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Directors and Advisory Board


David Marno

David Marno’s work concentrates on the intersection between literature and religious practice, in particular on the relationship between prayer, meditation, spiritual exercises and poetry. He has published on religious and secular concepts of attention, on apocalypse as a literary and political figure, and on philosophy of history and comparative literature. His first book, Death Be Not Proud: The Art of Holy Attention (Chicago, 2016), reads John Donne’s Holy Sonnets as a site where the bonds between premodern devotional, literary, and philosophical investments in attentiveness become visible. The question of when and why prayer requires attentiveness has led to Marno’s current project, which focuses on prayer in the aftermath of the Reformation.

Jonathan Sheehan

Jonathan Sheehan is an historian of early modern European religion, science, scholarship, and philosophy. He is the author of The Enlightenment Bible: Translation, Scholarship, Culture (Princeton, 2005), and, with Dror Wahrman, of Invisible Hands: Self-Organization in the Eighteenth Century (University of Chicago Press, 2015). His articles on secularism, Enlightenment, and early modern religious culture have appeared in Past & Present, the American Historical Review, the Journal for the History of Ideas, and Representations.

Advisory Board

Karen Barkey

Karen Barkey is faculty in Sociology with expertise in Comparative Historical Sociology, Political Sociology and Religion. Her main area of interest at this stage is in issues of coexistence and diversity in imperial settings as models for contemporary discussions. Her main project is on Shared Sacred Sites.

Robert Braun

Robert Braun combines archival work with geographical information systems to study civil society and intergroup relationships in times of social upheaval. He has recently finished a book, Protectors of Pluralism: the Collective Rescue of Jews during the Holocaust, on the protection of Jews during the Holocaust in the Low Countries (forthcoming at Cambridge University Press). His new research project studies the political causes and consequences of anti-Semitism by exploring racial themes in German children’s stories. In the past he has worked on the geographical spread of different types of political violence such as terrorism, anti-immigrant attacks, and soccer hooliganism.

Charles Hirschkind

Charles Hirschkind is faculty in the department of Anthropology. His research interests concern religious practice, media technologies, and emergent forms of political community in the Middle East, North America, and Europe. He gives particular attention to diverse configurations of the human sensorium, and the histories, ethics, and politics they make possible.

Asma Kazmi

Asma Kasmi is an Assistant Professor in the department of Art Practice at UC Berkeley. She is the recipient of many awards including the Fulbright Research Award, (CIES) to India; the Faculty Research Grant, and more.
Art Practice

Niklaus Largier

Niklaus Largier is the Sidney and Margaret Ancker Professor of German and Comparative Literature. He is affiliated with UC Berkeley’s Programs in Medieval Studies and Religious Studies, the Designated Emphasis in Critical Theory, the Designated Emphasis in Renaissance and Early Modern Studies, and the Berkeley Center for New Media. Largier is currently working on two projects: a book on imagination, practices of figuration, aesthetic experience, and notions of possibility, tentatively entitled “Figures of Possibility;” and a book on the history of practices and the poetics of prayer (with David Marno).
German and Comparative Literature

Joanna Picciotto

Joanna Picciotto is Associate Professor with the English Department at Berkeley. She is the author of Labors of Innocence in Early Modern England (2010) and editor of “Devotion and Intellectual Labor,” a special issue of The Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 44.1 (2014).

Ronit Y. Stahl

Ronit Y. Stahl is a historian of modern America. Her work focuses on pluralism in American society by examining how politics, law, and religion interact in spaces such as the military and medicine. Her book, Enlisting Faith: How the Military Chaplaincy Shaped Religion and State in Modern America (Harvard University Press, 2017), traces the uneven processes through which the military struggled with, encouraged, and regulated religious pluralism in the twentieth century. Her current research examines the rise of institutional and corporate rights of consience in health care. This project weaves together the court decisions, legislation, medical and bioethical arguments, religious ideas, and lived experiences that shaped the disparate trajectories of reproductive healthcare, LGBT healthcare, and end-of-life care from the 1970s to the present.


Patty Dunlap

Patty Dunlap is the Program and Grants Coordinator for the Consortium for Interdisciplinary Research. She previously served in Corporate and Foundation Relations on campus, and worked in the pharmaceutical industry for nearly two decades prior. Patty graduated from UC Irvine with a BA and MBA in Psychology, and now lives with her husband, dog, and four children.
Program and Grants Coordinator

Grace Mosher

Grace Mosher is a junior majoring in English. When she’s not in the office, she’s either at Cal games or “studying” in Moffitt.
Student Assistant

Khai Thu Nguyen

Khai Thu Nguyen is the Associate Director of The Consortium for Interdisciplinary Research (CIR). She has directed language and student affairs programs at UC Berkeley Extension, coordinated faculty teaching support at Center for Teaching and Learning, and served as a lecturer. Her multi-national theater productions and research have been funded by Fulbright-Hays, UC Pacific Rim, and the Royal Norwegian Embassy. Her writings appear in Neoliberalism and Global Theatres, Portrayals of Americans on the World Stage, and Asian Theatre Journal. Khai holds a Ph.D. in Performance Studies from UC Berkeley.
Associate Director



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