Meet the Short-Term Fellows

In addition to the academic-year fellows, we also support fellows who come to the ISM for a short time to do research in one of Yale’s unique collections. 

Fellows 2022 – 2023

Blair Fowlkes Childs is Visiting Lecturer at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. She was an ISM long-term fellow in 2019-2020 and also curated the exhibition “Photographs of Dura-Europos: 1922-2022 and Onward” in 2022. During her short-term ISM fellowship, she will conduct research on altars and incense burners from Dura-Europos in the Art Gallery and the excavation archive, as well as on the depictions of altars in Dura’s famous wall paintings and relief sculptures. This exceptional corpus has great potential to enhance our knowledge of religious rituals across the Middle East and Iran during the first through the mid third centuries.


Victoria Tori Dalzell is an ethnomusicologist whose current research focuses on congregational song practices in churches in Nepal. At Yale, she will be working with materials in the Nepal Church History Project and the institutional archives of the two largest international missions organizations in Nepal housed in Yale Divinity school’s special collections to explore questions concerning the genesis of the Khristiya Bhajan, the hymnal commonly used in Nepali churches today. When she is not researching and writing about music, Tori directs writing support services for graduate and doctoral students at Anderson University in South Carolina.


J. Christian Greer, Ph.D., is a scholar of religious studies with a special focus on psychedelic culture. His forthcoming book, Angelheaded Hipsters: Psychedelic Militancy in Nineteen Eighties North America (Oxford University Press), analyzes the diversification and expansion of psychedelic culture within fanzine networks in the late Cold War era. As a fellow at the ISM, he will use the Beinecke’s collections to research his second book, which will be the first investigation of its kind into the historical imbrication of psychedelic spirituality and the movement for Civil Rights.


Elizabeth Knott is a research affiliate at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at New York University and was a postdoctoral associate at Yale in 2020–2022 working on the digitization of the “Yale Babylonian Collection.” She is returning to Yale to conduct scholarly research on ancient seals in the collection. Her work investigates the ways in which scenes of a ritual nature were laid out on cylinder–shaped seals and how these miniature scenes would have been accessed and read by ancient audiences. She will be using the study to think about the experience of objects and ancient mesopotamian religion more broadly.


Joanna Murdoch is a Ph.D. candidate in english literature at Duke University. Her research on the poetic line in medieval devotional reading explores poetry readers’ scope for interpretive agency at the nexus of penitential devotion, metrical practice, and scribal reception. At the Beinecke, she will broaden her study of fifteenth-century vernacular prayer poems by examining books of hours produced for audiences beyond England.


Todor Petev is a cultural mediator and educator who develops educational programs and trains students, teachers and museum specialists in Bulgaria how to engage audiences with cultural heritage, combining modern educational approaches with creativity and civic engagement. He is a lecturer in art history and museum studies at the New Bulgarian University in Sofia. Todor is fascinated by the range of Yale’s collections, but even more so by the amazing ways the art gallery develops learning content and tailors its approaches to a wide range learning audiences. At YUAG he will conduct research and engage with the learning programs, particularly those related to different religions.


Maryanne Saunders is access and career development fellow (history of art) at Lincoln College, University of Oxford. Her research interests span religion, art history, gender and sexuality studies. At Yale, she will be investigating examples of contemporary book art using Bibles in the Alan Chasanoff Book Art Collection.