Allison Covey

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Contact Information
Office Address: 
226 Cohen
Phone: 
215-898-7453

Allison’s core research places ethology, evolutionary biology, and paleoanthropology in conversation with Christian theology to explore the relationships between humans, animals, and the environment. She has additional research interests in religious identity, the religious/secular boundary, religion and law, and pop culture studies.

Education: 

Ph.D., University of Toronto
M.A., University of St. Thomas, Houston
B.A., Texas A&M University

Summary of Interests: 
Religious Identity & the Law
Contemporary Christian Ethics
Theological Anthropology
Work in Progress: 

“Ethical Veganism as Protected Identity: Constructing a Creed under Human Rights Law “ in Thinking Veganism in Literature and Culture: Towards a Vegan Theory (Palgrave, 2018)

Donovan Schaefer

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Assistant Professor of Material Religion & Visual Culture
Contact Information
Office Address: 
Cohen 226
Email Address: 
doschaef@sas.upenn.edu
Office Hours: 
Thursday 3:00-4:30
Education: 

Ph.D., Syracuse University
M.A., Syracuse University
B.A., University of British Columbia

Summary of Interests: 
Material Religion
Religion, Affect & Emotion
Science & Secularisms
Selected Publications: 

Religious Affects: Animality, Evolution, and Power (Duke University Press, 2015)

Recent Courses: 

RELS 011: Science and Religion

RELS 500: Theory and Method in the Study of Religion

Brief Biography: 

Donovan Schaefer joined the Department of Religious Studies as an assistant professor in 2017, after spending three years as a lecturer at the University of Oxford. He earned his B.A. in the interdisciplinary Religion, Literature, and the Arts program at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. His master’s and doctoral degrees are from the Religion program at Syracuse University. After completing his PhD, he held a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship at Haverford College. His research focuses on the role of embodiment and emotion in religion and secularisms.

Hsiao-Wen Cheng

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Assistant Professor of East Asian Languages & Civilizations
Education: 

Ph.D., History, University of Washington, Seattle
M.A., Chinese Language and Literature, National Taiwan University
B.A., Chinese Language and Literature, National Taiwan University

Summary of Interests: 
EA Medical & Religious History
Song Dynasty (960-1276)
Gender & Sexuality in China
Selected Publications: 

“What Was Good Writing (or Reading) in Eleventh-Century China? Rethinking Guwen and Its Relation to Daoxue.” Journal of Chinese Literature and Culture, forthcoming.

“Authority or Alternative? Rethinking Gender and the Circulation of Medical Knowledge in Song China, 960-1279.” Gender Forum: An Internet Platform for Gender and Women’s Studies, 24 (2009). Cologne, Germany: English Department, University of Cologne. http://www.genderforum.org/issues/apparatus-xy/authority-or-alternative/

Work in Progress: 

Manless Women: Medicine, Celibacy, and Female Sexuality in Medieval China

Sexual Anomalies and the Temporality of Norms in Medieval China

Recent Courses: 

East Asian Religions
Gender and Religion in China
Medicine and Healing in China
Daoist Traditions
Han-Song Medical Texts
Song Dynasty Texts

Andrew Chignell

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Summary of Interests: 
17-19th C. Western Philosophy
17-19th C. Religious Thought
Kant & the German Tradition
Brief Biography: 

Andrew Chignell has a joint Ph.D. in Philosophy and Religious Studies from Yale University.  He works primarily on early modern (17th-19th C.) western philosophy and religious thought, with a focus on the work of Immanuel Kant and others in the German tradition.  He has also published work in contemporary philosophy of religion, aesthetics, and the philosophy of food.

Jolyon Thomas

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Assistant Professor of Religious Studies
Contact Information
Office Address: 
201 Cohen Hall

Jolyon Thomas’s research covers two main areas of inquiry, both of which sketch approaches to the perennially unanswerable question of how to define religion. On the one hand, he writes about religion in conjunction with material and visual culture, examining the religious lives of illustrated media (comic books and cartoons) and quotidian objects (trains, televisions, USB sticks, plastic figurines). On the other, he works on the place of religion in policy and law.

Education: 

PhD, Religion, Princeton University (2014)
MA, Asian Religions, University of Hawaii at Manoa (2008)
BA, Religious Studies, Grinnell College (2001)

Summary of Interests: 
Japanese Religions
Visual Media & Material Culture
Politics, Policy, & Law
Selected Publications: 

“The Buddhist Virtues of Raging Lust and Crass Materialism in Contemporary Japan,” Material Religion 11, no. 4 (2016): 485–506.

“Varieties of Religious Freedom in Japanese Buddhist Responses to the 1899 Religions Bill,” The Asian Journal of Law & Society 3, no. 1 (2016): 49–70.

“Religions Policies during the Allied Occupation of Japan, 1945–1952,” Religion Compass 8, no. 9 (2014): 275–286.

Drawing on Tradition: Manga, Anime, and Religion in Contemporary Japan (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2012)

Recent Courses: 

RELS271/EALC253 “The Politics of Shinto”
RELS254/EALC254 "Violence, Tolerance, Freedom"
EALC 257 “Asian Religions in the Global Imagination”
EALC 207 “Sects and Violence in East Asia”
EALC 069 “Japanese Popular Culture” (includes discussion of Japanese religions past and present)
EALC 760 “Japanese Religions” (graduate seminar)

James Pawelski

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Contact Information
Email Address: 
pawelski@psych.upenn.edu

James O. Pawelski, Ph.D., is Director of Education and Senior Scholar in the Positive Psychology Center and adjunct associate professor of religious studies in the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania. 

Summary of Interests: 
Positive Psychology
American Pragmatism
Humanities & Human Flourishing
Brief Biography: 

An international keynote speaker who regularly makes presentations in Spanish as well as English, he has given talks in more than 20 countries on six continents. He holds a number of key leadership positions, including founding executive director of the International Positive Psychology Association (IPPA), member of the steering committee of the International Positive Education Network (IPEN), and past president of the William James Society.

Elana Burack

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Summary of Interests: 
Jewish Studies

Carolina Hernandez

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Summary of Interests: 
Buddhism
Buddhist Material Culture

Megan Eaton Robb

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Assistant Professor of South Asian Religions
Contact Information
Office Address: 
Cohen Hall
Email Address: 
robbme@sas.upenn.edu

Professor Robb is currently interested in the link between print publics and group identity formation, particularly in the first half of the twentieth century in South Asia. Her monograph in progress focuses on the links between Urdu newspapers and the development of a common vocabulary of social and political Islam in North India between 1900 and 1950.

Education: 

D.Phil, Oriental Studies, University of Oxford 
M.Phil, Modern South Asian Studies, University of Oxford
B.A., With Highest Honors, India Studies and English Literature, Indiana University Bloomington

Summary of Interests: 
Gender, Religion in South Asia
History of Islam in South Asia
Hindi and Urdu Public Spheres
Selected Publications: 

“Men’s Voices, Women’s Lives: An Urdu Reformist Newspaper in North India,” Vol 50, 5 Modern Asian Studies, September 2016.

"Advising the Army of Allah: Ashraf ‘Ali Thanawi’s Critique of the Muslim League," Muslims Against the Muslim League: Critiques of the Idea of Pakistan, Edited by Ali Usman Qasmi and Megan Robb, Forthcoming, Cambridge University Press, 2017. 

 "Introduction," co-authored with Ali Usman Qasmi, 
Muslims Against the Muslim League: Critiques of the Idea of Pakistan, Edited by Ali Usman Qasmi and Megan Robb, Forthcoming, Cambridge University Press, 2017. 

"Urban Emotions in Seclusion: 
An Early-Twentieth Century Muslim Wedding in Shahjahanabad," Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, Forthcoming, 2017. 

 

Work in Progress: 

Professor Robb is co-editing a volume of essays forthcoming with Cambridge University Press entitled Muslims Against the Muslim League: Critiques of the Idea of Pakistan. Megan is currently co-editing a Special Journal Issue forthcoming with The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society entitled "Urban Emotions: Responses to the City."

Recent Courses: 

Women and Religion
Islam in Asia

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