Scholarship holders 2020
MA Clara Marlijn Meijer, Study of Religions, Åbo Akademi University (12 months)
Marlijn Meijer’s study explores how Ghanaian young adults identifying as sexual minorities negotiate their sexual and religious identities in their daily lives in Accra, Ghana. Her study is focused on everyday religion, stigma and intersectionality with an emphasis on gendered sexualities and religion. This study aims to contribute to the study of religion by bringing nuance regarding non-normative gender identities, sexuality and religion, beyond the dominant ‘sex-negative’ discourse.
The material was collected in 2018 in Accra, in collaboration with a Ghanaian human rights NGO. Thirty-one participants completed the Faith Q-Sort and were interviewed on religion and sexuality. The Faith Q-Sort is a new instrument well-suited for the study of everyday religion. In this study, it provides a new perspective on sexual minorities and their faith or religious background. Her study is part of the international research project ‘Young Adults and Religion in a Global Perspective and the Doctoral Training Network for Minority Research. Her research interests are around everyday religion, gender, sexuality, minority groups, social exclusion, intersectionality and agency.
MA Mercédesz Czimbalmos, Study of Religions, Åbo Akademi University (6 months)
Czimbalmos’ background is in Jewish Studies, Comparative Religion, Cultural Studies and Japanese Studies. Her research interest includes contemporary Judaism, intercultural and interreligious encounters. Currently, she is working on her doctoral dissertation studying intermarriages in Finnish Jewish communities.
ThM Victor Dudas, Psychology of Religion, Uppsala University (6 months)
My research project is about the process of developing an identity among a group of Assyrian/Syriac (a religious and ethnic minority that originates from several areas in the Middle East) pupils at two elementary schools in Sweden. Children and youths that view themselves as Assyrians/Syriacs face challenges related to integration while also maintaining a heritage (e.g., language, religious beliefs and practices) that has been passed down through generations of Assyrians/Syriacs. Despite of these challenges, previous research have seldom turned its attention to these age groups. The purpose of the study is to explore how these pupils go about to maintain and form their identity in relation to specific domains in their life. In this study, these domains refer to their education (i.e., the school that they are enrolled in), their best friends and their religious faith. I use theories regarding how identity (personal and social) is developed and how development takes place in several systems (e.g., family, school, neighborhood, city district) that are nested in each other. My research methods consist of questionnaires and interviews where I inquire about, among other topics, with what groups the pupils identify with and in what way.
BTh Ingrid Malm Lindberg, Philosophy of Religion, Uppsala University (6 months)
My doctoral research project relates to the field of Philosophy of Religion and is entitled The cognitive role of imagination in science and religion. A critical examination of its epistemic, creative, and meaning making functions. In this project, I study the role of imagination in religious and natural scientific practices. The primary focus concerns its potential epistemic, creative and meaning-making functions. The central theoretical framework originates from the philosophy of mind, which examines the nature of mind, various mental processes and their connection to the physical body. By using this framework, I analyse the functions of imagination in religion and natural science. I focus especially on the following themes in the philosophy of mind: (a) distinctions between different types of imagination, (b) the relation between perception and inner mental images (sensory imagination), and (c) the distinction between different propositional attitudes (such as belief, desire and imagination) and how these interact with each other. I also investigate the role of imagination in narration and visualization, and how this is expressed in religious and natural scientific models and thought experiments.
MA Ella Poutiainen, Gender Studies, University of Turku (6 months)
My research deals with feminist nuances in contemporary women’s spirituality in Finnish and Anglo-American contexts. I’m interested in how women’s spirituality is, in the current post-secular situation, both increasingly feminist in tone and ambivalently political. I question how spirituality functions as means for agency and societal change, and explore entanglements and tensions between spirituality and feminism. The research material consist of multisited ethnographic fieldwork. Theoretically the research is located in the fields of feminist new materialism and affect theory. I make use of for example Rosi Braidottis notion of affirmative political subjectivity and Sara Ahmed’s theorisations of the politics of feelings to study how spirituality functions as gendered means to deal with societal issues.