Notre Dame's Global Religion Research Initiative announces 2017 award recipients

Author: Olivia Hall

Global Religion Research Initiative

Notre Dame’s Global Religion Research Initiative has announced its 2017 award recipients.

The initiative, directed by sociologist Christian Smith, aims to advance the empirical study of global religion in mainstream academia by granting funds to promising researchers in the social sciences. It was launched in late summer 2016 in the University’s Center for the Study of Religion and Society.

Smith, the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Sociology and director of the center, was awarded $4.9 million from the Templeton Religion Trust of Nassau, Bahamas, to address the relative neglect of religion as a subject of study in the social sciences, and to encourage the study of religions outside the North Atlantic region.

The initiative offers six distinct research and writing grants and fellowships programs: Book-Writing Leave Fellowships, Project Launch Grants, Dissertation Fellowships, International Collaboration Grants, Curriculum Development Grants, and Postdoctoral Research Fellowships.

The GRRI will fund over 150 research proposals by distributing $3.1 million to scholars of global religion through three rounds of applicants to these programs over the next three years.

In this first round of competition, the GRRI received over 150 research proposals from scholars at 100 colleges and universities around the world. The submissions were reviewed by leading social science scholars and 48 of the proposals were awarded funding in this round.

Five students and alumni from Notre Dame's College of Arts and Letters received awards in the first round of funding.

M. Tahir Kilavuz, a doctoral candidate in political science, has been awarded a GRRI Project Launch grant, which will support research that investigates how responsive the electorates in Muslim-majority countries are to both ideological and pragmatic policies.

Robert Brathwaite, who completed his Ph.D. in political science from Notre Dame in 2012, will also receive a Project Launch grant to support the creation of a dataset that will allow for improved measurement of religious violence using natural language processing and automated text analysis of media reports. Brathwaite is currently an assistant professor of political science at Michigan State University.

Megan Rogers, a Fulbright fellow and doctoral candidate in sociology at Notre Dame, has been awarded a two-year postdoctoral fellowship. Her dissertation examines how religious and non-religious identities work to help middle-class professionals in China make sense of their place in their country and in global society.

Shanna Corner, a doctoral candidate in sociology, will be supported in 2017 – 2018 with a dissertation year fellowship. Corner’s project examines how UN and state-level officials who report on and review country implementation of women’s rights standards conceptualize religion and its relationship to women’s rights in varying ways.

Marcie Goeke-Morey, who received her Ph.D. in 1999 from the Department of Psychology, has been selected to receive a Curriculum Development grant to support her revision of three developmental psychology courses. Goeke-Morey is currently an associate professor of psychology at the Catholic University of America.

The GRRI will accept two more rounds of funding proposals. The second round of proposals will be due in October 2017 and awarded in 2018. Visit to learn more about the programs offered and how to apply.

For a complete list of recipients and more about their research, click here.

Originally published at