Natalie Smith grew up in Western New York before moving to Edinburgh two and half years ago, where she is now a first year PhD student at the University of Edinburgh, New College. Her research interests are in patristics, late antiquity, and pilgrimage from anthropological and geographic perspectives. Her interdisciplinary approach is in part due to her prior education. She completed an undergraduate degree at the SUNY Oneonta in anthropology, with minors in history and classical studies, her masters was in Late Antique, Byzantine and Islamic Studies at the University of Edinburgh, and now she is in the History of Christianity program here at New College. Her current research focus is on religious place-making in late-antique Jerusalem.
Jo Thor is a final year PhD candidate at the University of Edinburgh. She works with Professor Stewart J Brown and Professor Louise Jackson on Magdalene Asylums in nineteenth-century Scotland. Her research explores the development of these institutions throughout the period. If you want to find out more you can see her blogs (published by the Ecclesiastical History Society and Four Nations History) and her upcoming article in “Studies in Church History” (Cambridge University Press, 2019).
Along with her research she enjoys teaching. She tutored at the School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh (2017-19) and she was awarded Associate Fellowship of the HEA in January 2019. Since the beginning of her PhD she has been involved in many research societies and event organisations whose goal was to encourage interdisciplinary co-operation and public outreach. In October 2018 she co-organised the Scottish-Irish “Research in Religion” Conference. Since November 2018 she has been one of the conference organisers on the Women’s History Scotland Steering Committee. In 2019 she was invited to become a member of the Scottish Catholic Historical Association as a publicity co-ordinator. She served at the University of Edinburgh’s Senatus Academicus in 2018. She has also played a very active part in the New College Postgraduate Committee for many years.
Inês Silva is a Classics PhD student at the School of History, Classics, and Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh. Her main focus is Archilochus, the 7th-century BC Greek poet, and she uses a cognitive approach to analyse conceptual frameworks in the fragments of his corpus and in the contexts of transmission of the fragments. She is interested in exploring the relationship between language and thought, namely as culturally-specific expressions of human cognition. Her main research goal is to understand modes of thinking: how the language of the fragments and their posthumous use convey different but interrelated conceptual attitudes that are still intelligible to us today.
Bianca Mazzinghi Gori is a first-year PhD student in Classics at the University of Edinburgh. She grew up in Italy, where she attended Scuola Normale Superiore (Pisa) for her BA and MA. She elected Greek drama and Athenian Comedy in particular as her main field of research. She is now a member of the ERC project Honour in Classical Greece, under the supervision of Prof. Douglas Cairns and Prof. Mirko Canevaro. The project’s aim is to show that Greek honour was a highly flexible and often co-operative mechanism, which shaped substantially political and institutional life.
The project also wishes to find connections between its findings about ancient honour and our own world. Although the very concept of honour may seem outdated to us, the wide understanding of honour-mechanisms that the project puts forward is perfectly able to accommodate the variety of honour codes which define our own cultures. Bianca’s project, focusing on domestic honour in fourth-century Athens, allows her to delve into the honour of marginalised groups such as women and slaves. By looking at categories like these, she also hopes to get a clearer picture of the different kinds of marginalisation which occur in our world.
Joanna Leidenhag joined the School of Divinity at the University of St Andrews in 2018 on a project in Science-Engaged Theology, funded by the John Templeton Foundation. She completed her PhD in systematic and philosophical theology at the University of Edinburgh (2019), focusing on discussions in analytic philosophy of mind and the doctrine of creation. She graduated with a joint Honours degree in Modern History and Theology from the University of St Andrews (MA 2013), and went on to complete a MA in Theological Studies at Princeton Theological Seminary (MA 2014). She also holds an Advanced Diploma in Fine Arts, and specialises in oil painting.
Sam Ellis is a second-year PhD student in Classics at the University of Edinburgh. His research focuses on the discourse of sole rule in the Greek world, specifically with regard to legitimacy. His research has two main strands: first, his research tracks changes in communal political attitudes towards sole rulers and how this is represented in the sources via conceptual metaphors. Secondly, he looks at how sole rulers were forced to adapt their behaviour and methods of legitimacy in the face of these changing political attitudes in order to keep a grasp on power. Sam’s other research interests are in Greco-Persian relations, political theory relating to the rule of law, and Greek conceptualisations of the Persian Empire.
Anastasia-Stavroula Valtadorou is a third-year doctoral researcher at the University of Edinburgh. Her PhD thesis, funded by the AHRC, the A.G. Leventis Foundation and the University of Edinburgh, addresses Greek heterosexual eros with particular references to five Euripidean tragedies: Alcestis, Andromache, Andromeda, Antigone and Helen. She has published articles written both in Greek and English on ancient Greek theater, while her latest chapter will be included in the collective volume Greek Drama V: Studies in the Theatre of the Fifth and Fourth Centuries BCE (edited by Hallie Marshall and C. W. Marshall). Lastly, she has presented her research at various international and postgraduate conferences and workshops in Athens, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Komotini, Lausanne, London, Madrid, Oxford, Syracuse, Thessaloniki, Vancouver BC, Verona and Washington DC.
Jaime Wright is a doctoral candidate at the University of Edinburgh’s Divinity School. She studies the use of literary works, primarily speculative fiction and poetry, within the Science-and-Religion field. Her article ‘Emily Dickinson: a poet at the limits’ (published in Theology in Scotland) focuses on the epistemology of the nineteenth-century American poet as it pertains to the relation of theology and science in her writings. Jaime also tutors on Edinburgh’s new on-line MSc in Philosophy, Science and Religion.
Adam Marshall is currently completing his PhD thesis in Social Anthropology at the University of Edinburgh. His research deals primarily with Khmer Evangelical Christians in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. His research interests include ritual and religion, the anthropology of Christianity, Buddhism, spatiality and temporality, subjectivity and personhood, the anthropology of ethics, political anthropology, Cambodia, and Southeast Asia. Adam holds a BS in Civil Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, a Master of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary, and an MSc with Distinction in Social Anthropology from the University of Edinburgh. He currently and happily dwells in Edinburgh, Scotland with his wife and daughter.
Aku Visala, PhD (University of Helsinki) is a philosopher of religion whose work is located at the intersection of philosophy, theological anthropology and the cognitive sciences. He is currently an adjunct professor in philosophy of religion and Research Fellow of the Finnish Academy at the University of Helsinki, Finland. He has held postdoctoral positions at the universities of Oxford, Princeton and Notre Dame. His publications include Naturalism, Theism and the Cognitive Study of Religion (Routledge 2011), Conversations on Human Nature (with Agustín Fuentes, Routledge 2015) and Verbs, Bones, and Brain: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Human Nature (co-edited with Agustin Fuentes, University of Notre Dame Press 2017). Aku is currently working on a five-year project (2016-2021) on free will and science.
Sarah Lane Ritchie is Research Fellow in Science & Theology at the University of St Andrews. She holds a PhD and MSc in Science & Religion from the University of Edinburgh, an MDiv from Princeton Theological Seminary, and a BA in Philosophy & Religion from Spring Arbor University. Sarah’s research interests involve points of contact between theology, neurobiology, cognitive science, and philosophy of mind, with particular focus on theistic versions of physicalism.
Julia Feder is Assistant Professor of Theology at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska (USA). She specializes in Theological Anthropology in the Christian tradition. Her articles have been published in Theological Studies; Philosophy, Theology, and the Sciences; and the Journal of Religion and Society. Her first book project is titled Trauma and Salvation: A Theology of Healing.
Tom Uytterhoeven (Belgium, born 1972) graduated in 1993 as teacher in primary education. Since 2003 he combined a full-time job, first as a teacher and later on as a lecturer in religious education at Thomas More Mechelen University College, with the study of theology at KU Leuven. From 2012 to 2016, he was a doctoral researcher preparing a dissertation on evolutionary explanations of religion. He is currently a voluntary researcher and as such member of the Research Unit of Systematic Theology and the Study of Religions at the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, KU Leuven. Since 2017, Tom serves as a pedagogical advisor for the organization of Catholic Education in Flanders, working on topics related to the institutional identity of Catholic schools (http://www.linkedin.com/in/uytterhoeventom).
Nomi Pritz-Bennett: PhD candidate at the University of Edinburgh
Born and raised in Jerusalem to a Swiss mother and an American father, and as a part of the city’s Christian minority, I have a keen personal interest in the intersection between theology, politics, and history. Currently, I am a PhD candidate at the University of Edinburgh’s School of Divinity. My doctoral research examines the use of the mystico-ascetic tradition in the works of French philosopher, Maurice Blondel. Prior to arriving in Edinburgh, I studied at Regent College (Vancouver), where I focused on the relationship between history, tradition, and the supernatural in modern French Catholic thought.
His research interest is primarily in neo-Calvinism, that branch of theology that identifies itself as rooted in the theological projects of Abraham Kuyper and Herman Bavinck. More Broadly, he is interested in constructive theological Prolegomena, 19th-20th-century continental philosophy and phenomenology, the relationship between contemporary continental and analytic philosophy, and the relationship between neo-Calvinism and 17th-century Reformed orthodoxy. He has published numerous articles, and you can follow him on academia.edu here:
Research focus: Practical Theology and Criminal Justice Reform. George holds a Master of Divinity and postgraduate Master in Sacred Theology in Philosophy, Theology and Social Ethics from Boston University. His present PhD research is a Theo-comparative analysis of punishment, mass incarceration and death in US and UK penal systems (Scotland and England and Wales) focused on racially and economically marginalized individuals.
Besides his academic interests, George is also a gospel singer/songwriter with two recording albums. One of his original songs, God’s Been Good to Me was nominated Gospel Single of the Year in 2004.