Holstein Dissertation Fellowship Mentors 2022-2023

Sahin Acikgoz

Sahin Acikgoz is an Assistant Professor of Islam, Gender, and Sexuality in the Department of Religious Studies and a member of the executive committee of the Middle East and Islamic Studies Program at the University of California, Riverside. They were a Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow in Religious Studies at UC Riverside from 2020 to 2022. They received their Ph.D. in Comparative Literature and LGBTQ Studies from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where they cofounded the Transnational Gender and Sexuality Studies Rackham Interdisciplinary Workshop and were the Mary Fair Croushore Graduate Fellow at the Institute for the Humanities. They were also the recipient of the 2019 Sarah Pettit Doctoral Fellowship in LGBT Studies at Yale University and the Holstein Dissertation Fellowship in Queer and Transgender Studies in Religion at the University of California, Riverside. Their research areas are Queer and Trans Studies in Islam, Slavery, Gender and Sexuality in Islamicate Societies, Trans of Color Critique, Global South, Transnational Feminisms, and Gender Politics in the Middle East.

Mentee: Emma Thompson

Amy Holmes-Tagchungdarpa

Amy Holmes-Tagchungdarpa (she/her/hers) is an associate professor of Religious Studies and Asian Studies at Occidental College in Los Angeles. Prof. Holmes-Tagchungdarpa teaches courses that connect religion to cultural history, community formation, empire, gender, media, material culture, and anthropology. Her research explores the cosmological and material interactions that have shaped the cultures and histories of the Himalayas on a regional and global level. 

Mentee: Learned Foote

Bryan C. Keene

Dr. Bryan C. Keene (he/él/they/elle) teaches art history and museum studies at Riverside City College, where he advocates for LGBTQIA2+ student success. Professor Keene is also a curator who promotes equity in the display of premodern art and has conceived exhibitions, digital and social media initiatives, international partnerships, and multiple publications as a member of the Manuscripts Department at the Getty. Scholarly works include Toward a Global Middle Ages: Encountering the World through Illuminated Manuscripts (Getty, 2019), an edited volume featuring contributions by twenty-six scholars on book arts from Afro-Eurasia, the Americas, and Austronesia; New Horizons in Trecento Italian Art (edited with Karl Whittongton; Brepols, 2021); and The Fantasy of the Middle Ages: An Epic Journey through Imaginary Medieval Worlds (with Larisa Grollemond; Getty, 2022). His current projects are a monograph on fourteenth-century Italian illuminated liturgical manuscripts and writings on queer medieval art history.  Keene received a Ph.D. from The Courtauld Institute of Art and has held leadership and service roles in the International Center of Medieval Art, the Medieval Academy of America, and the Association of Art Museum Curators.

Mentee: David Carrillo-Rangel

Melissa Pagán

Dr. Melissa Pagán is a decolonial feminist ethicist. She holds a Ph.D. in Religion, Ethics, and Society from Emory University. Her current book project “A Decolonialista Theology and Ethics” (tentative title) aims to bridge gaps existent between mujerista theologies and Latinx, transnational, and intercultural feminist theologies. To do so her text provides an exposition and analysis of her twofold feminist decolonial hermeneutic—hermeneutics of el grito and hermeneutics of vincularidad—to deepen and enhance our understanding of lo cotidiano through the lens of the coloniality of gender and highlights the ontological, phenomenological, epistemological, as well as the spatial violences and modes of dispossession experienced therein.  Dr. Pagán’s areas of expertise and teaching include feminist social ethics, postcolonial and decolonial theories and theologies, and Latinx theologies. She currently serves as Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Religious Studies at Mount Saint Mary’s University in Los Angeles.

Mentee: Evan Marsolek

Jennifer A. Thompson

Jennifer A. Thompson is the Maurice Amado Professor of Applied Jewish Ethics and Civic Engagement and Director of the Jewish Studies Program at California State University, Northridge, in Los Angeles. Her research uses ethnography to investigate the cultural and moral categories that contemporary American Jews use to organize their individual and collective lives. She is the author of Jewish On Their Own Terms: How Intermarried Couples are Changing American Judaism from Rutgers University Press, which examined the gap between discourses about intermarriage and the lived experiences of intermarried Jews, and co-editor with Allison B. Wolf of Applied Jewish Ethics: Beyond the Rabbinic Tradition (forthcoming from Lexington Books) and the book series New Directions in Applied Jewish Ethics, also with Lexington

Books. She serves on the editorial boards of Contemporary Jewry and the Journal of Jewish Identities, and recently finished a four-year term as Secretary of the Association for the Social-Scientific Study of Jewry.

Mentee: Mie Jensen