2017-2018 GTU Graduates

On May 10, 2018, the Graduate Theological Union honored forty-three MA and PhD graduates at its 2018 Commencement Exercises held in the LeConte Sanctuary at Zaytuna College. Graduates are listed below by degree, along with each graduate's thesis/dissertation title, area of study or school of affiliation, committee members, and thesis/dissertation abstract; language specialization is noted for MABL graduates in lieu of thesis information.

Master of Arts

Ria Barretto Aquino
Mestizaje: The Historical, Cultural, and Theological Roots of the Filipino and Filipino-American Identity
Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University

Eduardo C. Fernández, S.J. (Coordinator)
Randi J. Walker
Ricky Manalo, C.S.P.

The United States’ diverse context makes it difficult for Filipino-Americans to identify with their mestizo Filipino heritage. With faith being a central attribute to Filipino identity, how does Catholicism, as expressed through Filipino popular piety inform, strengthen, and renew Filipino-Americans? This thesis attempts to form a historical-cultural-theological definition of the Filipino-American mestizaje through the devotions and Christological expressions of the Filipino Catholic.    


Christina M. Atienza, O.P.
Human Flourishing: A Comparison of Aquinas on Charity and Dōgen on Practice-Realization
Jesuit School of Theology
Thomas Cattoi (Coordinator)
Richard K. Payne

The thesis sketches and compares the views of Thomas Aquinas and Eihei Dōgen on human flourishing, particularly on charity in the Catholic Christian tradition and practice-realization in the Sōtō Zen tradition, using methods in comparative theology and sociology. The comparison presents similarities, differences, possibilities for cross-fertilization, and ideas on how to continue the conversation in today’s context.


Alyssa Anneke Marie Cover
Moving Together: Strengthening Bonds in Community through Dance
Pacific School of Religion
Rossitza Schroeder (Coordinator)
Sharon R. Fennema
Carla De Sola

This thesis examines the effects of dance on communities of faith by analyzing noteworthy communal dances from various religious traditions and dances choreographed by liturgical dancers. The first chapter focuses on how dance can help strengthen the bonds in a group, creating more unity. The second chapter concentrates on the impact of using communal dance as a tool for spiritual development.


Philipos Ghaly
Mobilizing Diaspora for the Kin-dom of God: Theological Reflections for the Coptic Diaspora
Starr King School for the Ministry

Gabriella Lettini (Coordinator)
Filipe Maia
Jennifer Sasser, Marylhurst University

The concept of geographical diaspora originally provided a theological interpretation of Jewish dispersion after exile, utilized by Hellenic Jews to envision a soteriological and eschatological return to the Kingdom of God. Over the last few decades, diaspora became a widely appropriated term describing various migratory groups living outside their ancestral land in divergent circumstances. This thesis historicizes diaspora through Coptic dispersion by exploring the reasons that led to departure from Egypt, and qualifies the Coptic experience according to diaspora theory. The thesis uses auto-ethnography as a way of exploring home, difference and diasporic memory, to conceptualize diaspora as a rhizome, a field of multiplicities and interactions. By showing that diaspora in itself is a category of heterogeneity, the thesis employs it as praxis for marginalized diasporas living in the hegemony of American Empire, who in their diasporic kinship against oppression and empire can form the resurrected body of Christ and bring about the Kin-dom of God.


Aaron Terris Grizzell
Charles H. Long and the Idea of Matter and Materiality: A Locus for Interdisciplinary Understanding
San Francisco Theological Seminary
Christopher Ocker (Coordinator)
Dorsey O. Blake

This thesis investigates Charles H. Long’s theory of materiality that provides a single, unified hermeneutics of matter and selfhood. The thesis argues that Long’s theoretical innovation posits a framework that may serve as a locus for understanding the self as a religious, cultural, and cognitive being, and thereby inform new interdisciplinary conversation in the field of materiality studies.


Jonathan P. Guevara
A Peasant's Satire of Political Economy: A Sociological Study of the Parable of the Unjust Steward (Luke 16:1-8a)
San Francisco Theological Seminary
Annette Weissenrieder (Coordinator)
Jean-François Racine

This thesis is a social-scientific study of the Parable of the Unjust Steward in Luke 16:1–8a, often considered the most difficult parable. By applying both a sociological model of agrarian class conflict and a semiotic analysis, the thesis argues that the parable is revolutionary peasant satire of the oppressive political economy of first-century Galilee.           


Jonathan Homrighausen
Growing the Garden:  Interreligious Intertextuality between the Song of Songs and the Qur'an
Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University

John C. Endres, S.J. (Coordinator)
Ghazala Anwar
John Kaltner, Rhodes College

This thesis investigates the connection between eros and spirituality in the Qur'an and the Bible through an intertextual reading of the Song of Songs and the “companions in Paradise" in Surah al-Rahman. The study suggests that perhaps the Song gives insight into the gender mutuality in Jannah, while the surah hints at exactly what the "garden locked" (Song 4:12) might mean. This work emphasizes the interpretive dance between spirituality and sensuality, the source-domain and the target-domain of scriptural metaphors, and the role of readers in constructing meaning with these texts.       


Yunha Hwang
The Correlation between a Person’s Experience of Attachment to God and Their Resilience to Traumatic Experience
San Francisco Theological Seminary

Laurie Garrett-Cobbina (Coordinator)
Gregory Anderson Love

This thesis argues that a person’s attachment relationship to God influences their resilience from traumatic experience. This thesis explores from John Bowlby’s attachment theory to theory of attachment to God. Then, the thesis articulates trauma and psychological resilience theory. Also, in regard to these literature studies, the case study was undertaken: Four people participated and their interviews were recorded and analyzed. According to the result of the case study, this study concluded a person’s attachment to God greatly affects their resilience.           


Lorelai Kude
"Yesh Mazal b'Yisrael": Astrology and Identity in Jewish Culture
Richard S. Dinner Center for Jewish Studies

Deena Aranoff (Coordinator)
Naomi Sheindel Seidman

This thesis examines the rabbinic enterprise’s institutionalization of astrology, despite the legal prohibition against its use in divination. By making astrology a subject for the study hall, the rabbis developed identity-based differentiators, innovations, and the substitution of Jewish cultural and mythic symbols and archetypes for those of the dominant Diasporic cultures, thereby neutralizing idolatrous associations and permitting now-forgotten communal acceptance.                       


Glennis Mical Pryor Lamm
Unity By Way Of the Synagogue: Understanding the Unification of the Private and Public Spheres In First Century Jewish Communities
Center for Jewish Studies

Deena Aranoff (Coordinator)
Naomi Sheindel Seidman

This project explores the first century synagogue as a lens to see a previously unidentified sociological phase in early Jewish life. This phase is unique in that the private sphere of the home and the public sphere of the market, industry, and other public spaces are undifferentiated in their religious and cultural characteristics.                                                               


Sofia Lozano-Pallares
Hermanas De La Asunción Entre La Comunidad: Church, Faith and Justice Work in Chaparral, New Mexico
Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University
Eduardo C. Fernández, S.J. (Coordinator)
Randi J. Walker

This research focuses on the interwoven relationship between religious faith and civic engagement within an immigrant community in Chaparral, New Mexico. Specifically, it analyzes the synergy between fifty community leaders, the Sisters of Assumption and the ways that they have firmed up and formalized their commitment to civic engagement and community organizing as persons of faith together.


Patrick J. Murray
The Twelve Steps as Christian Spiritual Path
Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University

Alison Benders (Coordinator)
Arthur G. Holder

This thesis demonstrates how Richard Rohr, Thomas Keating, and Gerald May have interpreted the Twelve Steps as an updated version of a Christian spiritual program that reflects the evolution of modern consciousness away from rite and ritual towards a more universal understanding of ourselves and our relationship with God. Each of these authors presents an effective case, but they do so in ways that reflect their particular theological, ecclesiastical, and disciplinary perspectives.    


Kyung-June Park
Jonathan Edwards and Charles Grandison Finney on Revivals: Two Perspectives
San Francisco Theological Seminary
Christopher Ocker (Coordinator)
Randi J. Walker

A revival is a means of evangelizing many people; it raises people’s interest in religion and leads them to conversion. In this process, the human mind occupies an important position. Jonathan Edwards and Charles Grandison Finney understood the role of the human mind in conversion, and each applied it to their respective revival movements despite the differences in the theology of the leaders.


Caroline Elizabeth Read
Mary Ward’s Spirituality and Leadership as Inspired by Ignatian Spirituality and the Implications for Catholic Women’s Ordination
Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University

Lisa Fullam (Coordinator)
Kirsi Stjerna

A recusant Catholic living in early-modern Protestant England, Mary Ward experienced a vocation to an unenclosed religious life.  Empowered by Ignatian spirituality to follow her vocation despite impediments, Mary established an order for women in the form of the Society of Jesus. Ward’s example demonstrates the necessity of listening to women’s expressions of their vocations.


Bradley W. Seligmann
More in Deeds than in Words: Hospitality to the Religious Other in Jesuit Higher Education
Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University
Alison M. Benders (Coordinator)
Kevin O’Brien, S.J.

As Jesuit higher education faces a religiously diverse student population, care for the whole person, cura personalis, demands Jesuit institutions find ways to support the religious dimension of non-Christian students. Responding with an ethic of interreligious hospitality, welcoming the non-Christian as guest, will allow universities to support non-Christian students in concrete ways while remaining rooted in the Jesuit, Catholic tradition.                                                      


Christian Suba
The Eyes of James Baldwin: A Method of Critical Analysis on Behalf of the Marginalized
Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University
Jerome P. Baggett (Coordinator)
Fontella White Irons

This thesis illuminates the unique dimensions of James Baldwin’s critical method and demonstrates how his life as an intersectional minority provided him an excellent vantage point from which to uplift the disenfranchised and voiceless. Through the establishment of his critical lens, Baldwin provided the tools for not only fighting hidden and unjust power systems within his own time, but has also provided us a valuable critical method for our modern context.         


Sophie Vener
Speaking the Unspeakable: The Exposure and Concealing of Rabbinic Self-Awareness of the Dissonance between the Oral and Written Torahs from the Bavli to the Middle Ages
Center for Jewish Studies

Deena Aranoff (Coordinator)
Naomi Sheindel Seidman

In my thesis I do a literary analysis of Babylonian Talmud Bava Kamma 83b-84a. This section of Talmud illuminates an apparent conflict between the Oral and Written Torahs: The Oral Torah teaches financial compensation for physical damages and the Written Torah says "an eye for an eye." The thesis argues that this section of Talmud is a unique moment of rabbinic self-awareness and deliberate exposure of the distance between the Oral and Written Torahs. Furthermore, the rabbinic authors of the text depict traditional hermeneutics as means to resolve the apparent distance between the two discourses. The final chapter of the thesis examines how Ibn Ezra and Maimonides address the topic of financial compensation for physical damages.


Mary Dern Walker
Three Women’s Prayers in the First Century CE
Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University

Jean-François Racine (Coordinator)
Deena Aranoff

Comparing the prayers attributed to three women in literature from the first century CE reveals how their prayers served the varying purposes of the texts. The Song of Hannah in Pseudo-Philo’s Biblical Antiquities, the Magnificat of Mary from the Gospel of Luke, and the prayers of Callirhoe in Chariton’s Chaereas and Callirhoe form the basis of this investigation.                                                               

Akihiro Yasuda
Path - A Hermeneutic Lens for Religion: Spiritual Practice and Transformation in the Visuddhimagga and the Spiritual Exercises
Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University

Thomas Cattoi (Coordinator)
Richard K. Payne
Gil Fronsdal

This thesis explores the notion of Path in the Visuddhimagga written by Buddhaghoṣa in Theravāda Buddhism and the Spiritual Exercises by Ignatius in Catholicism, and it sees how an individual practitioner accomplishes self-transformation by means of spiritual practices. These texts share a structural similarity, which can be a framework for comparison that invites our understanding about the self and others.

Master of Arts with a Concentration in Biblical Languages

Sungeun Kim
San Francisco Theological Seminary
Eugene Eung-Chun Park (Coordinator)
Barbara Green, O.P.

Biblical Hebrew (Primary)
Biblical Greek (Secondary)
English (Modern Language)

Doctor of Philosophy


Therese Marie Ignacio Bjøernaas
Imago Dei as Imago Trinitatis: A Theology of Disability and Embodied Cognition
Systematic and Philosophical Theology
Marion Grau (Coordinator)
Jay Johnson
Rebecca Solevåg, VID Specialized University

This dissertation demonstrates how the illusion that disability is merely a medical condition has been sustained to a great extent by the classical understanding of the imago Dei as a disembodied rational substance. This understanding has played a vital role in shaping our modern respect for the virtues of independence and autonomy and our modern disrespect for people with disabilities. This study proposes a new analysis of disability as a social phenomenon. By asserting the unity of the mind and the body, it refutes the idea that human experience is universal or disembodied, deconstructs the opposition between ability and disability, and argues that the able are just as vulnerable and dependent on others as the disabled.


Levi Checketts
Homo Gubernator: A Moral Anthropology for New Technologies
Ethics and Social Theory
Lisa Fullam (Coordinator)
Ted F. Peters
Rodolfo John Alaniz, University of Texas, Austin      

Using insights from the Actor-Network Theory school of thought and the writings of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and Hans Jonas, this dissertation argues for a new understanding of what it means to be human in order to inform Catholic moral theology on new technologies. To be human is to be evolved, socially contingent, technologically interdependent and teleological.                     


Diandra E. Chretain
Colonization, Internal Violence, and Identity Formation: Ambivalent Portrayals of Power in the Book of Ezekiel
Biblical Studies

Barbara Green, O.P. (Coordinator)
Steed Davidson, McCormick Theological Seminary
Corrine Carvalho, University of St. Thomas

This dissertation illuminates the nuanced and intricate ways that contradictory modes of power and powerlessness simultaneously co-exist and conflict within the book of Ezekiel.  Utilizing literary and sociohistorical methods through a postcolonial optic, this study examines disputation speeches (Ezekiel 11:14-29; 33:23-29), metaphors (Ezekiel 16 and 23), and judgment/restoration oracles (Ezekiel 35:1-36:15) in order to show that Ezekiel’s exclusive ideology is inherently ambivalent.  This ideology simultaneously oppresses and liberates, provides power while illuminating disempowerment, and colonizes while resisting colonization.                                            


Philip Daniel Erwin
Paul and Image: Reading First Corinthians in Visual Terms
Biblical Studies
David Balch (Coordinator)
Annette Weissenrieder
John R. Clarke, University of Texas, Austin

This dissertation situates Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians in the context of a long-standing critical discourse on visual representation in ancient Greece and Rome. Further, it interprets First Corinthians as a visually-oriented text, which developed philosophical judgments on the veracity of visual representation in ways that informed and directed the critical perspectives of its ancient correspondents.                                                                      


Lawrence Robert Fraher
The Incarnational Imagination: Faith Formation as Shaping the Christian Imagination
Art and Religion
Rossitza Schroeder (Coordinator)
Eduardo C. Fernández, S.J.
Eileen Daily, Boston University

This dissertation argues that the principal work of Christian faith formation is the formation of the imagination.  Rooted in the works of William F. Lynch, S.J., and Alejandro García-Rivera, the project examines the relationship between the imagination and the disciplines of theological aesthetics and religious education from a particularly Catholic context. 


Kresten Froistad-Martin
Liberation and Casuistry: Joining Context-Based Methods for Ethical Approaches that Address Poverty
Ethics and Social Theory
Carol S. Robb (Coordinator)
William O’Neill, S.J.
Laura Stivers, Dominican University of California

Ethics limited to utilitarianism, human rights, or virtue theory are inadequate as stand-alone methods for complex realities associated with poverty. Key themes identified by contextualists of the 1960s are evident in liberation theorists and moral casuistry. Joining those methods provides a method for efforts of addressing poverty that retains the positive aspects of other classical theoretical methods in ethics.


Sean Matthew Gross
Parish the Thought: Examining U.S. Catholic Reception of - and Pastoral Responses to - Catholic Teaching on Homosexuality
Ethics and Social Theory
Lisa Fullam (Coordinator)
Jerome P. Baggett
Paul G. Crowley, S.J., Santa Clara University

This dissertation examines the sensus fidelium in the U.S. Roman Catholic context. The study specifically pertains to how pastors and lay ministers accommodate the diverse needs of those who disagree with one another while still preserving unity, as well as to how Catholic sexual minorities make sense of their place in the Catholic community.                


Christopher M. Hansen      
A Theological Approach to Healing and Growth: For Those Affected by Moral Injury, Operational Stress, and Trauma
Systematic and Philosophical Theology
Robert Russell (Coordinator)
Ted F. Peters
Gabriella Lettini
Mark W. Smith, Naval Chaplaincy School and Center

This study explores issues of internal moral conflict, moral injury, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PDST), from the lens of a developed theological anthropology that finds its foundation in Paul Tillich, Wolfhart Pannenberg, and Karl Rahner. This dissertation tests the theory that operational and combat stress experienced by military service members strains the imago Dei by numbing the human ability for connection and transcendence and, thus, necessitates a “rehumanizing” journey of healing through reconnection with God and others.


Jin Sook Kim
The Subject in Practice: A Lacanian Interpretation of Religious Practice
Systematic and Philosophical Theology
Jay Emerson Johnson (Coordinator)
George Griener, S.J.
Stefania Pandolfo, University of California, Berkeley

This dissertation constructs a new perspective on the Catholic Rite of Initiation of Adults by adopting the Lacanian theory of subjectivity and combining with the Freudian perspective of religious practice. I interpret that the Rite of Catholic Initiation of Adults has a two-fold structure of becoming a subject and a three-fold remission of evil.


Yoon Kyung Kim
Subaltern Characters: Agents for Social Change in 2 Kings 7:1-20
Biblical Studies

Gina Hens-Piazza (Coordinator)
Jean-François Racine
Pheng Cheah, University of California, Berkeley

This research puts three sets of subaltern characters (the four lepers, the king's servant, and the people) in 2 Kings 7 at the center of the research, and argues that these three sets of subaltern characters are significant in the narrative, and that they are legitimate subjects of history and crucial agents of social transformation in the midst of a national crisis.


Tae Woong Lee
The Resistance of Daniel and His Friends: A Postcolonial Satirical Reading of Daniel 1-6 in Its Sociopolitical Context
Biblical Studies
Gina Hens-Piazza (Coordinator)
Jean-François Racine
Pheng Cheah, University of California, Berkeley

This dissertation argues that Daniel 1–6 functioned satirically as resistance literature in the Antiochene era. This study employs four crucial elements––representation, hybridity, multidirectionality, and language gap––that are often used to critique colonizers satirically in postcolonial literature in order to analyze the resistant nature of Daniel 1–6.                             


Raphael Okitafumba Lokola
Shalom Against the Veil of War: A Reconstructive Narrative of Peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Ethics and Social Theory

William R. O’Neill, S.J. (Coordinator)
Marianne Farina, C.S.C.
Jay Carney, Creighton University

This dissertation proposes the shalom motif as a cogent moral framework for addressing and redressing the veil of war in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This proposal is justified from two interrelated standpoints. First, the recurrent failure of diplomatic initiatives to tackle the veil of war motivated the moral imagination of an alternative framework, such as the shalom motif. Second, the breadth and gravity of the veil of war require a complex and comprehensive approach to addressing the multitudinous woes. The shalom motif interpreted in light of the capabilities approach provides this much-needed reconstructive narrative that offers prospects for the gradual and yet stable removal of the veil of war in the DRC.


Hollis Anne Mitchem
Sailors, Soldiers and Saints: Religious Paintings for the American Military in World War II
Art and Religion

Rossitza Schroeder (Coordinator)
Devin Phillip Zuber
Frank Burch Brown, Christian Theological Seminary

This dissertation constructs a chronological narrative concerning triptych altarpieces created by American artists that were distributed to the American Armed Forces during World War II, situating the project and triptychs within the cultural contexts of the Catholic Liturgical Movement and artworks commissioned by the Federal Art Project. It includes the altarpieces into a broader discussion of Christian art, contextualizes the triumphalist visual discourses of the triptychs within the cultural history of American exceptionalism, and concludes by identifying the postwar distribution and current locations of many extant triptychs.                                


Robert Kammer Peach
Wrestling with White Religion: An Autoethnography on White Engagement of the Hip-Hop Underground
Interdisciplinary Studies

Devin Phillip Zuber (Coordinator)
Inese Radzins
Christopher M. Driscoll, Lehigh University
A. Terrance Wiley, Haverford College

This dissertation creates a framework for better understanding how and what whites can learn from practicing hip-hop culture. Deploying personal narrative as a method of socio-cultural analysis—"autoethnography"—it argues that by taking seriously black cultural critiques of whiteness, particularly as they manifest in African American forms of bodily and linguistic expression that resist the constraining demands of dominant white society on the black individual and social body, white scholars of religion can learn to incorporate racially just ideologies into their scholarship and thus show up for racial justice. The self-study hones in on the author's ritual incorporation into a predominately black Christian church in Berkeley, California, called The Way Christian Center.


Dante Ronald Quick
Toward a Black Pneumatology: An Exploration of Martin Luther King Jr. and Kelly Brown Douglas
Philosophical and Systematic Theology
Jay Emerson Johnson (Coordinator)
Gabriella Lettini
Dwight N. Hopkins, University of Chicago Divinity School

This dissertation engages diasporic voices towards an exploration of the Holy Spirit and argues that Western theology and Black theology (in particular) lacks a critical engagement with the Spirit. Hence, a “Diasporic” Pneumatology offers notions of the Spirit that eclipse Western doctrinal categories by engaging discursive modalities within “horizons of memory” which include slave fields, trans-Atlantic slave ships and Africa.


Dustyn Kainoa Ragasa
Raising Hawai’i: Moral Luck and the Moral Imagination
Ethics and Social Theory

Lisa Fullam (Coordinator)
Cynthia Moe-Lobeda
James F. Keenan, S.J., Boston College

This dissertation identifies a causal discontinuity between phantasmata and act in the moral imagination due to an effect of moral luck, namely, a persistent misapprehension of one's abilities to achieve an imagined end on account of formative environmental factors. The study shows how a group of Native Hawaiian seafarers overcame such an effect of internalized American oppression through the cultivation of friendship.                                                                                                             


Daniel G. Shantu
Is Truth Intelligible? The Myth of John Hick's Copernican Revolution and The Salvific Centrality of Christ
Systematic and Philosophical Theology

Michael J. Dodds, O.P. (Coordinator)
Ted F. Peters
Lara Buchak, University of California, Berkeley

The crucial question for Christians is how to articulate the central tenet of Christianity—Christ is the Savior of the world—in relation to other faith traditions. John Hick called for the replacement of the salvific centrality of Christ with “the Real.”  This dissertation argues that God’s saving acts for all humanity are centered and find objective grounding in Christ, and this does not negate the truths in other religions.                                                              


Eleanor Shapiro
The Sound of Change? Performing "Jewishness" in Polish Small Towns
Interdisciplinary Studies

Naomi Sheindel Seidman (Coordinator)
Judith A. Berling
Michael Steinlauf, Gratz College
Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, New York University

When Jewish cultural festivals began in a few Polish small towns about fifteen years ago, they broke the silence regarding the local Jewish past. Music, specifically, attracts people to festivals, which may also include exhibits, film, other performing arts, tours, lectures, and competitions. Within this context, music performance that contributes to commemoration and celebration of the Jewish “Other” may thereby help expand understanding of local history and reinforce pluralist values.


Stephen R. Shaver
Metaphors of Eucharistic Presence: A Cognitive Linguistics Approach to an Ecumenical Theology of Bread, Wine, and the Body and Blood of Christ
Liturgical Studies
Ruth A. Meyers (Coordinator)
Michael B. Aune
Eve E. Sweetser, University of California, Berkeley
Gary Macy

Bringing together eucharistic theology and cognitive linguistics, this dissertation argues that human cognition is grounded in sensorimotor experience and metaphor and figurative language are basic building blocks of thought. Inherited models of the eucharist, then, are not mutually exclusive; rather, they can serve as complementary members of a shared ecumenical repertoire of “metaphors of eucharistic presence.”                                                             


Shijung Shim
The Rhetoric and Reality of Mother Love among Younger-Generation Korean American Women from a Feminist Pastoral Theological Perspective
Liturgical Studies
Herbert Anderson (Coordinator)
Lewis R. Rambo
Rebecca Kim, Pepperdine University

The cultural aspects of the mother love that emphasizes self-sacrifice and informs younger-generation Korean American women’s mothering is evaluated in terms of equal regard and mutuality, providing a reconstructed concept of mother love that is beneficial to these Korean American women by considering the contexts of women-mothering and racialized mothering from a feminist pastoral theological perspective.                                                                       


Khalia Jelks Williams
“Flesh that Dances”: Constructing a Womanist Liturgical Theology of Embodiment
Liturgical Studies
Mary E. McGann, R.S.C.J. (Coordinator)
Jennifer Wilkins Davidson
Donna E. Allen
Shannon Steen, University of California, Berkeley

This dissertation argues that embodied experiences of African American women are crucial consideration for a womanist liturgical theology of embodiment. Through the intersection of womanist theory, dance performance analysis and liturgical theology, this project engages worship in the Black Christian church by interpreting liturgical experiences of African American women through a womanist lens of wholeness.


Ann R. Woods
An Ancient Voice in the Contemporary Wilderness: Reclaiming Asceticism as a Christian Response to Climate Change
Theology & Ethics
Lisa Fullam (Coordinator)
Thomas Cattoi
Aristotle Papanikolaou, Fordham University
John Chryssavgis, Theological Advisor to the Ecumenical Patriarch on Environmental Issues

This dissertation argues for developing the tradition of Christian domestic asceticism into a foundation and framework from which Christians can enact changes at the personal or household level that are needed as a response to the climate crisis.