MDiv Senior Thesis Presentations

MDiv Senior Thesis Presentations

Spring Quarter 2023

All are welcome to attend Senior Thesis presentations by our 3rd-year Master of Divinity students. The Senior MDiv Thesis and Project is an in-depth exploration of a question or issue in religious leadership, an opportunity to wrestle with contemporary problems or possibilities in religious life, and make meaningful contributions to the practice of theological conversations. 

Sydney Callaway: Wednesday, March 29th 5:30 pm. Swift Hall, Third Floor Lecture Hall. "Divinity Meets Economics: Collaborative Research Methodologies in Experimental Economics."

This event offers a unique space where we can explore the differences and similarities between these two disciplines while centering important questions in economics and integrating key concepts from religious scholarship. (For those observing Ramadan: Dates, water, fruit, and prayer space will be provided in Swift Hall Common Room)

Shradha Jain: March 31, 5:45 pm. Third Floor Lecture Hall, as part of the Jain Lectureship.

Danny Sanchez: Monday, April 17, 7 pm, Disciples Divinity House: "The Unbundling of Religion in America."

Emily King: Tuesday, April 18th, 5pm. Third Floor Lecture Hall, Swift Hall. "A Saint's Notebook: Writing at the End with Simone Weil."  What does it mean to at the end of one's life -- at the end of the world? 

Charlotte Long: Monday, April 24, 5pm, Third Floor Theater in Ida Noyes; "Holy Kin: Mystical Implications for Engaging With the Historical Context of Teresa of Ávila" In an era where it is easy to appropriate real, historical figures for our religious, political and ideological purposes, how can we ever claim to know the real truth about anyone from our histories? How can we ever claim to admire historical figures if we can never know who they were? This presentation uses the case study of Teresa of Ávila, or Teresa de Jesús, to explore what it means to claim a religious ancestor within the Christian tradition, and how our use of proleptic labels on history uncovers a reality of iterative and fractured relatedness across time and space.

Hayley Segall: Wednesday, April 26th, 5 pm. Swift Hall Common Room, "The Singh Twins and Postmodernism: Encountering Generational Trauma Through Sikh Contemporary Art."

The Singh Twins’ aesthetic invention, past-modernism, provides a diasporic, anti-colonial approach to processing Sikh generational trauma related to lasting memories of faith-based and colonial violence. Their work provides a means for internal community healing and inspires a consideration of the visual arts as a terrain for developing accessible methods of dialogue and community building that rest upon, what Segall calls, intellectual empathy.

Sean Willard: Monday, May 1st, 4 pm. Swift Hall Common Room. "A Psychedelic Reorientation to Death: Implications for How we Attend to the Fear and Anxiety of Death."

Shannon Page: Monday , May 8th, 5 pm. Third Floor Lecture Hall, Swift Hall. “Set Me Free:” Confronting and Reimagining the Vocabulary of Master and Slave in Christian Expression Drawing from her analysis of the 20th century American hymn “Set Me Free,” Shannon will explore what metaphors that describe God as master and humans as enslaved persons attempt to convey about God and the human person, while highlighting the dangers and impact of this vocabulary. She will then lead an interactive workshop designed for small groups in congregational and community settings to imagine and create new metaphors about God, power, humility, and salvation.

Alexa Dava: Monday, May 8th, 7 pm, Disciples Divinity House. "Collaborative Survival: A Filipino American Reading of Ruth " This project seeks to understand how Filipino American Christians read themselves into Scripture. It begins to answer the question, "What happens when Filipino Americans read the Book of Ruth through the lens of their own experiences?”

John Jacob Burns: Thursday, May 11th, 4pm at Evo Union Park Chicago, 1454 W Randolph, Chicago, IL 60607 “John Jacob Burns: An Exploration of Entrepreneurship, Spirituality, and the Entrepreneurial Career of Jeff Bezos”

Farah Akhtar: Wednesday May 17, 4:30pm Swift Common Room. "Reading the Book of (your) Existence: The Scriptural Hermeneutics of Ibn il Arabi."

Justin Perkins: Wednesday May 17th, 6 pm, Swift Hall Common Room. "Home-sick for a New World: Willa Cather's Threshold Imagination."

“One must know the world so well before one can know the parish.” This was the advice Sarah Orne Jewett famously gave to Willa Cather (1873-1947). Though Cather may be best known for her depiction of life on the Nebraska “Divide,” she was a writer deeply attuned to life in the early 20th century. In an age of mass migration, transatlantic pluralism, and civilizational conflict, Cather wrote of lives that challenged the boundaries between the world and the parish, even as she dramatized the failures of her society’s ideals in the ambiguous passage of what it means to make a new life in a strange land with old ways. Cather explores the depths of home-sickness, and its impact in shaping religious and cultural forms of the imagination, how one may inhabit the thresholds of this world and the next.

Laura Johnson: Thursday, May 18th, 5:30pm, Washington Park (link for directions). "Transcendent Landscapes: City Parks and the Spiritual Infrastructure of Frederick Law Olmsted"

If you are driving, you can park along Payne Dr. near 57th st. We will be gathering on the east side of the park. This presentation will be outside! Please bring what you need to be comfortable. A few blankets, snacks, and drinks will be provided, but feel free to bring a chair or blanket of your own! 

Tom McCarlie: May 19th, 4pm, location TBA. "Ezekiel, in Technicolor"

Arshan Khalid: Tuesday, May 23rd, 5:30 pm, Swift Hall Lecture Hall. "A Place for All People: The Possibilities and Challenges of Interfaith Organizations, from a Muslim Perspective" This event provides a look into our modern understanding of inter-religious dialogue, including a panel discussion featuring leaders from four leading inter-faith organizations: the Parliament of World Religions, Interfaith America, OMNIA and Religions for Peace.  More information