2013 – 2014 Fellows in Sacred Music, Worship, and the Arts Announced

Martin Jean, the director of the Yale Institute of Sacred Music, has announced that six new fellows will be joining its interdisciplinary community for the 2013 - 2014 year.

The ISM Fellows in Sacred Music, Worship, and the Arts are scholars, religious leaders, or artists whose work is in or turning toward the fields of sacred music, liturgical/ritual studies, and religion and the arts. The fellows have numerous opportunities to share their work with the community and to teach, as well as to work on their individual projects using Yale’s vast resources. The six 2013 – 2014 fellows represent a cross-section of cultures and disciplines. In addition, Ayla Lepine, one of the 2012 – 2013 fellows, will remain at the Institute for the fall semester.

M. Jennifer Bloxam earned a Ph.D. in musicology from Yale University and is professor of music at Williams College. Her research interests include early music and its cultural context, interactions between plainsong and polyphony, narrative and exegesis in 15th and 16th-century sacred music, musical borrowing, and compositional process. Her project at Yale is Recapturing the Ritual Context of Renaissance Sacred Music, a multi-faceted endeavor at reconstructing a ritual frame around five ambitious pieces of sacred music from the Renaissance. Like a Renaissance triptych, the project has a central focus: a collaborative multi-media exploration of music at the great Marian confraternity in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, concentrating on the sumptuous eight-voice canonic Marian motet Nesciens Mater by Jean Mouton. The side panels of the project “altarpiece” will comprise two linked pairs of essays elucidating the ritual context and communicative strategies of four extraordinary polytextual settings of the Mass Ordinary: Two Masses for the Annunciation by Guillaume Du Fay and Johannes Regis; and Nicholas Champion’s “Mary” Masses, one for the Blessed Virgin and one for Mary Magdalene.


Afshan Bokhari is assistant professor of art history at Suffolk University in Boston. She received her Ph.D. in art and architectural history from the University of Vienna Institute of Fine Arts in 2009. She has also served as adjunct curator of the Hood Museum at Dartmouth College, the Davis Museum and Cultural Center at Wellesley College, and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. During her fellowship year she will analyze Sūfic material and literary culture, locating the dialectic between sexuality, sensuality, and spirituality that is im/explicit and necessary in the performative piety and devotion of Sufism. The historical range of her study surveys works and music-accompanied dance rituals from the fourteenth through the twenty-first century in the Muslim cultures of South Asia and the Middle East and its diaspora in the West. More specifically, she will examine the performative religious practices of the Mevlevi, Bektashi, and Qadriyya Sūfi orders to identify the role that music and dance play in the mystical tradition’s devotional practice and ideology and how these liturgical functions influenced the Sūfistic allied arts including poetry, painting and the decorative arts.

Daniel J. DiCenso is an assistant professor of music at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, where he recently completed a term as Coordinator of Medieval & Renaissance Studies (2011-12). As a Gates Cambridge Scholar, he received a Ph.D. in musicology from the University of Cambridge. He also holds a Ph.D. in education from the University of Pennsylvania (2005), with a concentration in teaching, learning, and curriculum. A specialist in medieval liturgy, with a particular interest the history of Gregorian chant during the eighth and ninth centuries, his research interests also extend to contemporary popular music, including pop music, hip-hop, and rock. His project at Yale is Oldest Sources of Gregorian Chant for the Mass to ca. 900, a new edition that collects all of the sources before ca. 900 in one volume.  He will be re-editing from scratch the sources that were edited (problematically) in the 1930s and editing for the first time a number of “new” sources that have never before been brought to light.

Cécile Fromont is assistant professor of Art History and the College at the University of Chicago. She earned a Ph.D. in history of art and architecture from Harvard University, specializing in the field of African and Latin American art and architecture. Her primary research focuses on the cross-cultural encounter between European Christianity and the art and religion of the Kingdom of Kongo from the 15th to the 18th century. During her fellowship year she will continue work on her forthcoming manuscript Nature, Culture, and Faith in Translation: Capuchin Images and Cross-Cultural Knowledge of Kongo and Angola, 1650–1750, an analysis of an unpublished corpus of watercolors created by Capuchin missionaries to Kongo and Angola during those years. In this book-length study, she will explore the role that visuality played in the construction of early modern scientific and ethnographic knowledge, the function of visual translation in the formulation and reception of Christian doctrine across cultures, and, more broadly, the status of images in the molding of cross-cultural epistemologies.  Her fellowship will commence in the spring 2014 semester.

Patricia Ann Hardwick holds Ph.D.‘s in both folklore and anthropology from Indiana University – Bloomington, and is currently in Singapore conducting research on Kuda Kepang, a hobbyhorse trance dance of Javanese origin brought to Singapore during the British colonial period. As a fellow of the ISM, she will develop her 2009 dissertation, “Stories of the Wind: The Role of Mak Yong in Shamanistic Healing in Kelantan, Malaysia,” into a published ethnography. This work will combine theories of performance and embodiment with the study of traditional narratives and oral literature to explore Kelantanese Malay ways of healing through ritual mak yong-‘teri performances. Mak yong is a Malay dance drama that was traditionally performed by itinerant theater troupes in northern Malaysia and southern Thailand. Her work will investigate how mak yong practitioners, confronted with changing interpretations of appropriate Islamic practice, are actively adapting how they think and speak about traditional Kelantanese Malay notions of the body as a microcosm of the universal macrocosm, the origins of illness, and their healing performances.

Baby Varghese is professor of Syriac studies, liturgy, and sacramental theology at Orthodox Theological Seminary, Kottayam, in Kerala, India. He is also professor of Syriac studies at St. Ephrem’s Ecumenical Research Institute, and a research guide in Syriac studies at Mahatma Gandhi University, both in Kerala. He holds a Ph.D. in religious studies from the Sorbonne, as well as doctorate of theology from the Catholic University of Paris. His research focuses on the ecclesiology and history of Syriac Christianity, the Syrian Orthodox Church and its two major liturgical traditions, Tur Abdin in South Eastern Turkey and Mosul/Tikrit in Iraq (popularly known as the Western and Eastern traditions, respectively). During his fellowship year, he will explore the historical development of the Syrian Orthodox liturgy and the processes of enculturation and contextualization that began in the fourth century in both Antioch and Mesopotamia. Of particular interest are the content and style of liturgical texts composed in various cultural milieus and their impact on liturgical music, art, and architecture.

In addition, the Institute will welcome two postdoctoral associates in liturgical studies during 2013 – 2014.

Gabriel Radle received his doctorate summa cum laude in 2012 in Eastern Christian Studies from the Pontifical Oriental Institute (Rome), with a specialization in Byzantine liturgy. Radle follows the comparative method of liturgical research, with a primary academic focus on the sacrament of marriage in the Byzantine tradition. He has taught courses on liturgiology, Church history, and Roman history. At Yale, he will work on preparing a monograph on the history of the Byzantine rite of marriage. He will also work with faculty to coordinate the 2014 ISM study tour to Italy.

Nina Glibetic is a doctoral candidate (degree expected June 2013) in Eastern Christian Studies at the Pontifical Oriental Institute. Her thesis consists of a historico-theological study of the South Slavic Byzantine liturgical tradition, including a systematic examination of liturgical manuscripts from the ninth to the fourteenth centuries, critical editions of some of the oldest Slavic liturgical texts, and a comparative analysis of these sources with the Greek liturgical sources. Her research at Yale will center on the question of Byzantine preparatory rites, including a comparative analysis of the Greek and Slavic sources of these rites.

The Yale Institute of Sacred Music is an interdisciplinary graduate center educating leaders who foster, explore, and study engagement with the sacred through music, worship, and the arts in Christian communities, diverse religious traditions, and public life. With a core focus on Christian sacred music, the ISM builds bridges among disciplines and vocations and makes creative space for scholarship, performance, and practice.  More information about the Institute, its programs, and the ISM Fellows in Sacred Music, Worship, and the Arts is at www.yale.edu/ism.