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Grants for Harvard Students
CSWR junior fellowship applicants are prospective CSWR residents interesting in making a distinguished contribution to the mission of the Center, its community, and interreligious and intellectual projects. Fellowships include a 25 percent reduction in rent and will be offered to a maximum of four incoming residents studying at the master's or doctoral level. The junior fellowship is only open to those applying for residence at the CSWR.
While all CSWR residents are full members of the CSWR community and participate fully in its life and activities, successful applicants for junior fellow status will propose a plan for exceptional service to the Center and its community, or assistance in its outreach to the wider community of HDS, the Committee on the Study of Religion, and the University. For example, a fellow might propose to arrange a thematic series on a topic of interreligious importance; show a series of films with evident interreligious and cross-cultural pertinence; convene an interreligious reading group to meet regularly during the year; or help plan a series of academic conversations and lectures. Many other ideas are possible. Applicants may wish to consult in advance with the residential coordinator, and if needed thereafter with the director, in preparing the proposal, since the CSWR is interested in helping applicants think through the goals and details of proposals.
Proposals should be appropriate to the Center's Mission Statement as well as the applicant's academic interests and relevant experience. Successful proposals will include a reasonable amount of detail, such as estimates of time involved, probable expenses (if any), and whether they will entail collaboration with other students, faculty, or others in the University and wider community. Proposals should not exceed two single-spaced pages in length and should include the applicant's basic contact information (name, address, phone, and email) as well as the name of an HDS or Committee on the Study of Religion faculty member willing to recommend the applicant and project.
This proposal/application is to be appended to the regular application for residence at the Center and submitted by the normal residential application deadline, April 15. Please note that receiving a fellowship is contingent on being awarded residence, but one may be accepted as a resident even if not receiving the fellowship. Students not seeking residence at the Center are not eligible to apply.
Current Junior Fellows
The 2012-13 CSWR junior fellows are:
Leslie Hubbard, MTS candidate with a focus on Buddhist studies. Her academic interests center around medieval Chan Buddhism and specifically the role that art and bodily practices played in the assimilation of Buddhism into Chinese culture during the onset of Buddhism in China. Her junior fellow project is titled "Beyond Words: Intersections of Meditation, Visual Art, and Sacred Music and Dance across Religious and Cultural Boundaries." Some of the guiding questions for this series include: What impact do meditation and art have on the religious experience among the various world religions? What universal human needs do art and meditation fulfill in religious traditions? How can art and meditation function as a place of refuge for interreligious dialogue? This series consists of two components: first, a monthly meditation and art engagement series in which presenters will offer a short lecture followed by an active participation in the experience of meditation and/or art, concluding with time for discussion and questions, and second, a series of panel presentations and discussions by Harvard faculty members on the subject, with the intention of discovering intersections of practice and theory among the world's varying religious traditions. Leslie looks forward to engaging the community through this series in a creative play of experiential understanding and scholarly insight.
Axel Takács, ThD candidate studying comparative theology, with a focus on medieval Christian and Islamic mysticism and theology. His junior fellow project consists of a series of public lectures on or related to comparative theology. These lectures will be given both by scholars within the field of comparative theology and by scholars of a particular religious tradition whose work is in some way "theological," either explicitly or implicitly. In addition, he plans to hold several smaller, private roundtable discussions on comparative theology with HDS students .
Konchok Tsering, visiting PhD student from the College for Tibetan Studies at Minzu University in Beijing, China. Born and raised in northeastern Tibet, she is currently conducting research on the history of Bonpo and Buddhist religious traditions at Harvard Divinity School. Her junior fellow series taps experts from Harvard and area schools to explore religious traditions including Bon, Jainism, Zoroastrianism, and Shinto. Over the course of the year this series will explore what discourages scholars from paying closer attention a given minority tradition, what can be gained from dialogue between scholars of such traditions and those studying more popular faiths, and how an understanding of these traditions enhances the study of other, better known traditions with which they have historic interactions.
Past Junior Fellows
Junior fellows from previous years include:
Kate Yanina DeConinck, ThD candidate with a focus on religion and society. DeConinck's academic interests center around religious and cultural memory/memorialization, particularly as related to Ground Zero in New York City. Her junior fellowship project is titled "Aftermaths: Religion, Ritual, and Remembrance in a Multireligious World." Some of the guiding questions for this series include: What role do religious communities play in the aftermath of natural disasters or mass murder? How can rituals help individuals or groups overcome the devastation of such violence? And, what is at stake in how faith communities choose to remember (or forget) atrocities, in terms of both how they view themselves and how they view others? The programming consists of two components: first, a series of lunchtime discussions with faculty concerning their research on themes of ritual and remembrance; and second, a variety of events coordinated in conjunction with the newly formed Religion and Politics Colloquium. DeConinck looks forward to thinking creatively with students and faculty about the often-understudied intersections between memory studies and religious studies.
Chan Sok Park, ThD candidate in New Testament and early Christian studies. Park's research interests include the social and political ramifications of religious language, texts, and movements; individual and communal self-definition in antiquity; and Johannine Christianity. As a junior fellow at the CSWR, he is hosting a series of reading group meetings of doctoral students on the topic of the place of reading practice in the study of religion. The group has two particular interests: First, how do we understand our own reading practice of religious texts in its academic, study-of-religion form, institutionalized in a modern university setting? What is its relation to religious reading of and for contemporary religious communities? Is this distinction even appropriate, and why? Second, what are the contemporary methodological tools for the study of religious texts in interreligious and interdisciplinary contexts? What are their strengths and limits, and the implications for the group members' own textual study? Park looks forward to the Center's many opportunities to engage in interreligious conversations as well.
Axel Takács, ThD candidate with a focus on comparative theology between his home tradition of Roman Catholicism and Islam. More specifically, his focus is on Islamic mystical philosophy ('irfan and hikma) between the twelfth and sixteenth centuries, as well as the concurrent mystical Persian poetry that flourished alongside this tradition. Within the Roman Catholic tradition, his area of interest is the scholastic theology and mystical texts of roughly the same time period. As a junior fellow at the CSWR, Takács plans to bring comparative theology into dialogue with the broader CSWR and Harvard communities through a series of lectures given by various comparative theologians. The aim of these lectures is to explain to the study-of-religion community just how theology can be done interreligiously within the academic framework. He looks forward to engaging the community through his project and the many other events hosted by the CSWR.
Funlayo E. Wood, PhD candidate in African Studies with a concentration in religion. Wood's research centers on African indigenous religions, with a particular focus on the Yorùbá Ifá-Òrìsà tradition, which originates in Southwest Nigeria, and its variations and influences in the Americas. As a junior fellow at the CSWR, she is completing a project titled "African, Diasporic, and Indigenous Religions in Conversation," through which she seeks to increase the visibility of and engagement with indigenous religions at the Center and the University. To implement, she is organizing a series of discussions, film screenings, and a day-long symposium titled "Sacred Healing and Wholeness in Africa and the Americas," all of which will explore indigenous religious worldviews and practices with particular attention to how they positively articulate with today's world. Wood hopes to forge connections that will last far beyond her tenure as a fellow.