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“On Knowing Humanity” Researchers Receive Grants

This summer, seven scholars will be awarded the Ethnography Through the Eyes of Faith (ETEF) Summer Fellowship. The On Knowing Humanity (OKH) Research Center, with the support of the John Templeton Foundation, developed this grant to contribute to a new school of thought in a Christian approach to anthropology. Graduate students of anthropology programs nationwide were invited to apply to receive funding for their ethnographic research. These fellowships vary between $3,000 and $10,000, depending upon the possible contribution to a discussion of faith-based anthropology and demonstrated financial need.

Anthropology as a discipline studies people and cultures from a perspective that is scientific and naturalistic. While it reveals much of the complexity and variety of the human experience, it does not give full credence to the existence of the human spirit or of the Divine. The OKH project, on the other hand, takes as its starting point the assertion that human life cannot be fully understood apart from a discussion of human nature as it is created by God, and of God’s purposes for us and for creation. Theological anthropology can provide the additional tools that are needed in order to penetrate the circumstances and meaning of human existence.

The aim of the OKH research program is to enrich anthropological dialogue by including Christian perspectives in a traditionally secular field. The overarching question of the research project is the following one: “How might anthropology gain a deeper understanding of the human condition with insights from theology and faith-based ethnography?”

The following people and projects were awarded full grants: Jordan McGurran, “The Good Life, Development, and Loving, Desirous Personhood among Bakiga Christians in Western Uganda”; Lena Rose, “Torn between Present and Future: Researching Palestinian Evangelicalism as an Evangelical Anthropologist”; Megan Stueve, “Understanding the Emergence of Deliberate Hominid Mortuary Practices in Relation to Imago Dei.”

The following were awarded partial grants: Kofi Amoateng, “Faith of my Grandparents through Adinkra Symbolization”; Christopher Fraley, “The Process of Identity Formation in Youth Populations”; Ryan Kelly, “Unde Mallum: Deciphering the Roles of Radical Evil within the Pentecostal Theo-social Imaginary”; Stephanie Oelrich, “From Purchased to Personhood: The Rehumanization of Child Survivors of Human Trafficking in Kathmandu, Nepal.”

Award recipients were chosen by a team of scholars associated with the OKH Research Center. There will be another opportunity to apply for the fellowship in spring of 2017.

For more information about the OKH Research Center or the ETEF summer fellowships visit www.eastern.edu/matca.

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