People

 

Senior Staff


Diana L. Eck

Professor of Comparative Religion and Indian Studies, Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Director, The Pluralism Project

Website

Bio

Full-size Photo

Articles and Talks

Curriculum Vitæ [PDF]



Elinor J. Pierce

Research Director

Elinor began working for the Pluralism Project as a student field researcher in San Francisco; she was a section editor for the CD-ROM On Common Ground: World Religions in America and co-editor of World Religions in Boston: A Guide to Communities and Resources. She has been involved in "Religious Diversity News" since its inception in 1997. She developed the Women’s Networks Initiative, and was a content advisor for Acting on Faith: Women’s New Religious Activism in America. Elinor co-produced and co-directed the documentary film Fremont, U.S.A., together with Rachel Antell. She completed her B.A. in anthropology and international studies, with a core in religious studies, from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota (1988); she earned her Master of Theological Studies degree from the Harvard Divinity School (1996). Elinor currently leads the case study initiative.


Whittney Barth

Assistant Director

Whittney began her work with the Pluralism Project as a research associate for our Religious Diversity News in 2010 and continues to work on projects related to the interfaith infrastructure of the United States. In addition to studying religious pluralism academically, she has worked with several interfaith organizations including the Interfaith Youth Core, the Chautauqua Institution, and the Harvard Interfaith Collaborative. As assistant director, Whittney manages student research, manages our summer research programs, provides administrative and financial oversight, and participates in a number of local and national initiatives, conferences, and events on behalf of the Project. Whittney received her BA in comparative religion and American studies with a minor in political science from Miami University (Oxford, Ohio) in 2008. She earned a Master of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School (2011) where she completed a thesis project exploring the possibilities of integrating interfaith engagement and ecological awareness in response to the growing sense of "placelessness" in modern life.


Ryan R. Overbey

Webmaster

Ryan received his Ph.D. in the Study of Religion from Harvard University in 2010 and his A.B. in Classics & Sanskrit and Religious Studies from Brown University in 2001. He has served as a web assistant and web developer for the Pluralism Project since 2006, and as a Postdoctoral Fellow in 2010–2011. In addition to updating the content for the Pluralism Project website, he has undertaken a major rewrite of the site’s underlying architecture, and developed the infrastructure for the new edition of World Religions in Greater Boston.


Summer Interns

Emma Bass

Emma Bass is a religious studies and international relations student at Mount Allison University. She is interested in the study of contemporary Buddhist practice in North America. This past year she traveled to the Bay Area to conduct interviews with Buddhist centers and scholars in order to gain a deeper understanding of the many forms of practice. She turned these interviews into a podcast series, Broadcasting Buddhism, which explores key themes and questions that arise when researching Buddhist practice in North America. Outside of the classroom Emma is the Managing Editor of a student-run arts and culture magazine, Zettel Magazine.


Mahek Bhojani

A Sugar Land, TX native, Mahek is a graduate of New York University where she obtained her BA in economics and Middle Eastern and Islamic studies. During her time at NYU, she studied abroad in London and Abu Dhabi and volunteered with organizations including the Institute of Ismaili Studies. Mahek is passionate about exploring the intersection between religion and law and plans to pursue a JD in international law. Outside of academics, Mahek enjoys travelling, playing basketball, and is an epicure at heart.


Shannon Boley

Shannon Boley is majoring in religious studies at Hamilton College. She focuses on religious diversity in America, and on India’s religious landscape: specifically the East/West encounter. She is also interested in the intersection of gender and religion. Her previous research experience includes studying how religious spaces in Utica, NY have changed over time based on the arrival of immigrant and refugee populations and looking at how distinct, ethnic traditions have shaped some of Utica’s Catholic churches. In the fall, she will be in India researching the concept of inter-religious cooperation in India’s NGOs and plans to study Catholicism in Rome, Italy the following spring. In her free time, Shannon enjoys painting and writing poetry.


Faezeh Fathizadeh

Faezeh is a senior at the University of California, Riverside where she is pursuing a degree in religious studies. Her interests involve understanding the dynamics of pluralism and syncretism in intra-religious dialogue. She has previously done research on the intersection between the impact of media on identity formation and the role of communal spaces for Muslim students on college campuses. Her interests include contemporary ethnographies of minority religious populations in the U.S. and abroad, and Islamic biblical hermeneutics. Faezeh serves as the president of the religious studies undergraduate club and has organized an interfaith panel to increase multi-religious understanding and pluralism on her college campus. Last summer, Faezeh attended Karamah’s Law and leadership program in D.C. where she learned about Islamic law, empowerment and civic engagement. In addition to her passion for studying various religious traditions, Faezeh loves painting, learning Semitic languages and advocating for social justice issues.


Julia Hintlian

Julia Hintlian is an undergraduate majoring in religious studies at the University of Pennsylvania. She is very interested in languages, speaking French, conversational Armenian and Turkish, and currently studying Arabic and Irish Gaelic. Additionally, she has spent a great deal of time observing and cultivating an interest in the various ways that people throughout the world connect with and participate in their religious traditions. She has interned with the Lumbini International Research Institute in Lumbini, Nepal (the birthplace of the Buddha), the Armenian Monuments Awareness Project in Yerevan, Armenia, the alNahda Islamic Women’s Center in Rabat, Morocco, and she has also volunteered and studied in Turkey and in France. In the future, Julia hopes to study and understand how religious tradition and practice affects systems of law around the world.


Charlotte Isaac

Charlotte Isaac is a rising senior at Queens College studying anthropology and Arabic with a focus on the role of language in conflict resolution. At the same time, she works with the Center for Ethnic, Racial, and Religious Understanding and the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York to plan interfaith programming that aims to build camaraderie between college students of different faiths. In addition, Charlotte will begin her new role as Ibrahim Student Leadership and Dialogue in the Middle East project fellow this May with a trip to several countries in the Middle East including Israel, Oman, and Saudi Arabia.


Tyler Jankauskas

Tyler Jankauskas is a Harvard undergraduate concentrating in Social Studies with a focus in Continental Philosophy and Transformative Politics. Outside of his studies Tyler is involved in prison tutoring and tutoring in civics, as well as comedy writing with Harvard's Satire V.


Zuki Ragde

Zuki Ragde is a rising senior at Carleton College in Northfield, MN. She is majoring in religion, and is particularly passionate about the intersection of religion, politics, and gender. In the past, Zuki has curated an exhibit about the experiences of Somali Muslim students in Minnesota and conducted research on the family structures of fundamentalist Evangelical communities. She hopes to pursue doctoral study in religion after graduating. This summer Zuki will be conducting research for the Pluralism Project in the Greater Boston area.


Avi Rothfeld

Avi is a rising senior at New York University studying history and religious studies. He has been involved in NYU’s Jewish community and various interfaith initiatives on campus. This past year he served as Co-President of Bridges, a student-led Muslim-Jewish dialogue group. With Bridges, he has taken part in three interfaith service trips, working in disaster-stricken areas in the Midwest. He was also an intern for Global Spiritual Life at NYU, an office that creates spaces for multifaith and spiritual encounters on campus. Before attending NYU, Avi spent a year in Jerusalem studying in a yeshiva. He is interested in exploring the roles and the limitations of interfaith dialogue in an increasingly diverse American religious landscape.


Anna Lee White

Anna Lee White is a recent graduate from Mount Holyoke College, where she double majored in anthropology and South Asian studies with a certificate in Buddhist studies. She has previously studied in India and Nepal and conducted research on education's role in preserving the cultural and religious traditions of Tibetan refugees. Anna Lee is excited to learn more about religious pluralism in her home state of New Hampshire. Next year she will be studying Hindi for nine months at the American Institute of Indian Studies in Jaipur, India, and she hopes to study South Asian religions during graduate school in the future.


Senior Research Associates

Brendan Randall

Senior Research Associate

Brendan Randall is a recovering lawyer and teacher who currently is studying religion, law and education as a doctoral candidate at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE). He is interested in how schools can prepare students to live in a religiously diverse democratic society, and his research focuses on civic education for pluralism. Brendan also has a Master of Education from HGSE in school leadership and a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School in religion, ethics, and politics. Before returning to graduate school, Brendan taught history, applied ethics and comparative religion at the Emma Willard School, an independent, all-girls boarding school in Troy, NY.


Research Associates

Maggie Kreuger

Maggie Krueger is a Master of Theological Studies candidate at Harvard Divinity School with a focus in religion, ethics and politics. She obtained her undergraduate degree in journalism from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio in 2014, where she developed an interest in religion reporting, international relations and social justice. Maggie also has a passion for traveling, studying and working in such diverse places as Tel Aviv, Israel, Leipzig, Germany and New Delhi, India. A Chicagoland native, she looks forward to exploring Boston, understanding the breadth of religious pluralism around her and learning more about food justice and agricultural politics in her free time.


Mary Kate “MK” Long

MK is a Master of Theological Studies candidate at Harvard Divinity School where she focuses on Theravada Buddhist literature and practice in South and Southeast Asia. After completing a BA in Religion at Smith College, she bicycled across the USA to raise money for affordable housing, taught at a rural primary school near Varanasi, India, and managed environmental field stations in Bhutan, Australia and New Zealand for The School for Field Studies. Drawn back to the academic world, MK completed an MA in International Relations & Religion at Boston University in 2014, where she pursued research on religious diversity in Burma/Myanmar and the relationships between Burmese Buddhist ritual practice and the formation of political communities. MK plans to continue to prepare for doctoral work in Buddhist Studies by grappling with exciting challenges at HDS and The Pluralism Project.


Cody Musselman

Cody is a Master of Theological Studies candidate at Harvard Divinity School, focusing on American religious history, with a special interest in the American interFaith movement, American Civil Religion, the American Civil War and material culture. She obtained a BA in religious studies from Kalamazoo College. During her time at Kalamazoo, she studied abroad in Chiang Mai, Thailand with the International Sustainable Development Studies Institute. In the future Cody aims to pursue doctoral study in religion.


Abhishek Raman

A native of New Delhi, India, Abhishek is a Master of Divinity candidate with a focus on Hinduism at Harvard Divinity School. After graduating from Clark University with a double major in Government & International Relations and Sociology, Abhishek initially worked at Harvard's Pluralism Project on the Case Study Initiative before moving to Chicago to work at Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC). In 2013, Abhishek was selected by the World Economic Forum as a Global Shaper, a group of leaders under the age of 30 charged with catalyzing positive social change in their respective communities. He is a Resident at Harvard's Center for the Study of World Religions, serves as a Young Professional Ambassador of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, and regularly consults with political organizations and candidates on developing faith-based partnerships. Abhishek is the quintessential political news junkie and spends his free time rooting for the Boston Red Sox and the New England Patriots.