Holstein Dissertation Fellows 2023-2024

Erum Nazeer Dahar

Rumi D is an AHRC-funded Ph.D. candidate in the School of History, Religions, and Philosophies at SOAS. His collectively-produced research explores the spiritual, political, and philosophical project that is becoming a queer/trans Muslim. The communal nature and queer temporalities and orientations of the becoming journey are reflected in oral history interviews, in which primarily LGBTQIA+ Muslims wove together their life histories and relationships with Islam, Islamic feminism, and (inclusive) Muslim spaces. They reveal the development of liberatory hermeneutics and spiritual-political praxis of queer, trans, and Islamic feminist bearings. Rumi is developing their research into a physical exhibition and a digital archive with a research interlocutor and a spiritual co-conspirator, in order to bring these stories to their wider LGBTQIA+ and feminist Muslim community. He is also a reader of the Queen Mary Wasafiri New Writing Prize and a trustee of the Oral History Society.

Mentor: Sahin Acikgoz

Israel L. Domínguez

Israel L. Domínguez is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Religious Studies at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He holds a BA in religious studies from The University of Texas at Austin and an MA in religious studies from the University of Colorado, Boulder. A queer Tejano born and raised in the Río Grande Valley, Gloria Anzaldúa's work has always highly resonated with him; her theorizing has inspired his dissertation research on curanderismo of the US-México borderlands and its intersections with decolonizing, queerness, racialization, and disability.

Mentor: Rudy Busto

Kori K. R. Pacyniak

Kori K. R. Pacyniak (they/them) is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of California, Riverside, focusing on Queer and Trans Studies in Religion. Their dissertation examines the lived religious experiences of transgender Catholics through ritual, ethics, and the construction of identity. In addition, they enjoy studying the intersections of religion, queerness, and popular culture. An ordained catholic priest, much of Kori’s work and ministry focuses on making sure queer and trans people have the liturgical and theological resources to reclaim spiritual and faith traditions. Kori also serves on the anti-oppression task force of the Women’s Ordination Conference (WOC), the steering committee of TransEpiscopal, and the board of the LGBTQ Religious Archives Network. Previously Kori served as pastor of Mary Magdalene Apostle Catholic Community in San Diego in 2017. Kori earned a Master of Divinity (MDiv) from Harvard Divinity School and a Master of Sacred Theology (STM) from Boston University School of Theology. Kori is currently working on a co-authored book Paschal People: Trans Theology through the Liturgical Year, scheduled to be published in 2025.

Mentor: Elizabeth Pérez

Tracey Maswazi Sibisi

Tracey Maswazi Sibisi is a Ph.D. student in the Gender and Religion Program at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. She has successfully completed an undergraduate qualification in Psychology and Communications and an Honors and Master's in Gender and Religion. She currently works as a Programs Manager at Uthingo Network, an LGBTI+ human-rights organization located in KwaZulu-Natal South Africa. Through her scholarship in Queer Studies and Religion, in collaboration with her queer advocacy work, she has engaged issues of gender, sexuality, religion, and culture within urban and rural settings by engaging various stakeholders, including religious and traditional leaders within the African context. Within her scope of work, she has had opportunities for learning, dialogue, and intervention that have extended to the All-Africa Theological Education by Extension (AATEE), where she has been active in sensitization and resource sharing in countries such as Ghana and Rwanda. Further engaging this work through the use of Contextual Bible Studies (CBS) facilitated in partnership with Ujamaa Centre in South Africa and Kenya. Tracey is passionate about work engaging issues of homophobic hate crimes, looking at the causality, embodied experience, impact on various communities, and holistic care. Through continued learning, she would like to journey towards developing resources for continued intervention and queer inclusion in faith-based spaces and the general community.

Mentor: Peter Mena