Graduate Students

Sonia-CrasnowSJ 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:
“On Transition: Normative Judaism and Trans Innovation,” Journal of Contemporary Religion. (Forthcoming 2017)
“Off the Record: Israel/Palestine and Queer Jewish Politics, Values, and Activism,” American Academy of Religion, November 2016
“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, pp. 132-133, August 2011
“The Western Wall: A Microcosm of Israel” WECSOR / American Academy of Religion, Western Regional Conference, March 2011

Recent Honors/Awards:
Finalist – Judaic Studies Fellowship at Virginia Polytechnic Institute (2016)
Finalist – Sexualities Project Fellowship at Northwestern University (2016)
UCR Department of Religious Studies Publication Award (2016)
UCR Department of Religious Studies Professional Support Grant (2014-16)
Mellon Advancing Intercultural Studies Award – UCR Center for Ideas & Society (2015)
Harvard Divinity School Seminar on Religion and Sexuality (2014)
Humanities Graduate Student Research Grant – UCR Center for Ideas & Society (2014)
American Academy of Religion Mentoring Program for LGBTIQ Religious Studies Scholars (2013-14)
UCR Graduate Research Mentorship Program Fellowship (2013-14)
UCR Graduate Student Summer Research Award (2013)
Masa Scholarship for study at Hebrew University (2011)
UCR Graduate Student Summer Fellowship in Jewish Studies (2010)
Chancellor’s Distinguished Fellowship Award (2009-12)

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, especially within Christianity.  I received a BA in Religious Studies and Spanish Language from UCR in 2011.  I also have an MA in Theology from Loyola Marymount University, where I focused on Moral Theology and Sexual Ethics within Roman Catholicism.  I am currently studying the intellectual history of Christian thought on sex and sexuality, and the ways in which it affects contemporary teachings thereof within Christianity.  My focus is primarily on the Catholic Church’s teachings on Queer expression and sexuality.

Recent presentations/publications:
“Queer Expression and Human Dignity: A Framework for Reimagining Catholic Sexual Ethics in Light of Religious and Cultural Pluralism,” American Academy of Religion Western Regional Meeting, April, 2016
“Envisioning Queer Culture: Toward a Theological Framework for Reimagining Sexuality and Sexual Orientation,” Masters Thesis, Loyola Marymount University, 2014

JOSHUA EARLS, PhD Student in Religious Studies
Hashanah El-YacoubiHASSANAH EL-YACOUBI, PhD Student in Religious Studies

Bio/Research Interests: I am a second year PhD student in the Religious Studies program. My research focuses on the interplay between religion and gender studies. More specifically, women in Islam as it relates to body and identity politics within modern societies. I am also interested in the impact the global phenomenon of Islamic fashion has had in reshaping and refashioning the social and political landscape within contemporary American/Muslim identity discourses. I earned my bachelor’s degree in Political and Persuasive Communication and Middle Eastern Studies from George Mason University, Virginia.

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.

Christopher HayesCHRISTOPHER HAYES, PhD Student in Religious Studies

Cori-KnightCORINNE KNIGHT, PhD Candidate in Religious Studies

Bio/Research Interests: While my general focus is on American religious history, my research passion is in the intersection of religion and popular culture. My dissertation examines the concept of the American Monomyth and its evolution, using a webcomic as a case study in monomythic transition. I also work as teaching assistant for the University Writing Program here at UC Riverside and as an editor for the Center for Insurance Studies at CSU Fullerton.

I received an MA in Religious Studies from UC Riverside, an MA in English from CSU Fullerton, and a double-major BA in English and Religious Studies from CSU Fullerton.

In addition to my research and teaching, I am the manager for and play the bagpipes in the University of California Riverside Pipe Band.

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.

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

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.

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.

Steven-QuachSTEVEN QUACH, MA Religious Studies, Spring 2015

Bio/Research Interests: I am interested in research on Buddhist traditions and their interaction with secular ideologies or fields, like cognitive psychology and neuroscience. My Master’s comprehensive exams in Religious Studies at UC Riverside focused on Phenomenology, as well as the historical development of Chan/Zen Buddhism in China during the Sui and Tang dynasties, and the rhetoric with which its monastic literature expressed "enlightenment." I graduated with a MA degree in Religious Studies from UCR in 2015 and a Bachelor’s degree in Religious Studies from San Diego State University in 2013.

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.

Cristina-RosettiCRISTINA ROSETTI, PhD Student in Religious Studies

Bio/Research Interests: My research is centered at the intersection of Mormonism and Spiritualism, focusing on alternative forms of Mormon religious practice. My dissertation uses ethnographic methodologies to investigate the nature of power and revelation within various Mormon communities. I received a B.A. in Liberal Studies with a minor in Christian Studies from the California State University, Fullerton and a M.A. in Religious Studies from University of California, Riverside.

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

Nathan-WomackNATHAN WOMACK, PhD Student in Religious Studies

Bio/Research Interests: My name is Nathan Womack and I'm a PhD candidate in religious studies.  I earned a master of biblical studies degree from The King's University in Southlake, TX and an MA in religious studies from UC Riverside.  My research interests include contemporary evangelical and charismatic Christianity, American religion, history of Christianity, economics and religion, and historical anthropology of religion.