Fellows

Abdugafurov Rahimjon Abdugafurov (2013) is a student in the doctoral program of Islamic Civilizations Studies in the Department of Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies at Emory, where he studies fatwas, Islamic legal opinions about Christians and Jews, aiming to contribute to a better understanding of Muslim relations with Christians and Jews. Rahimjon holds a five-year higher education diploma in Oriental Studies and Arabic Philology from Namangan State University, Namangan, Uzbekistan; a Master’s in Education from Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN; and an M.A. in International Studies from the University of Wyoming, where he studied Muslim views about Christians and Jews in Uzbekistan. Rahimjon comes from the Republic of Uzbekistan, a former Soviet republic in Central Asia.
Brittingham Matthew Brittingham (2014) graduated with a bachelor's degree in Religious Studies from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (2012) and recently completed an M.A. in Jewish Studies at Indiana University-Bloomington (2014). At Emory, he is studying American Jewish religious cultures with an emphasis on Jewish engagement in modern science and biblical criticism. Aside from these areas, Matt has interests in religion and media, Yiddish, and Jews in American sport.
Cornell Collin Cornell (2013) is Ph.D. student in the Hebrew Bible program of the Graduate Division of Religion at Emory University. He earned a Master of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary and a B.A. in biblical studies from Columbia International University. He plans to research the legal and cultic materials of the Pentateuch, their narrative integration, their ancient near eastern analogues, their function in postexilic communities, their ideologies of the social body, and their visions of divine presence. He is interested more broadly in Semitic philology, ritual studies, and biblical theology, and he also intends to make a special study of pedagogy for introductory Bible courses.
Davis Keenan Wills Davis (2015) is a doctoral student in the Graduate Division of Religion with a focus on bioethics and Jewish studies. As an undergraduate, he studied neuroscience and Jewish studies (interdisciplinary) at the University of Virginia, graduating with highest distinction. He then served as a corps member of Teach For America and for three years taught high school chemistry, physics, biology, and math. Davis completed an MA in bioethics through Emory University’s Center for Ethics with a thesis analyzing the impact of biotechnology on human dignity. His primary interests are virtue ethics, moral psychology, and the relationship between humans, nature, and technology.
Driver Cory Driver came to the Graduate Division of Religion at Emory with a B.S. in economics from Purdue University and an M.A. in near eastern languages and cultures from Ohio State University. His research focuses on memory creation of the "other" in formerly mixed ethno-religious communities of Morocco. His experience in ethnography of religion includes more than two years in Morocco with the Muslim Imizghen and an academic year in Israel speaking with Moroccan-Israelis to understand their self conceptions as part of communities which formerly existed together.
Focht Caralie Focht (2015) is a first year PhD student in the Hebrew Bible program. She earned a Bachelor of Social Work from James Madison University and a Master of Divinity from Vanderbilt Divinity School. Focht’s current research interests include trauma in the Hebrew Bible and Jewish hermeneutics, and she hopes to connect her research to current religious practices through the Religious Practices and Practical Theology concentration.
Hoelle Lisa Hoelle (2013) is a Ph.D. student in the Jewish Religious Cultures program of the Graduate Division of Religion at Emory, studying contemporary American Jewish identity. She is currently interested in how conceptions of American Jewish identity inform and shape intra-community ethical practices. She has outside interests in education, ritual, and virtue ethics. Lisa earned a B.A. (summa cum laude) in philosophy and international studies from Illinois Wesleyan University, an M.A. in philosophy at the University of Minnesota, and a graduate certificate in Jewish studies at the Graduate Theological Union. She has also conducted research at the Kierkegaard Centre in Copenhagen and worked as the Ritual and Religious Education Coordinator for a synagogue in San Francisco, and the European Culture and History Program Coordinator at the Danish Institute for Study Abroad.
Kleiner Johannes Kleiner (2012) is a Ph.D. student in the Hebrew Bible program of the Graduate Division of Religion at Emory University. He earned Master's degrees in theology both from the University of Münster, Germany, where he was a fellow of the Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation, and the Franciscan School of Theology, Berkeley. His research focuses on the relationship of ancient Near Eastern people to animals as well as natural phenomena and nature's representation in the Hebrew Bible. He is excited to explore early Jewish interpretations of non-human actors in biblical texts, as well as to embark on the scavenger hunt to find Jewish forerunners to the modern environmental movement. 
Pannkuk Justin Pannkuk (2013) is a Ph.D. student in the Hebrew Bible program in the Graduate Division of Religion at Emory University. Before coming to Emory, he earned a B.A. (summa cum laude) in religion from Northwestern College in Iowa, and a Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary. He was a Fulbright Fellow in Old Testament at the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Germany, where he focused on the relationship between the Aramaic texts from the Dead Sea and the Book of Jubilees. His current research interests center on the early Jewish apocalyptic movement, its literature and worldview, and how its theological complex provided ancient Jewish communities with a conceptual framework within which they could make sense of their present experience. He is interested in tracing the development and religious function of a number of important themes in apocalyptic literature, such as the concern for the problem and origins of evil and its management within pious communities, conceptions of time and the relationship between protology and eschatology, and the theological construction of moral anthropology.
Focht Richard Purcell (2015) is a PhD student in the Hebrew Bible program within Emory’s Graduate Division of Religion. He earned a BA in Biblical Studies from Brewton-Parker College and an MAR in Biblical Studies from Yale Divinity School. Purcell is interested in the expression of various ideologies within the Hebrew Bible, particularly in ideals of gender, geography, religion, politics, and other aspects of world view, as well as the intersection of effective rhetoric and ideology within formative texts. He hopes to explore how such ideological places of discourse are employed as rhetorical strategies in the creation, maintenance, and subversion of different ancient communities. He is also interested in modern literary theory and how such theory may aid in illuminating a text’s possible ideological position(s) and rhetorical place(s) in ancient communities.
Strakhova Anastasiia Strakhova (2014) is a Ph.D. student in History at Emory University interested in Jewish emigration from the Late Russian Empire to America and transatlantic cultural exchanges, which followed the resettlement creating strong transnational bonds between Jewish communities on both sides of the ocean. Coming originally from Ukraine, she received her B.A. Degree (with Distinction) from International Solomon University. She continued her education at Central European University in Budapest, Hungary, earning an M.A. in Comparative History (with Distinction). Pursuing a Jewish Studies specialization, Anastasiia devoted her Master’s thesis to the image of America portrayed on the pages of Voskhod [The Sunrise], one of the most influential Jewish journals published in Saint Petersburg during 1881-1906. For her dissertation project Anastasiia plans to look at the representations of America in other Yiddish and Russian-language Jewish periodicals published in the Imperial capital during the reign of Tsars Alexander III and Nicholas II. Apart from the university degrees, Anastasiia also has a Certificate of accomplishment of The One Year Jewish Studies Program at Paideia – The European Institute for Jewish Studies in Stockholm, Sweden.