Student Honors Theses - Department of Religion Skip Navigation

Student Honors Theses

We are proud to present the following students who have completed an honors thesis in the Department of Religion.

About Honors

The honors thesis is a substantial piece of research, analysis, or critique completed under the guidance of a faculty advisor by students pursuing honors in religion and in philosophy and religion. A student is awarded honors in religion or in philosophy and religion on the basis of both the quality of the written thesis and the conduct of the honors defense. All candidates for honors are required to have a GPA of 3.40 in his or her major.


Class of 2017

Jade Hoang
“Releasing the Good Religion: An Investigation into Buddhist Peace Building Movements in Sri Lanka and Vietnam”
Advisor: Jenna Reinbold

Rita Shehirian
"After You!" Neuroscientific Insights for Thinking Theodicy and Suffering Otherwise"
Advisor: Ben Stahlberg

Lila Sullivan
“Purity, Pollution, and Ritual: A Scheme for Understanding Hindu Ritual Modification Based on Sacrality of Water in India”
Advisor: Joel Bordeaux

Dominic Wilkins
“Examining Pope Francis’s Laudato Si’ Within Catholic and Environmental Thought”
Advisor: Chris Vecsey


Class of 2016

Julia Queller
"Jesus Rocks: Contemporary Christian Music and the Problem of the Secular"
Advisor: Jenna Reinbold

Joanna Howe
"Gender in the Garden: Rethinking the Creation Story in the Modern Era"
Advisor: Lesleigh Cushing


Class of 2015

Rachel Jean Lewis Gordh
"The Impact of Film and Media on Political Change in Myanmar: Combating Religious Nationalism, Xenophobia and the Genocide of the Rohingya People"
Advisor: Mahinda Deegalle

Susanna Kvam
"Church versus Czech: The Protestant Roots of Czech Secularism"
Advisor: Ben Stahlberg

Emmett Potts
"Governance, Religious Tolerance, and the Democratization of Figh"
Advisor: Aaron Spevack

Dana Laxer
"From Sarah to #CrazyJewishMom: Depictions of Jewish Mothers Through the Ages"
Advisor: Lesleigh Cushing


Class of 2014

Sarah Gilkes
"The Usurpation of Divine Sovereignty: The Family of Secularism as a Threat Within Religious Fundamentalism"
Advisor: Jenna Reinbold

Jill Goeltzer
"The Divine Power of Dance. A Cross Cultural Analysis"
Advisor: Chris Vescey

Sanchez, Will
"Ritual, Literature, and the Sacred: An Exploration of Latin@ Religious Worldviews"
Advisor: Chris Vescey

Allie Silverman
"Not in My House: The Religious Conservative Defense of the 'Traditional Family' in the Secular Age"
Advisor: Jenna Reinbold

Grace Song
"An Elephant in the Classroom: The Problematic Privatization of Religion"
Advisor: Jenna Reinbold

Jessica Yeo
"Transforming the Self and Society through Recitation: Order and Affect in the Sound, Emotion, and Meaning of Qur'anic Recitation"
Advisor: Aaron Spevack


Class of 2013

John D. Beam
"The Paradoxes of Reinhold Niebuhr: Political Theology and Just War"
Advisor: Ben Stahlberg

Anna Bivins
"The Canon of Dorothy Day: An Intersection of Persons, Community and Scripture"
Advisor: Chris Vescey

Gillian Gamberdell
"The Catholic Sex Abuse Crisis as Religious Behavior"
Advisor: Jenna Reinbold

Zach Harris
"The Psychic Space of Belief"
Advisor: Lesleigh Cushing


Class of 2012

Loretta Douglas
"Banning Shari'ah: How an Empty Threat Became a National Concern"
Advisor: Jenna Reinbold

Kristen Ellis
"Neurology and the Supernatural"
Advisor: Chris Vescey

Isaac Kim
"A Christian Defense of the Problem of Evil"
Advisor: Ben Stahlberg

Ellie Sher
"Flying Unhindered in the Space In-Between: An Examination of Play's Role in Peacemaking"
Advisor: Georgia Frank

Will Younger
"Reinhold Niebuhr and the Theology of Christian Realism"
Advisor: Ben Stahlberg


Class of 2011

Benae Beamon
"Preaching As Play: Black Preaching in a Hermeneutics Perspective"
Advisor: Harvey Sindima

Jamie Beddow
"Solutions to the Problem of Creaturliness"
Advisor: Ben Stahlberg

Hannah Dashefsky
"The Exclusion of Religious Doctrine from the Public Square: A Critical Analysis of John Rawls' Theory of Public Reason with Special Consideration of its Application to Roe v. Wade"
Advisor: Jenna Reinbold

Casey Davidow
"Religion in American Political Realignments"
Advisor: Lesleigh Cushing

Francesca Gallo
"'A Brief Galilean Vision': Process Theology and the Pursuit of the Common Good"
Advisor: Marilyn Thie

Lauren Kerby
"Rights v. Right: Creating and Contesting the Limits of Religious Freedom"
Advisor: Jenna Reinbold

Naveed Ghannad
"Self Power and Other Power in Zen and Pure Land Buddhist Traditions"
Advisor: John Ross Carter

Samantha Steinfeld
"'A Discourse of Return': An Exploration of the Significance of the 'Traditional Family' for Modern American Evangelicals"
Advisor: Jenna Reinbold


Class of 2010

Brett Butler
"Karl Barth: A Survey of His Developing Theology"
Advisor: Harvey Sindima

Max Counter
"Dynamics of Doubt: Uncertainty and Religious Life"
Advisor: Chris Vescey

Jeremy Fisher
"Paul Tillich: His Theology and Its Implications"
Advisor: Harvey Sindima

Eric McGown
"Dorothy Day: Radically Catholic"
Advisor: Chris Vescey

Melissa Nozell
"Integrating Identities: The British Effect on Defining and Codifying Religion in South Asia"
Advisor: Eliza Kent