortuna and Mater Matuta in Rome’s Forum Boarium during the Middle Republic, based on my recently completed dissertation titled “The Roman Middle Republic at Sant’Omobono.”

MemberKent Navalesi

I am a PhD candidate in History at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I specialize in Late Antiquity with particular research interests in the religious uses of literacy in the early barbarian kingdoms. My dissertation, tentatively titled “Venantius Fortunatus and the Literary Promotion of Saints’ Cults inSixth-Century Gaul,” examines the prose hagiography of Fortunatus and the ways they engage contemporary discourses on salvation and pastoral care. I am also hoping to publish the first English translation of the heretofore untranslated Fortunatan prose lives. CV here.

MemberJulia Mattes

Hello and good day, My name is Dr. Julia Mattes M.A. I am a researcher in prehistoric archaeology (and occasionally in art history). Due to a broad education and a liking for ‘thinking outside the box’ I enjoy to work in different fields of academia and have a wide-ranging expertise. I am a member of the Department of Archaeology and Ancient History, Uppsala University as well as an independent scholar and holder of a number of grants. So far I mainly worked with European prehistoric cult and religion, ancient diseases, climate change, ancient art and art history.

MemberJacinta Yanders

Jacinta Yanders is a PhD Candidate in the Department of English who primarily researches representations of race, gender, and sexuality in media as well as contemporary media trends. She is currently working on her dissertation, which examines the narrative impact and audience reception of television reimaginings in which a character’s race, gender, and/or sexuality was changed from the original text. Jacinta has presented her research at conferences, such as the Popular Culture Association and American Culture Association National Conference and the Society for Cinema and Media Studies Annual Conference. Topics for these presentations include, but are not limited to, racial diversity on television, the effects of binge watching, the varied media representations of Snow White, and feminized cult TV. With an undergraduate degree in English Education, Jacinta previously taught English/language arts at the middle and high school levels. At the college level, Jacinta has taught various classes as the instructor of record which cover subjects such as composition, film studies, television studies, and digital media.

MemberAbigail G. Robertson

I am a PhD candidate in Medieval Studies and a Bilinski Fellow in the English department at the University of New Mexico. My dissertation investigates the life of the legendary St. Swithun of Winchester who served as bishop in life and source for miracles in death. Synthesizing the disciplines of art history, history, architecture, and literature to illustrate the emergence of the cult that surfaced after Swithun’s death, my research details how the remains of the saint influenced the architecture of the cathedral into which his body was ultimately relocated, the religious writing that inspired pilgrims to visit his shrine, and the art objects that sought to represent his holiness in a way that would symbolize with gems and gold the power of his remains. I am also interested in paleography and codicology and how the digital humanities can aid in the enrichment of editing and cataloguing practices for the purpose of editions.

MemberJenn Powers

I’m a writer and visual artist from New England. I’m applying to PhD programs for Fall 2021. I earned degrees from UConn and WCSU. I have work published or forthcoming in over 70 literary journals, including Prime NumberGemini, Witness, Lunch Ticket, CutBank, among others. My work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Best Small Fictions, and Best of the Net. I’m currently working on a mystery thriller and a poetry chapbook.

MemberTorsten Christian Kathke

My current research project analyzes popular non-fiction books diagnosing the state of society in the United States and Germany from 1968 through 1989. I contextualize them as cultural and economic products of their era. My project is located at the juncture of the history of ideas and an analysis of the cultural and economic contexts that translated these ideas to a mass audience.   The two decades following the societal upheavals of the 1960s led to feelings of rootlessness and uncertainty about the future for many in the middle classes, both in Germany and the United States. Newly emergent as well as newly perceived threats to home, hearth, and country filled the headlines and the abundant newscasts. A generation that had grown up believing in constant progress was taken aback by the change of direction. Elites who had so far been personally unaffected by the abundance of problems in their respective societies began to take notice.   In this climate, a streamlined and consolidated publishing industry sold this multitude of crises to concerned consumers in the form of popular books that translated academic debates about the ills of the world into sensationalist, reductive – and sometimes wildly speculative – but convincing jeremiads that left little room for hope if people, societies, or even the world did not change its ways.    Both in Germany and the United States, concerns over environmental issues found fertile ground. American publishers especially also sold tracts on the psychological problems and erosion of family values that postindustrial society seemingly brought with it. Books like Alvin Toffler’s Future Shock (1970), Christopher Lasch’s Haven in a Heartless World (1977), or the Club of Rome’s study on The Limits to Growth (1972) were both contributions to debates in the public sphere, as well as their originators; they were located at the intersection of academic debate and public outrage, and thus helped set the tone for an era that has been appropriately termed “The Age of Fracture”.