Class of 2016 - Thesis Topics

Brian Acosta: The "Ground Zero Mosque" and Islamophobia in the U.S. since 9/11

Sofia Dawson: Paradoxes of Gender and Power in the Evangelical Purity Movement

Emma Thompson: Nation of Islam Cosmology and Politics in Muhammad Speaks, 1960-1975

Leda Zakarison: Young Muslims in the U.S. Negotiating Identity through Social Media

Class of 2015

Alissa Becerril (Double Major: BBMB)
Thesis: "'For We Walk by Faith and not by Sight:' Seventh-Day Adventist Scientists and the Evolution-Creation Debate"

Madeline Levy
Thesis: "The Marriage of Thought and Action: A Study of Dietrich Bonhoeffer" (Honors)

Julia Saxby
Thesis: "Author of His Own Auctoritas: The Intersection of Education, Episcopate. Ecclesiology and Martyrdom in Cyprian of Carthage" (Honors)

Class of 2014

Luis Alba Sanchez
Thesis: "La Virgen de mil Impressiones (The Virgin of a Thousand Impressions): Problematizing the Virgin of Guadalupe in a Pluralistic Society"

Anna Hawkins
Thesis: "The Jewish Sole: Untying the Meaning of Bare Feet in Judaism"

Molly Johanson
Thesis: "One Big Cemetery: Jewish History and Memory in the Comics of Ruter Modan" (Honors)

Kaitlyn McCraw
Thesis: "Starhawk's The Fifth Sacred Thing: A vision of a Reclaim(ed) Future"

Sean McNulty
Thesis: "The Office of Student Missions at Walla Walla University: A Preliminary Ethnographic Sketch"

Benjamin Menzies
Thesis: "‘The Authority of my Servants': Authority in the Early Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints" (Honors)

Benjamin Roberson
Thesis: "Judaism as a Christian Idea: Images of Judaism in Early Modern England and the Sabbatian Revolution"

Class of 2013

Caroline Carr
Thesis: "The Purity Movement: Pursuing Purity through Community and God"

Hadley Mowe
Thesis: "Freedom within Boundaries: Negotiating Buddhism and Power in the Washington State Penitentiary"

Claire Matsunami
Thesis: "The Jewish Defense League and Violent Religio-Nationalism"

Rachel Quednau
Thesis: "Jesus Walks: Black Liberation through Hip-Hop"               

Class of 2012

John Abercrombie
Thesis: "Syncretism in the Study of Quanzhen Taoism: From Essence to Argument (Honors)

Adriel Borshansky
Thesis: "Women from the Diaspora and of the Wall: An Ethnography on Jewish Ritual Innovation" (Honors)

Molly Johnson
Thesis: "Balancing Islam and Politics: the Muslim Brotherhood and its Contemporary Freedom and Justice Party"

Noah Lerner
Thesis: Radio Waves, Social Justice, and a Captive Audience: the Rise and Fall of the Radio Prophet"

Doyle McCarthy
Thesis: "Pathways to Salvation: the Search for a Catholic Theology of Religious Pluralism in the Aftermath of Dominus Iesus"

Michael Nelson
Thesis: "'My Fates Freeze me': An Examination of the Influence of American Civil Religion and George W. Bush's Faith on the Development of the War on Terror"

Kate Potter   (Double Major-Geology)
Thesis: "Two Servants of God: An Analysis of Religious Discourse in Non-Violent Movements During the Struggle for Indian Autonomy"

Evan Randall
Thesis: "Steeped in Spirituality: An Exploration of Religious Appropriation, Societal Perception, and their Role in Tea Marketing in the U.S."

Michael Rogers
Thesis: "The Neglect of Spirituality in Medical Practice: An Analysis of How Medical Practitioners Can Improve Treatment of Christian Science and Jehovah's Witness Patients"

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” (Honors)

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” (Honors)

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

Class of 2010

Michela Corcorran
Thesis:  "Reading Amina Wadud: Gender, Race and Liberative Theory in Islam" (Honors)

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” (Honors)

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” (Honors)

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

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” (Honors)

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” (Honors)

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” (Honors)

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”  (Honors)

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” (Honors)

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” (Honors)

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 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” (Honors)

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

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

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

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 (Honors)

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

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 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 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 (Honors)

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 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 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 1998

Erin Carlson (IPM in Religion)
Thesis: “Taking the Vaunted Middle Path: An Attempt at Balance in the Study of Women’s Religiosity

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 1995

Daniel Enriquez   (IPM in Religion and Philosophy)
Thesis: “Grace and Knowledge in the Summa Theologica