Class of 2009
| Jessica Freedman
Jessica studied Indian Religions, with primary interest in the colonial and post-colonial period. Recent research topics include religious nationalism, the construction of religion in conflict situations, and the history and dynamics of the conflict in Jammu and Kashmir. Jessica spent a semester in Bodh Gaya, India in 2003, and conducted a research project in Dharmsala about the influence of Gandhian ideals on Tibetan politics.
| Mark Feroze Kanga
Mark’s research interests were in the pre-modern religious traditions of South Asia. While at the Department, he focused on doctrinal history and ritual performance associated with Indian Mahayana Buddhism and Hindu Bhakta and Shaiva traditions.
| Justin Stein
M.A. Thesis: The Many Lives of Usui Mikao: Authority and Authenticity in Myths of Reiki’s Founder
In his M.A. coursework and research, Justin studied modern Japanese religion and contemporary American spirituality, focusing on the use of shamanic or magical practices, including healing and spirit possession, by new religious movements and cultures. His thesis on diverse representations of Reiki by its practitioners in Japan and America builds upon research he began as a Watson Fellow in 2001 and 2002. After working for one year as a lecturer at Windward Community College, Justin has enrolled as a Ph.D. student at the Centre for the Study of Religion at the University of Toronto, where he continues to research the dialogue between American and Japanese spirituality in the formulation of “spiritual science.”
| Christine Walters
M.A. Thesis: American Buddhism as Identity and Practice: Scholarly Classifications of Buddhists in the United States During her Master’s coursework, Christine focused on Buddhism, racial formation theory, and the history of Asian immigration to the United States. Her thesis proposed a model of denominationalism to account for religious identification within American Buddhist communities. She currently serves as a full-time lecturer at Leeward Community College.
| Joe Waters
Joe studied the religions of India and focused specifically on ancient Hinduism and early Buddhism. He is also interested in Native American religions and culture, and mysticism.