Previous Theses in Religion


Class of 1995


Daniel Enriquez   (IPM in Religion and Philosophy

Thesis: “Grace and Knowledge in the Summa Theologica


Class of 1997


Keri Bean (IPM in Religion) Thesis: “Gender in Mahayana and Theravada Buddhism”


Gavin Rickleffs   (IPM in Religion and World Literature)

Thesis: “Alienation and Awakening: Exploring Gnostic Elements of Albert Camus’ The Stranger


Class of 1998


Erin Carlson (IPM in Religion)

Thesis: “Taking the Vaunted Middle Path: An Attempt at Balance in the Study of Women’s Religiosity in Early Buddhism” (Honors)


Class of 2001


David Jagernauth  (IPM in Religion)

Thesis: “Abode of an Adulterous God: Myth, History and Mystery in the Buddhist Cult of God Skanda-Murugan and his Mistress Valli Amma at Kataragamma, Sri Lanka”


Jill Jarvis (IPM in Religion)

Thesis: “Fighting for Freedom, and for the Love of God: Poetic Self-Representation and Acts of Female Resistance in the Therigatha and the Songs of Two Bhakti Saints” (Honors)


Class of 2002


Brook Elliott-Buettner (IPM in Religious Studies)

Thesis: “The Problem of Critical Historical Analysis of the New Testament”


Meredith Gudger (IPM in Religious Studies)

Thesis: “Will They Be as One?  How Christians Answer the Question of Homosexuality”


Megan Lillis (IPM in Religion)

Thesis: “Spiritual Sisters on a Mystical Path: Rabi’a Al-Adwiyya and Teresa of Avila” (Honors)


Religion Major Instituted with the Class of 2003

Class of 2003


Emily Courtney 

Thesis: "Unifying Spiritual Leadership: Filling the Void"


Kevin Erickson (January, 2006 completion)

Thesis: “I am Relevant: Hipster Evangelicals and the Culture Industry”


Kate Imwalle

Thesis: “Feminism and Catholicism: Can a Positive Relationship Exist?”


David Prins

Thesis: "A Monk's Life: An Ethnographic Study of Theravadan Buddhist monks and their social relevance in Sri Lanka."


Class of 2004


Matthew Maynard

Thesis: “Teaching About Religion in the Public Schools”


Thomas Nagy

Thesis: “St. Joseph as a Metaphor for the Valentinian Demiurge”


Nathan Roller

Thesis: “Communit-e: An Examination of



Class of 2005


David Burge

Thesis: "The Power of Christ Compels You: Exorcism, Mental Illness and Faith Healing in Comparative Catholic Traditions"


Lindsey Chadwick  (double major with Math) 

Thesis:  “Veganism and/with/as a Religion”


Erica Greenberg

Thesis:  “The Marketing of Religion in America”

Josh Karp

Thesis: “The Role of Music in the African American Baptist Church”


Caitlin McDermott 

Thesis: “Mormon Women: Why is their Highest Goal Only Motherhood?”


Pepa Paniagua (IPM–Religion & Gender Studies)

Thesis: "Gender in the Presbyterian Church: Practice or Just Preaching? An Examination Into the Construction of Gender in Presbyterian Hymnals"


Class of 2006


Gareth Campbell  

Thesis:  “A Devil Amidst Fallen Angels” (Honors)


John Compton

Thesis: “Realms of Practice: Religious Pluralism in the Mystical Philosophy of Ibn al-‘Arabi”


Sandra Corpuz

Thesis: “The Sacred Dimension of Alcoholics Anonymous”


Luke Erichsen   

Thesis: “From Gentiles to Friends: Mormons in a Changing World” (Honors)


Meghan Goss

Thesis: “Buddhism in America: Americanization and Buddhist Fundamentalism”


Will Hyman   

Thesis: “True Love Waits”


Braden Lobingier (Double Major–Chemistry) 

Thesis: “Canonizing the Buddha: Christian and Buddhist Interaction through Myth”


Katharine Magid (Double Major–Spanish) 

Thesis: “Gender and Sexuality in Contemporary Conservative Discourse: A Literary Analysis of the Ex-Gay and Traditional Christian Marriage Movements” (Honors)


Elisabeth (Lisa) Parrish

Thesis: “Fundamental Assumptions: the Interaction of Western Essentialism with Tibetan and Sri Lankan Buddhism”

Mariah K. Weston 

Thesis: “Bootstraps or Greenbacks: The Media’s Inaccurate Portrayal of Televangelists”


Class of 2007


Ajay Abraham

Thesis: “The Awaited Messiah: A Comprehensive Analysis of the Jewish Messiah, Jesus Christ, and the Shi’i Mahdi”


Jonathan Buchner (May, 2009 Graduate)

Thesis: “A Preliminary Examination of the 4D Fundamental Synoptic Solution”


Michael Cates

Thesis: “Beyond Liberal or Constantinian Politics: Stanley Hauerwas’ Vision of the University”



Nicholas Johnson

Thesis: “The Role of Evangelical Faith in American Society at the Turn of the 20th Century”


Elliot Knapp

Thesis: “Leading the Way: the Relationship between Textualized Personal Religious Experience and the Formation of Cumulative Tradition in Three Taoist Classics”



Jessica Marks

Thesis:  Viewing Us through the Eyes of the Other: Religious Change, Ethnic Buddhists and Convert Buddhists Within American and Sikkimese Tibetan Traditions



Laura Nelson

Thesis: “The Many Faces of Christ: An Investigation in Feminist Theological Methodology Through Examining Feminist and Womanist Christology”



Emily Penoyar

Thesis: “Mount Graham: Toward an Understanding of the Position of the Apaches”


Seanacey Pierce

Thesis: Jigozkuzoshi: Exploring the Buddhist Conception of Hell through the Art of Scroll Making”


Carly Rue

Thesis: “Going Out To or Undergoing the Word of God: Comparing the Religious Thought of Martin Buber and Emmanuel Levinas by Way of their Philosophies of Relation”


Brian Shaheed

Thesis: Wahab and the Sufis


Emily Smith

Thesis: “Islam in Latin America: A History of Relocation, Assimilation and Revival”



Joshua Smith

Thesis: “Prophet of the Kingdom: A Fresh Appraisal of Gustavo Gutiérrez and the Theology of Liberation”


Class of 2008


Zoe Black

Thesis: “The Kaifeng Jews: The History of an Isolated Religious Minority in China”


Eric Chalfant

Thesis: “Seeds of Evolution: The Diversity of Contemporary Atheism”  



Beth Anne Davis

Thesis:  "The Deliverance Ritual: A Study of Spirit Possession in Ghana's Charismatic Christian Churches"


Joseph Farnes

Thesis: “Christologia Instabilis: Christology and Instability in LGBT Theology”



Meryl Farrar (Graduation pending)



Luke Hagel

Thesis:  "Soka Gakkai International-USA: Reverting to a More Utilitarian Approach"



Dana Johnson

Thesis: “‘Hindu-Buddhists’ of the Himalayas: Reconceptualizing Syncretism in the History of Religions”



Miranda Levy

Thesis: “The Role of Seventh-Day Adventism at Walla Walla General Hospital”


Aaron Rose (May, 2009 graduate)

Thesis: “Nietzsche’s Critique of Christianity: Toward a Constructive Understanding of his Metaphysics and Morality”

Class of 2009


Michael Anderson

Thesis: “The Divine Marriage of Goddess and God in Wiccan Art”


Rand Biersdorff

Thesis: “The Hinge of Salvation: Philosophy, Flesh and Practice in Feminist and Womanist Theologies”



Matthew William Duncan

Thesis: “Magical Amulet Obsession in Thai Buddhist Society: not right, not wrong”


Nicholas Gottschall

Thesis: “Orientalist Orientals and Accusatory Academics: Examining Religiosity and History in the Bodhgaya Conflicts”



Cole Rathjen

Thesis: “In Search of the Absolute: Kant and Anti-Climacus on the Possibility and Necessity of Grounding One’s Freedom in the Unconditioned”



Class of 2010


Michela Corcorran

Thesis:  "Reading Amina Wadud: Gender, Race and Liberative Theory in Islam"



Hailey Flanigan

Thesis: "Gai Jatra"


Colin Gibson

Thesis: “Chasing Zen: Authenticity and Authentication in the Transmission of Japanese Buddhism to the West”


Brennan Jorgensen

Thesis: “The Language of God: Abraham Abulafia and Ecstatic Kabbalah”



Divneet Kaur

Thesis:  "A Social History of Sakhis: Re_imagining a Prophet Through Sikh Hagiography"


Autumn McCarten

Thesis: “Wahdat al-wujud vs. Wahat al-Shuhud: How Philosophy Effects Ritual and Societal Practices in the Chishti and Naqshbandi Orders”


Bridget Snow

Thesis “Biblical Imagery in Modernist Form: Religiosity in the Work of Marc Chagall”



Ben Spencer

Thesis: “‘Show Me How to See Things the Way You Do’: Existentialism in Faith, Philosophy, and Film”  



Class of 2011


Katie Bates

Thesis: "What is a Child's Best Interest: The Conflict Between Parents' Religious Beliefs and the State"


Chris Fleming

Thesis: “(Re)Reading the Writing on the Wall: An Analysis of Jain Literature and Imperial Epigraphy in Medieval India”:


Emily Lorente

Thesis: “The Man in Mr. Jones: Exorcising Understandings of Jim Jones and Peoples Temple”



Andrew Matschiner

Thesis: “Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it in heaven: Locating Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Martin Luther King, Jr. in Twentieth Century Liberal Protestantism”



Faith Tucker

Thesis: “Untouchable Faith: The Christian Dalit Perspective of the Caste System in India”


Class of 2012 (Theses topics to be announced)


John Abercrombie



Adriel Borshansky



Molly Johnson



Noah Lerner



Doyle McCarthy



Michael Nelson



Kate Potter



Evan Randall



Michael Rogers