Current Visiting Scholars

The CSWR has four visiting scholars for the 2016-17 academic year:

William C. Hackett is Research Fellow/Lecturer in Philosophy at Australian Catholic University. From his doctorate he has studied contemporary European philosophy and theology, always understood in the deepest historical context, as an intellectual tradition that emerged from within the context of religion--which, it so happens, is not atypical. His specialization is the present French iteration of phenomenology. The discovery that because of the de facto unity of human history the Western tradition is necessarily in open, dialogical continuity with the intellectual traditions of every culture has led to his central interest in constructing an encounter between comparative theology and philosophy of religion. At the CSWR he wants to answer the question whether a conception of "gnosis" is possible from a perspective that identifies with the mainstream tradition of historical, Roman Catholic orthodoxy. The approach will involve finding the best comparable distinction between essence and person among Hindu traditions to that of classical Christian Trinitarian theology. He is the co-author of Quiet Powers of the Possible: Interviews in Contemporary French Phenomenology (Fordham University Press, 2016) and the translator of several texts from French to English: for example, Jean-Yves Lacoste, From Theology to Theological Thinking (University of Virginia Press, 2014).

Evgenia Moiseeva is Interested in Saint Augustine’s thought since her undergraduate years, Evgenia started her research at the Moscow State University in Russia with the focus on Augustine’s concept of soul in De Trinitate. Subsequently she engaged in a PhD program at Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes in Paris. Her thesis “Will according to Saint Augustine” was accepted into Collection des Etudes Augustiniennes, the most important publication for Augustinian scholars, and is now at the final stage of the publishing process. While doing research for her thesis, Evgenia became fascinated by Manichaeism and the role it played in Augustine’s thought.  Currently her research is focused on the Manichaean attitude towards the Book of Genesis. She envisions this project as a stepping stone in the analysis of the influence of the Manichaean use of the Pentateuch on Augustine’s exegesis.

Makoto Sawai is Post-doctoral Fellow of Japan Society for Promotion of Science (JSPS), belonging to Kyoto University. He received M.A. from American University in Cairo and Ph.D from Tohoku University. His research topic is about the divine names in Islamic mystical thought with regard to the story of Adam. His analytical view focuses on how Muslim thinkers have understood the Qur’an in their interpretations. He is currently working on the divine names on Ibn ‘Arabi, one of the most prominent thinkers in Islam. He has published various articles about the interpretations of the Qur’an (“Fanā’ and Baqā’ in the Theory of Junayd’s ‘Primordial Covenant,” “Izutsu’s Hermeneutical Perspectives of the Qur’anic Interpretation,” etc.). During his time as a visiting scholar at CSWR, Sawai engages with his further study of the divine names from the perspective of comparative theology. As subject of comparative study of the divine names, he focuses on Islam and Tenrikyo, one of the biggest new religions in Japan.

Karen Sonik earned her PhD in the Art & Archaeology of the Mediterranean World at the University of Pennsylvania, and a BA and MA in Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology at the University of British Columbia. She has also been a Visiting Research Scholar in the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at New York University, an American Council of Learned Societies New Faculty Fellow and Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Art History at the University of California, Los Angeles, and a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Egyptology & Ancient Western Asian Studies at Brown University before joining the Department of Art & Art History at Auburn University as Assistant Professor of Ancient Art.

            Specializing in the visual arts and literature of the first cities, which arose in the southern plains of Mesopotamia in the late fourth millennium BCE, Karen’s research has explored what it meant to be human in the earliest urban civilization; issues of alterity and the construction of the Other, with an emphasis on pictorial and literary treatments of outsiders, enemies, and figures who have transgressed or failed to live up to their assigned social or other roles; the complex relationship between word and image, with an emphasis on mythological representation and materialization; interconnections between the ancient Near East and the Mediterranean; and anthropological and cognitive approaches to the visual arts of the non-Western world. Among her recent publications are the co-edited volume The Materiality of Divine Agency (2015), “Pictorial Mythology and Narrative in the Ancient Near East” (2014) and “Mesopotamian Conceptions of the Supernatural: A Taxonomy of Zwischenwesen” (2013). Current work includes the monograph Homo Urbanus in a Haunted World: Humans, Monsters, and Demons at the Dawn of Civilization; the edited volume Art/ifacts and ArtWorks: Image, Object, and Aesthetics in the Ancient Near East; and a new project exploring the corruptibility and de-composition of divine matter in Mesopotamia.