Welcome Postdoctoral Fellows

September 25, 2017

2017 postdoctoral fellows Brandy Daniels, Julia Kelto Lillis, K. Mohrman, and Ryan Schaffner

The department of Religious Studies welcomes four postdoctoral fellows for the academic year 2017-18. 

Brandy Daniels is a postdoctoral fellow and lecturer with the Luce Project on “Religion and its Publics.” Brandy has a Ph.D. in Theological Studies, with a minor in Ethics & Society and a certificate in Women’s & Gender Studies, from Vanderbilt University, where she was a fellow in the Program in Theology and Practice. Her research focuses on theological anthropology and practices of formation, exploring intersections between constructive theologies and feminist and queer theories to better understand and envision accounts of faithful Christian identity and community amidst difference. Her dissertation, “Who is the ‘We?’ Futurity and the Formation of Spiritual and Sexual Subjectivities,” draws on queer theoretical work on temporality and contemporary analyses of postliberal methodology to critically examine and challenge how feminist theological accounts of identity formation articulate and understand the relationship between Christian identity, on the one hand, and gender and sexual identities, on the other, in a way that undermines their aims and delimits difference. 

Brandy has published on topics ranging from Bonhoeffer and Foucault on racial identity, to poststructuralism and liberation theology, to Eastern Orthodox apophatic theology and Lacanian psychoanalytic theory. She has served as a contributor to the Women in Theology blog and serves on the steering committee for the Queer Studies in Religion section of the AAR. Brandy is under-care for ordination with the Disciples of Christ (Christian Church). She is also an avid runner and Jeopardy fan. 

Julia Kelto Lillis is a Postdoctoral Fellow and Lecturer in New Testament and Early Christianity.  Her primary research interests are in ancient constructions of social difference, especially in areas we today call gender and sexuality, and the ways these are discussed in early Christian literature.  Her doctoral work at Duke University focused on Early Christianity, with secondary specializations in New Testament and in Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies. 

Julia’s publications and conference presentations have drawn attention to diverse ancient conceptualizations of virginity, the history of New Testament canon formation, and the ancient reception of the story of Thecla, a quasi-biblical figure whose exploits prompt intriguing questions about early Christian reflection on gender.  She is currently working on a book project based on her dissertation, “Virgin Territory: Configuring Female Virginity in Early Christianity,” which overturns common assumptions about virginity in antiquity and explores the variety of definitions that early Christians and their neighbors formed for virginity as they discussed its value.  She serves on the executive board of the academic working group ReMeDHe (Religion, Medicine, Disability, and Health in late antiquity) and plans to unite her interests in ancient medical, social, and theological reasoning by focusing future research on the concepts of purity and pollution.

K. Mohrman is the 2017-2018 Postdoctoral Fellow and Lecturer in Mormon Studies. She received her PhD in American Studies from the University of Minnesota, her MA in Humanities and Social Thought from New York University, and BA in the Study of Women and Gender from Smith College. Her current project analyzes the central role Mormonism has played in shaping identity, culture, and nationalism in the US through the production of sexual and racial normativity. More specifically, it examines how political and cultural battles over LDS belief and practice have been vital to the construction and management of “inferior” and “deviant” racialized and sexualized assemblages in the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries. Her research and teaching interests include American, Mormon, ethnic, and gender and sexuality studies; critical race theory and queer of color critique; histories of sexuality, capitalism, and law in the US; and popular and visual culture. She is currently teaching undergraduate and graduate courses including, “Mormonism and American Culture,” “Gender, Sexuality, and Politics in the Religious US,” “Religion and Sexuality,” and “Race, Religion, and Belonging in the US. 

Ryan Schaffner