Graduate Students

Sonia-CrasnowSONIA CRASNOW, PhD Candidate in Religious Studies

Bio/Research Interests: My research is situated at the intersection of Religious Studies and Queer Studies, and focuses specifically on LGBTQ Jews. I utilize an ethnographic methodology to investigate issues of gender, sexuality, religion and spirituality especially as expressed in the “lived religion” of LGBTQ Jews. I am currently a PhD candidate and received a B.A. (2006) in English Language Literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz and an M.Ed. (2008) in Education Studies from the University of California, San Diego.

Recent Publications/Presentations:
“Talking About Transition: Perspectives on Trans Jews at the Mikveh,” American Academy of Religion; November, 2015
“Critiquing Co-optation and Seeking Liberation: Queer/Trans People in Hollywood,” Eleanor Roosevelt College Gay Day – University of California, San Diego; May 2015
“Modern Mikveh: Making Space for Queer Jewish Liturgy and Ritual” Association for the Sociology of Religion, August 2014
“Blessings and Curses: negotiating identity in the forging of queer Jewishness and Jewish queerness” Association for Jewish Studies Conference, December 2013.
Book Review of Jean La Fontaine’s edited work, The Devil’s Children, published in Nova Religio, Vo. 15, No. 1 (August 2011) pp. 132-133.
“The Western Wall: A Microcosm of Israel” WECSOR / American Academy of Religion, Western Regional Conference, March 2011.

Recent Honors/Awards:
Mellon Advancing Intercultural Studies Award (2015)
UCR Department of Religious Studies Professional Support Grant (2015)
UCR Department of Religious Studies Professional Support Grant (2014)
Humanities Graduate Student Research Grant – UCR Center for Ideas and Society (2014)
UCR Graduate Research Mentorship Fellowship (2013)
UCR Graduate Student Summer Research Award (2013)
UCR Graduate Student Summer Fellowship in Jewish Studies (2010)

Contact: sonia.crasnow@email.ucr.edu
Danielle DempseyDANIELLE DEMPSEY, PhD Student in Religious Studies

Bio/Research Interests: My research interests focus primarily on the intersection of religion and queer theory/gender and sexuality studies. I received a BA in Religious Studies and Spanish Language from UCR in 2011, and an MA in Theological Studies from Loyola Marymount University in 2014. I have a background in Queer theology within a Christian context, specifically with regard to Roman Catholic moral theology and sexual ethics. I am also interested in Queer-friendly hermeneutics and the lived religions of queer people in the United States.

Contact: ddemp001@ucr.edu
Patrick-EmmettPATRICK EMMETT, PhD Candidate in Religious Studies

Bio/Research Interests: My dissertation is tentatively titled The Twelve Steps: A Discursive Ethic of Liberation. My interests are in religious ethics, politics, and social justice issues. I have an underlying interest in the role that religion plays in the legitimation of economic and other power structures. I currently serve as a lecturer at California State University, Bakersfield. My undergraduate alma mater is Indiana University (go Hoosiers!) and I earned my MA in Religious Studies from California State University Long Beach. (go 49′ers!)

Contact: pemme001@ucr.edu
JOSHUA EARLS, PhD Student in Religious Studies
Hashanah El-YacoubiHASSANAH EL-YACOUBI, PhD Student in Religious Studies

Bio/Research Interests: My research plan involves studying the evolution of the role of women in Islamic societies throughout history, with an emphasis on postcolonial era. More specifically, I am interested in the body politics of Muslim women and how it plays into civilizations and modern societies. I earned my bachelor’s degree in Political & Persuasive Communication and Middle Eastern Studies from George Mason University, Virginia.

Contact: hassanah.elyacoubi@email.ucr.edu
Jeremy-GuidaJEREMY GUIDA, PhD Candidate in Religious Studies

Bio/Research Interests: My interest in religion is rooted in my evangelical, pentecostal upbringing. Although I’m no longer evangelical or pentecostal, this upbringing contributed to my interest in the academic study of religion during my undergraduate career. I have since earned a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Redlands in Religious Studies with an emphasis in English and an M.T.S. degree from Harvard Divinity School. Most recently I have become interested in the interdisciplinary field of religion and film. My research is on spirituality in ’70s counter-culture and cult cinema.

Contact: jguid002@ucr.edu
Christopher HayesCHRISTOPHER HAYES, PhD Student in Religious Studies

Contact: chaye001@ucr.edu
Cori-KnightCORINNE KNIGHT, PhD Candidate in Religious Studies

Bio/Research Interests: I received a BA from California State University, Fullerton, with a double major in English and Religious Studies. I also received a MA in English from CSU Fullerton. My research interests include the intersection of religion and popular culture, religion and literature, and, as a side interest, US Supreme Court cases. I hold membership in the American Academy of Religion and the Popular Culture Association and have presented with both groups, as well as with the Comic Arts Conference and at other conferences related to religious studies, English and literature, and creative writing.

Recent Presentations:
“Seeking Balance: Gender, Doctrine, & Culture in the Faith and Fiction of Baldwin and Atwood” WECSOR / American Academy of Religion, Western Regional Meeting. Tempe, AZ, March 7-9, 2014 (accepted).
“Created Entities, Created Stories: The History and Reality of ‘Girl Genius’s’ Jägermonsters” 20th Annual Comic Arts Conference/Comic-Con. San Diego, CA. July 12-15, 2012.

Contact: corinne.knight@email.ucr.edu
Shou-KuoSHOU-JEN KUO, PhD Candidate in Religious Studies

Bio/Research Interest: My research area encompasses immigrant religions in Los Angeles, Chinese religion/Buddhism, and American religious spatiality. The Los Angeles region provides an excellent ethnographic field for me to study the religio-cultural practices of distinctive Asian religions in the context of American multiculturalism. I am particularly interested in the spatial embodiment and ritual performance of Chinese religiosity within the immigrant communities in the United States. My secondary research interest focuses on the methodological development in current Chinese religious studies scholarship, especially in its subarea of Buddhist studies.

M.A. Sociology, California State University, Los Angeles
M.A. City and Regional Planning (MCRP): Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey
B.A. Political Science, major in Public Administration: Tunghai University – Taichung, Taiwan

Contact: skuo002@ucr.edu
Katie PhillipsKATHRYN PHILLIPS, PhD Student in Religious Studies

Bio/Research Interests: I focus on the early Christian church; my interests are the roles of women in early Christianity as well as the interactions between Christianity and the Roman Empire, including martyrdom and persecution. I have a BA from UC Riverside in history with a focus in ancient and medieval history.

Contact: kfiel002@ucr.edu
Jessica-RehmanJESSICA LEE REHMAN, PhD Candidate in Religious Studies

Bio/Research Interests: I earned a Master’s degree in Religious Studies with an emphasis in Islamic Studies at Cal State Long Beach. My Master’s thesis synthesized a theoretical model that frames rape as religious terrorism and genocide, with a demonstrative case study of the 1971 war between East and West Pakistan. Currently, as a Ph.D. Student, my research areas include Islam and gender in South Asia, religious violence, rape, genocide, transnationalism, and globalization. I have presented at multiple conferences providing research on Yemeni women’s activism and Islamism, comparative female imagery in Muslim and Jewish texts, female freedom fighters in Bangladesh, and transnational Islamic charitable societies. My current ethnographic research project explores conceptions of masculine identities in South Asian Diasporas, with a specific focus on cultural memory and intergenerational difference.

Contact: jrehm001@ucr.edu
Justin-RoseJUSTIN ROSE, PhD Candidate in Religious Studies

Education: B.A. Theology and Classics: St. Anselm College- Manchester, NHM.A. Classical Languages: Tufts University- Medford, MAM. Div.: Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology- Brookline, MAD. Min. Fuller Theological Seminary-Pasadena, CAMy research interests include Byzantine and Eastern Christianity, Comparative Religion and Scripture, Religion and Culture, Materiality, and Social Justice. I have spoken nationally on Post Modern Culture and Religion, Social Justice, and Church History. I am a Melkite Greek Catholic priest.

Contact: jrose006@ucr.edu
Cristina-RosettiCRISTINA ROSETTI, PhD Student in Religious Studies

Bio/Research Interests: My research focuses on American religious history and contemporary religion in the United States. Specifically, I am interested in Mormon studies and metaphysical religious traditions. I received a B.A. in Liberal Studies, with a minor in Christian Studies, from the California State University, Fullerton.

Contact: crose005@ucr.edu
Sean-SaganSEAN SAGAN, PhD Candidate in Religious Studies

Bio/Research Interests: I am a fourth year doctoral candidate and have just begun research for my dissertation. My studies focus on the generation, distribution and use of religious tracts and new media by evangelical groups and new religious movements. I also have a wide array of supporting interests which include religious themes in television drama, the place of popular secularism in religious discourse and the intersections between politics and religion. I hold a BA in Political Science from California State University, Long Beach and a MA in Religious Studies from University of California, Riverside.

Recent Presentations:
“Morality, Privilege and Audience Participation in Breaking Bad” Southwest-Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Conference, Albuquerque, NM. February 22, 2014. (accepted).
”Encountering Popular Secularism in Religious Studies Classrooms: Identifying Problems and Solutions.” WECSOR/American Academy of Religion, Western Regional Meeting. Tempe, AZ, March 9-11, 2013.
”In the Gutter: Dirt, Purity and Ritual in Jack Chick Gospel Tracts.” 20th Annual Comic Arts Conference/Comic-Con. San Diego, CA. July 12-15, 2012.

Recent Awards/Fellowships:
CHASS Continuing Fellowship, 2012 – 2013

Contact: ssaga001@ucr.edu
Nathan-WomackNATHAN WOMACK, PhD Student in Religious Studies

Bio/Research Interests: My research interests are in contemporary Christianity focusing on Evangelical and Charismatic movements in the United States. I earned my Masters of Biblical Studies at The King’s University and earned my Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a minor in Religious Studies from UC Riverside. I have also taught courses in biblical hermeneutics, exegesis, and major world religions.

Contact: nwoma001@ucr.edu