ISM Announces Fellows for 2019–2020 Year

May 22, 2019

The Yale Institute of Sacred Music is pleased to announce that eight new fellows will be joining its interdisciplinary community for the 2019–2020 year.

The ISM Fellows in Sacred Music, Worship, and the Arts are established scholars, religious leaders, or artists 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 cohorts of ISM fellows, the 2019–2020 fellows represent a cross-section of cultures and disciplines.

Blair Fowlkes-Childs co-curated the 2019 international loan exhibition “The World between Empires: Art and Identity in the Ancient Middle East” at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, which included a major section on Dura-Europos with objects lent by the Yale University Art Gallery; she also co-authored the accompanying catalogue. She received her Ph.D. in classical art and archaeology from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University and her research focuses on art and religious pluralism in the Roman Empire. At Yale, she will complete her book The Cults of Syrian and Phoenician Gods in Rome and Religious Connections across the Empire.

Caroline Gruenbaum received her Ph.D. from New York University in 2019. She is a medievalist whose Yale project will expand her dissertation into a book manuscript entitled King Arthur’s Jewish Knights: Literature and Piety in Medieval Europe. The project focuses on the under-studied corpus of non-rabbinic literature produced by Jewish communities in medieval northern Europe, including translations from Old French texts such as the romances of Chrétien de Troyes and the fables of Marie de France, and folktales promoting pious behavior. The comparative study will analyze the complex ways in both the Jewish and Christian texts combine piety and creative expression to explore the relationship between religion and literature among medieval communities.  

Thomas Marks recently received his Ph.D. in musicology from The Graduate Center, CUNY. He is a music historian whose research interests include the history of emotions.  During his fellowship year, he will do research for a monograph “Feeling Exile, Singing Migration: An Emotional History of the Music of Protestant Refugees during the Thirty Years War (1618 – 1648),” a highly interdisciplinary project analyzing the intersections of music, emotion, and religious identity in the early modern era.  This work may also illuminate some of the ways that music today fosters new emotions about or transforms affective attitudes toward displaced people in the current climate of increased nationalism and refugee migrations.

Mark Roosien comes to the ISM from the University of Notre Dame, where he has held a Mellon post-doctoral teaching fellowship since receiving his Ph.D. in theology there in December 2018. He is a scholar of liturgical and ritual studies, focusing on Christianity in Late Antiquity. At Yale, he will revise and expand his dissertation The Liturgical Commemoration of Earthquakes in Late Antique Constantinople: At the Intersection of Ritual, Environment, and Empire, analyzing the rite in historical and political contexts to expand the understanding of the formation of Constantinople’s stational liturgy, of time and the cosmos in the Byzantine Rite, and of the role of the liturgy in the political rise of Constantinople as the Roman capital in the East.

Ranu Roychoudhuri comes to the ISM from the Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati, India, where she is assistant professor of humanities and social sciences. She is a historian of photography and art with interests in South Asian studies, postcolonial theory, popular visual culture, and the intellectual history of art. During her fellowship year, she will work on a project entitled Theology, Politics, and Art: Documentary Photographs from Post-Emergency Calcutta, which will analyze layered conversations between documentary photography and Christian social thought in postcolonial India by looking into institutional histories as well as the material and intellectual histories of those photographs. 

Vera Shevzov, professor of religion, and member of the Program of Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies at Smith College, is a scholar of modern and post-Soviet Orthodox Christianity in Russia. A graduate of Yale College (’82), she subsequently also completed her Ph.D. in history at Yale, under the mentorship of Paul Bushkovitch and the late Jaroslav Pelikan. She has also been an ISM Colloquium speaker. Her Yale ISM project—“How Do We Sing of Thee?”Post-Gulag Orthodox Liturgy in Contemporary Russia—examines post-Gulag Orthodox liturgical narratives and recent post-Soviet liturgical production to gain insight into the impact of cultural trauma on contemporary Russian Orthodox ecclesial identity, values, and sacred sensibilities related to such notions as history and memory, witnessing, sacrifice, and victimhood. 

Riley Parker Soles received his Ph.D. in East Asian languages and literatures from Yale in 2018, where he received the Marston Anderson Prize and a Fulbright doctoral dissertation research fellowship. Since then he has been a visiting assistant professor of Asian languages and civilizations at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He returns to Yale to expand existing material and add new chapters to his dissertation, The Ecstasy of the Text, a comparative project exploring the ontology of literary and religious textuality by looking at a variety of works from both Western and East Asian traditions of philosophy, literature, and religion.

Sumarsam is the Winslow-Kaplan Professor of Music at Wesleyan University, where he teaches the history, theory, and practice of Indonesian music and theater and gamelan performance. During the fellowship year, he will work on Expressing and Contesting Java-Islam-Western-State Encounters through the Performing Arts, a project aimed at debunking a popular perception of Islam as “against the performing arts,” even though Indonesia, the nation with the largest Muslim population in the world, has many thriving artistic traditions. His study will use the lens of the performing arts to discuss Indonesia’s past and present socioreligious and cultural development, focusing on the interface between Islam and the performing arts among the Javanese since the fifteenth century, and the significant impact of Western culture since the twentieth century.

The Institute is delighted to welcome these newest members of the community, and we look forward to a rich and fruitful dialogue that reflects the breadth and diversity of our mission.