Ranana Dine

The Divinity School is pleased to share that Ranana Dine, a PhD Candidate in Religious Ethics, has been selected as the 2024 recipient of the Mark and Ruth Luckens Essay Competition in Jewish Thought and Culture for her paper, “Capturing Corpses: The Advent of Photography and Depicting Jewish Death.”

The Jewish Studies Program at the University of Kentucky’s awards the Mark and Ruth Luckens Prize for the best unpublished original essay in Jewish thought and culture that is also suitable for oral presentation to a general audience. Made possible by a generous gift from the late Dr. Mark Luckens, the winner gives a public lecture in connection with the University of Kentucky Jewish Studies program. 

Ms. Dine will give her public lecture on April 16th, 6pm via Zoom.

Dine is also the research coordinator at the University of Chicago’s MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics and the managing editor of Images: A Journal of Jewish Art and Culture; her scholarship has appeared in multiple journals. Before entering the PhD program, she received an MPhil in theology and medical humanities from the University of Cambridge and a BA in religion and art from Williams College.

Dine’s dissertation focuses on how a visual approach to the corpse and to the memory of loved ones can inform our understanding of our obligations to the dead. 

Her winning paper addresses the significant relation between photography and death since the invention of that technology, and how photography of the dead, within Jewish history, has mostly meant to signify Jewish suffering. “Sadly this has become even more salient in the wake of October 7th,” writes Dine. “Although death photography serves a purpose – it can inform the viewer of something significant and even incite moral outrage and action – we should ask what story these photographs construct and perhaps turn to more complete stories of relationality, community, and care in the face of death.”