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MERA fellows at the 2017 convening in San Diego
MERA fellows at the 2017 convening in San Diego

MAVCOR celebrates the achievements of our Material Economies of Religion (MERA) fellows.

Congratulations to fellows Judith Weisenfeld, Lerone Martin, and Claudia Brittenham, all of whom received National Endowment of the Humanities grants to support work on their book projects, respectively Psychiatry, Race and African American Religion in the Late 19th and Early 20th Centuries; J. Edgar Hoover’s Stained Glass Window: The FBI, Religion, and National Security in American History, 1935–72; Unseen Art: Memory, Vision, and Power in Ancient Mesoamerica.

Ellen Amster was awarded a Canadian Institute for Health Research Population Health Global Health Planning Grant for 2018 for her project “The Morocco-Canada Network for Maternal and Infant Health: Determining Research Priorities and a Framework for Action.”

Several MERA fellows published books in 2017. Judith Weisenfeld's New World A-Coming: Black Religion and Racial Identity during the Great Migration (NYU Press, 2017) is the recipient of the 2017 Albert J. Raboteau Prize for the Best Book in Africana Religions.

Cécile Fromont is winner of the Arnold Rubin Outstanding Publication Award, presented by the Arts Council of the African Studies Association, for her book The Art of Conversion: Christian Visual Culture in the Kingdom of the Kongo (University of North Carolina Press, 2014).

Sarah Rivett's book, Unscripted America: Indigenous Languages and the Origins of a Literary Nation, was published November 2017 by Oxford University Press. 

Kathryn Lofton's Consuming Religion, from University of Chicago Press, came out in September 2017. 

Tracy Fessenden's Religion Around Billie Holiday (Penn State University Press) is available for preorder and will release March 2018.

Pamela E. Klassen's The Story of Radio Mind: A Missionary’s Journey on Indigenous Lands is forthcoming in spring 2018 from University of Chicago Press.

Hillary Kaell's edited volume Everyday Sacred: Religion in Contemporary Quebec was published by McGill-Queen’s University Press in November 2017.

Our fellows published many articles and blog posts:

Carolyn Dean and Dana Leibsohn published “Scorned Subjects in Colonial Objects” in Material Religion 13, no. 4, part of a special issue on Material Religion in Latin America.

Ellen Amster published “The Mad Saint as Healer: The Islamic Majnun in al-Kattani’s Salwat al-Anfas and in French Colonial Medicine and Sociologie,” in Sign or Symptom? Exceptional Corporeal Phenomena in Medicine and Religion (19th and 20th century), eds. Henk de Smaele, Tineke Osselaer, and Kaat Wils-Verhaegen (Leuven: University of Leuven Press, 2017).

Maya J. Berry published “Toward a Fugitive Anthropology: Gender, Race, and Violence in the Field," with colleagues Claudia Chávez Argüelles, Shanya Cordis, Sarah Ihmoud, and Ruth Velásquez Estrada in Cultural Anthropology 32, no. 4 (2017). Laura A. LeVon then developed a teaching tool to help engage with the article in the classroom, which is available here

Suzanne van Geuns and Kambiz Ghanea-Bassiri wrote about the Trump Muslim ban as a symptom of white nationalism, and van Geuns wrote separately about Black Pete in the Netherlands and an op-ed about Charlottesville for Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant.

Lerone Martin has a forthcoming article, "Bureau Clergyman: How the FBI Colluded with an African American Televangelist to Destroy Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr,” in Religion and American Culture: A Journal of Interpretation 28, no. 1, pp. 1-51.

Several MERA fellows have contributed to the Immanent Frame’s project #IsThisAllThereIs:

Kathryn Lofton, “This is Not Fine”
Tracy Fessenden, “The lady is unvanquished”
Sonia Hazard, “Do my socks respond to my caress?”
David Walker, “The End of the Circus”
Kati Curts, “Spiral glimpses”
Pamela E. Klassen, “Epic Lives”
Paul Christopher Johnson, "Democracity, 2042"

Father’s Kingdom, a new documentary about Father Divine, in which MERA fellow Judith Weisenfeld appears, premiered at NYC DOC in November 2017.