Young scholars fill YDS positions in American religious history and Asian Christianity and theology
Three young scholars have accepted invitations to join the Yale Divinity School faculty as assistant professors, effective July 1, 2009. Harold Attridge, the Reverend Henry L. Slack Dean of Yale Divinity School, said he was delighted to be able to make the announcement, calling the three “outstanding scholars.”
Joining the faculty will be Chloë Faith Starr, who holds a doctorate from the University of Oxford in Oriental studies and is currently conducting research in Beijing; Clarence E. Hardy III, who teaches religion at Dartmouth and earned a Ph.D. in theology at Union Theological Seminary in New York; and Tisa J. Wenger, who teaches religion at Arizona Sate University and holds a Ph.D. from Princeton University.
Attridge noted that Wenger has done innovative work on the history of religion among Native Americans of the Southwest, while Hardy brings special expertise in the history of African American Pentecostal traditions.
Said Attridge, “These new appointments add to an already impressive array of expertise in American religious history at Yale and considerably strengthen the faculty in the historical area at YDS.”
He explained that both searches, in American religious history and in Asian Christianity and theology, were guided by the Divinity School’s long-range plan for development of YDS faculty.
Regarding the Starr appointment, Attridge said the faculty search targeted Asian Christianity and theology to complement the strengths of Lamin Sanneh, a senior scholar who heads YDS’s world Christianity initiative and whose expertise focuses on Islam’s relationship to Christianity, particularly in Africa.
“Dr. Starr will bring to Yale expertise in the Chinese literary tradition as well as in contemporary theological movements in both China and other parts of East Asia,” said Attridge. “Her appointment coincides with the new initiatives that YDS has undertaken to establish ties with theological faculties in Asia, particularly Hong Kong and Singapore.”
Starr earned her doctorate in 1999 and completed a certificate course in theology and ministry at Ripon College, Cuddesdon, Oxford in 2007-08. She served in 2008-09 as a research fellow at Renmin University (People’s University of China). Previously, Starr was a lecturer in Chinese studies at Oxford; a senior tutor at St. John’s College, Durham; and part-time lecturer in Chinese at the University of Durham. She has published a monograph, Red-Light Novels of the Late Qing; edited the volume Reading Christian Scripture in China; and co-edited the volume China and the Quest for Gentility: Negotiations beyond Gender and Class.
Hardy specializes in American religious culture and contemporary Christian thought with a special emphasis on black religious culture and thought. He received his Ph.D. in 2001 after having earned an M.Div. in 1995, also from Union Theological Seminary.
Before joining the Dartmouth faculty, where he is assistant professor of religion, he taught at Rollins College in Winter Park FL. Hardy is the author of James Baldwin's God: Sex, Hope and Crisis in Black Holiness Culture and is currently at work on a book tentatively entitled We Grappled for the Mysteries: Black God-Talk in Modern America that will span the 1920s through the Civil Rights period and consider how black descriptions of the divine have evolved in the modern period.
Wenger earned her Ph.D. in 1999 and an M.A. in women’s studies in religion from the Claremont Graduate School. She is assistant professor of American religions at Arizona State and prior to that was acting associate director of the Center for the Study of Religion at Princeton. Her book We Have a Religion: The 1920s Pueblo Indian Dance Controversy and American Religious Freedom shows how dominant cultural conceptions of religion and religious freedom affected the Pueblo Indians of New Mexico as they sought to protect their religious ceremonies from government suppression, and how that struggle transformed the politics of Indian affairs and helped reshape mainstream views of religion. Wenger's second book, tentatively titled The Ironies of Religious Liberty in America, 1850-1950, will look beyond well-known court decisions on the First Amendment to examine the limitations and consequences of religious liberty as a foundational American ideal. Her research interests include nineteenth- and twentieth-century U.S. religion, the politics of religious freedom, religion in the U.S. West, racial and religious encounters, and the cultural history of the study of religion.