2017-2018 ISM Fellows Announced

May 9, 2017

Martin Jean, director of the Yale Institute of Sacred Music, has announced that seven fellows will be joining its interdisciplinary community for the 2017-2018 year.

ISM Fellows in Sacred Music, Worship, and the Arts are scholars, religious leaders, or artists at all career stages whose work is in or is turning toward the fields of sacred music, liturgical/ritual studies, or religion and the arts. The fellows have numerous opportunities to share their work with the community and to teach, as well as to work on their individual projects using Yale’s vast resources. Following in the footsteps of previous classes of ISM fellows, the 2017-2018 group represents a cross-section of cultures and disciplines.

Charrise Barron is an ISM graduate (M.Div. ’10) who will receive her Ph.D. in African and African American studies, with a secondary concentration in music, from Harvard University in May 2017. At Yale, she will expand her interdisciplinary research of a recent period in black American gospel music which she has named “The Platinum Age of Gospel.” This period, roughly spanning 1993-2013, saw marked shifts away from previous eras of gospel performance and culture. Using ethnographic and historical methodologies, this critical examination of gospel’s Platinum Age will illuminate revised theologies of sanctification among African American Pentecostal churches.

Anderson H. Blanton returns to the ISM for a second year.  Previously, he was at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity (Göttingen, Germany), where he was a research scholar since 2014. He has a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from Columbia University. His book project, Toying with the Sacred: A Cultural History of Christian Playthings, explores the history of pedagogical techniques and technologies in the American Sunday school.

Hyun Kyong Hannah Chang is a research professor at the Ewha Music Research Institute of Ewha Womans University in Seoul, Korea. She holds a Ph.D. in musicology from the University of California, Los Angeles. At Yale, she will work on a book manuscript, Singing and Praying in Christian Pyongyang, 1900s-1930s: Borderland Voices in the Trans-Pacific, which will explore the roles of two distinct types of vocal practices in Christian Pyongyang in the reshaping of personhood and community, within the context of the influence of U.S. Protestant missionaries who had helped mobilize the U.S.’s Pacific frontier in the early twentieth century.

Finnian M.M. Gerety comes to Yale from Brown University, where he has been visiting assistant professor of religious studies since 2015, when he received his Ph.D. in South Asian studies from Harvard University.  He works at the intersection of sound, religion, and technology in Hindu traditions, examining the performance and interpretation Sanskrit mantras in historical and modern contexts. His current book project, This Whole World is OM: The Birth of the Sacred Syllable in Ancient India, will be published by Oxford University Press.  His work at Yale will be the foundation of a planned book project, Mantras to the Max: Sacred Sound in South India.

Barbara Haggh-Huglo is professor of music at the University of Maryland, College Park.  She is working on a two-part research project, combining data gathered from the first analysis of three medieval source-types from Ghent (hagiographical manuscripts, graduals and antiphoners, and aldermen’s registers) with broad interdisciplinary reading. After statistical analysis of data on repetition, creativity (its opposite), and value (through repetition or creativity), she will then interpret these data through wide reading of medieval theology known in Ghent (the most populous city north of Paris in 1400), comparisons of cities, studies of repetition in mathematics, philosophy, biology, linguistics, and education, and scholarship on the modern Church.

Su’ad Abdul Khabeer is associate professor of anthropology at Purdue University, with a joint appointment in the program in African American studies. The project she will pursue at Yale (during the spring semester) is entitled Allah and Justice: A Cultural History of Islam and Hip Hop, which will explore the ways that hip hop music and culture offer – through lyrics and dance, tags and samples, and knowledge of self – an epistemology of critique for the global Muslim community that provides alternative ways of reckoning history, conceiving of self and community and interpreting and acting upon the world. 

Ed. Note, December 2017: Unfortunately Su’ad Abdul Khabeer will be unable to join us this spring as planned, due to unforeseen circumstances.

Ramez Mikhail, who is receiving his Ph.D. in theology from the University of Vienna in June 2017, will be joining the ISM as a postdoctoral associate in liturgical studies. He studies eastern liturgical traditions, focusing on the Coptic/Alexandrian traditions. At Yale, he will prepare his doctoral dissertation for publication, entitled The Presentation of the Lamb: A Historical and Theological Analysis of the Prothesis and Preparatory Rites of the Coptic Liturgy. This work investigates the historical development of the rite of prothesis in the Coptic liturgy, in which the bread and wine for the Eucharist are prepared by placing them on the altar accompanied by the appropriate prayers and chants.

“The Institute is delighted to welcome these newest members of the community,” said Martin Jean. “We look forward to a rich and fruitful dialogue that reflects the breadth and diversity of our mission.”