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Current Visiting Scholars
The CSWR has appointed five visiting scholars for the 2012-13 academic year:
Spring 2013: Bronwen Catherine McShea is a part-time faculty affiliate of the School of Theology and Ministry at Boston College and will be joining Columbia University's Department of History this summer as a 2013-15 ACLS New Faculty Fellow and Lecturer, with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. She received her PhD in History at Yale University, focusing on Christianity and culture in early modern Europe and the Atlantic World. She also holds an MTS in the history of Christianity from Harvard Divinity School and a BA in history from Harvard College. In 2011-12, she was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow of the Leibniz Institute of European History in Mainz, Germany. At the CSWR, she is working on her first book manuscript, under the working title "Apostles of Empire: The Jesuits of New France," which explores the complex entanglements of Catholic missionary activity and French imperialism in North America in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The book project is based on her doctoral dissertation, which received Yale's Hans Gatzke Prize in European History in 2011. Additionally, she is editing a volume on Jesuit missionary strategies and perspectives across the early modern globe for a new Brill series on Jesuit studies, and developing a second book project on the role of elite laywomen in Old Regime France in promoting both Catholic missions and French imperial ventures in the Americas and parts of Asia and Africa.
Fall 2012: Francisco Javier Fernandez Vallina, Professor in the Department of Hebrew and Aramaic Studies, University of Madrid, Spain. Fernandez Vallina holds a doctoral degree in Semitic philology from the University of Madrid, where he has been a member of the Department of Hebrew and Aramaic Studies since 1975. He is the editor of the Edición Facsímil de la Biblia Poliglota Complutensis, a revised edition of the fifteenth-century Biblia Poliglota Complutense, the first polyglot edition of a complete Bible, and is also the author of books and articles on topics including biblical studies, modern Jewish thought, and the history of religions. He was instrumental in the development and accreditation of master's and doctoral programs in religious studies at the University of Madrid, and has been actively involved in public service around issues of education and culture both at the national level in his home country of Spain and at the local level in his home province of Asturias. During his time at HDS, Fernandez Vallina will be researching issues of Christianity and modernity and how they affect and are informed by the relationship between religion and society in the realms of the political, the scientific, the cultural, the spiritual, and so on.
Fall 2012: Dennis Hirota, Professor, Department of Shin Buddhist Studies, Ryūkoku University, Kyoto, Japan. Hirota was born and raised in the United States but has resided in Japan since 1971. The larger part of his career has been devoted to work on a project to translate the writings of Shinran, the medieval Japanese Pure Land Buddhist thinker who planted the seeds for the Shin Buddhist tradition. That project was completed in 1997, with the publication of The Collected Works of Shinran, published in Kyoto by the Nishi Honganji. Hirota first visited Harvard Divinity School in the spring of 1984 when a conference entitled "Symposium on Shin Buddhism and Christianity: Textual and Contextual Translation" was held, treating a number of issues in the Shinran translation project. He was Senior Fellow at the Center for the Study of World Religions during 1992-93, and was the Numata Visiting Professor of Buddhist Studies here in spring 1999 and spring 2008. He is currently working on a study of Shinran's thought in the light of Heidegger.
Fall 2012: Marcell Sass, Professor of Practical Theology and Religious Education, University of Münster, Germany. Sass was born in 1971, studied Protestant theology in Bethel, Hamburg, and Münster, and became an ordained Lutheran minister in 2003. After earning his doctorate in theology, he taught at the University of Münster in the Faculty of Protestant Theology, Institute for Practical Theology and Religious Education. Sass has served as interim chair for religious education in this department since 2006. He completed his postdoctoral thesis and received his venia legendi ("permission to lecture") in practical theology with a book about starting multireligious school assemblies. Starting in March 2013 he will become a full professor of practical theology at the Philipp University of Marburg. His research interests are religious pluralism, religious and Christian education, media and religion, religion at public schools, and comparative theology.
Fall 2012: Ulrich Winkler, Associate Professor, Department of Systematic Theology and deputy director of the Center for Intercultural Theology and the Study of Religion, University of Salzburg, Austria. Winkler is a founding member of the Center for Intercultural Theology and Study of Religions and board member of the European Society for Intercultural Theology and Interreligious Studies (ESITIS) and the Institute for Interreligious and Intercultural Encounter (OCCURSO). He is the author of numerous books and articles, including What Is Comparative Theology? and Interreligious Hermeneutics in Pluralistic Europe: Between Texts and People. His research fields include theology of religions, intercultural and contextual theology, eschatology, and theology of creation.
Distinguished Visiting Scholar: Donald K. Swearer, Professor Emeritus of Religion, Swarthmore College, and former director of the CSWR.