Student Engagement

A student-centered course-design team led by Prof. Baker met during Short Term in May 2023 to create a new introductory Religious Studies course that centers race, power, privilege, and colonialism. Here they present their progress at a campus-wide showcase event. From left Rishi Madnani ’23, Khushi Choudhary ’23, Jack Cantor ’23, Prof. Cynthia Baker, Martha Coleman ’23, and Rashad King ’25. Prof. Marcus Bruce (not in photo) also worked closely with the design team and will launch the new course in Winter 2024.

A student-centered course-design team led by Professor Baker met during Short Term in May 2023 to create a new introductory Religious Studies course that centers race, power, privilege, and colonialism. Here they present their progress at a campus-wide showcase event. From left Rishi Madnani ’23, Khushi Choudhary ’23, Jack Cantor ’23, Prof. Cynthia Baker, Martha Coleman ’23, and Rashad King ’25. Professor Marcus Bruce (not in the photo) also worked closely with the design team and will launch the new course in Winter 2024.

Student members of a Religious Studies Short Term course-design team pose with outgoing Bates President Clayton Spencer at an event in Perry Atrium showcasing innovative Short Term courses. From left: President Spencer, Rashad King ’25, Martha Coleman ’23, Jack Cantor ’23, Khushi Choudhary ’23, Rishi Madnani ’23.

Student members of a Religious Studies Short Term course-design team pose with outgoing Bates President Clayton Spencer at an event in Perry Atrium showcasing innovative Short Term courses. From left: President Spencer, Rashad King ’25, Martha Coleman ’23, Jack Cantor ’23, Khushi Choudhary ’23, Rishi Madnani ’23.

Three RS double-majors presented their interdisciplinary research at the 2023 Mount David Summit on a panel entitled “Religion in America: Ancient Traditions ~ Modern Iterations.” From left: Prof. Cynthia Baker (panel moderator), Max Devon ’23 RS & History; Alice Cockerham ’23 RS & Anthropology; Alex Platt ’23 RS & Rhetoric, Film, & Screen Studies; Prof. Charles Nero (thesis advisor for Alex’s RFSS thesis). Three other RS majors presented on a panel entitled “Crafting Religious Identities through Comedy, Poetry, Midrash, and Memoir.

Three Religious Studies double-majors presented their interdisciplinary research at the 2023 Mount David Summit on a panel entitled “Religion in America: Ancient Traditions ~ Modern Iterations.” From left: Professor Cynthia Baker (panel moderator), Max Devon ’23 Religious Studies and History; Alice Cockerham ’23 Religious Studies and Anthropology; Alex Platt ’23 Religious Studies and Rhetoric, Film, & Screen Studies; Professor Charles Nero (thesis advisor for Alex’s Rhetoric, Film, and Screen Studies thesis). Three other Religious Studies majors presented on a panel entitled “Crafting Religious Identities through Comedy, Poetry, Midrash, and Memoir. A seventh Religious Studies major presented a photo essay of the Himalayas.

Khushi began her relationship with Harvard Divinity School soon after starting her undergraduate career at Bates. This fall she will begin a Master of Theological Studies degree there. Congratulations Khushi!

Khushi Choudhary ’22 awarded the Graduate Religious Studies Award.

Khushi began her relationship with Harvard Divinity School soon after starting her undergraduate career at Bates. This fall she will begin a Master of Theological Studies degree there. Congratulations Khushi!

Jack Cantor and Frances White each won an Outstanding Thesis Award in Religious Studies. Jack’s Honors Thesis, advised by Dr. Melnick Dyer is titled: "Of Pawos and Bodhisattvas: The Poltico-Religious Language of Tibetan Self-Immolation". Frances’s Thesis, advised by Dr. Baker is titled: "Women with Chutzpah: Comedy as a Subversive Tool of Jewish Female Comedians: An Analysis of the Humor of Sophie Tucker, Totie Fields, Gilda Radner, Ilana Glazer and Tiffany Haddish"

Jack Cantor and Frances White each won an Outstanding Thesis Award in Religious Studies. Jack’s Honors Thesis, advised by Dr. Melnick Dyer is titled: “Of Pawos and Bodhisattvas: The Poltico-Religious Language of Tibetan Self-Immolation”. Frances’s Thesis, advised by Dr. Baker is titled: “Women with Chutzpah: Comedy as a Subversive Tool of Jewish Female Comedians: An Analysis of the Humor of Sophie Tucker, Totie Fields, Gilda Radner, Ilana Glazer and Tiffany Haddish.”

Three Religious Studies majors in this year’s graduating class won the Rev. West Gould Willis Award for work in biblical studies. From left are Khushi Choudhary, Alex Platt, and Alice Cockerham. Alex won the award in 2022 and Khushi and Alice won in 2023.

Three Religious Studies majors in this year’s graduating class won the Rev. West Gould Willis Award for work in biblical studies. From left are Khushi Choudhary, Alex Platt, and Alice Cockerham. Alex won the award in 2022 and Khushi and Alice won in 2023.

Four Religious Studies Majors earned Honors for their thesis work this year. From left: Max Devon, "The Seekers: American Religion in the Context of Heaven's Gate”; Alice Cockerham, "The Mark of the Beast, the COVID-19 Pandemic, and the End of the World”; Jack Cantor, "Of Pawos and Bodhisattvas: The Poltico-Religious Language of Tibetan Self-Immolation”; and Khushi Choudhary, "Gardens of Oppression: In Search of Her Delight"

Four Religious Studies Majors earned Honors for their thesis work this year. From left: Max Devon, “The Seekers: American Religion in the Context of Heaven’s Gate”; Alice Cockerham, “The Mark of the Beast, the COVID-19 Pandemic, and the End of the World”; Jack Cantor, “Of Pawos and Bodhisattvas: The Poltico-Religious Language of Tibetan Self-Immolation”; and Khushi Choudhary, “Gardens of Oppression: In Search of Her Delight.” 

Maddie Korbey ’22 presents her Religious Studies thesis research at the Mount David Summit.

Maddie Korbey ’22 presents her Religious Studies thesis research at the Mount David Summit.

Three Religious Studies majors presented their research at the Mount David Summit in April 2022 on a panel titled, “Religious Studies at the Cutting Edge:  Life and Death, Love and War, Local and Global.”  From left:  Alex Platt ’23, Cynthia Baker (moderator), Maddie Korbey ’22, and Insha Afsar ’22.

Three Religious Studies majors presented their research at the Mount David Summit in April 2022 on a panel titled, “Religious Studies at the Cutting Edge:  Life and Death, Love and War, Local and Global.”  From left:  Alex Platt ’23, Cynthia Baker (moderator), Maddie Korbey ’22, and Insha Afsar ’22.

St. Paul’s, Khushi Choudhary, November 2021, London, UK

Khushi Choudhary ’23 chanced upon what appears to be an imprisoned woman outside St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. The figure is actually an allegory of Ireland and sits with her harp within the Statue of Queen Anne outside the cathedral. Choudhary, however, is interested in the photography of sculpture and architecture and looks for interesting compositional possibilities.

Senior majors Andrew Segal and Ahmed Sheikh join Professor Alison Melnick in meeting new Bates students interested in Religious Studies at the Academic Fair during fall orientation.  August 2016.

Keila Ching '18 of Honolulu, Hawaii, a student in "Epics of Asia" taught by Assistant Professor of Religious Studies Alison Melnick, performs her final project in the Black Box Theater. For their finals, the students were asked to reinterpret an epic myth in a format of their choice, and Ching opted to create a shadow puppet performance featuring a prologue to the Tibetan myth of Gesar of Ling

Keila Ching ’18 of Honolulu, Hawaii, a student in “Epics of Asia” taught by Assistant Professor of Religious Studies Alison Melnick, performs her final project in the Black Box Theater. For their finals, the students were asked to reinterpret an epic myth in a format of their choice, and Ching opted to create a shadow puppet performance featuring a prologue to the Tibetan myth of Gesar of Ling. Spring 2016 (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

Associate Professor of Religious Studies Cynthia Baker slices an apple for students in her first-year seminar, "The Nature of Spirituality." She asked them to dip the fruit into honey as an expression of hope for a sweet school year. The ritual is inspired by an age-old Jewish New Year tradition. Baker and her students had just climbed Mount David, a 389-foot granite outcropping near campus, where they followed the apples and honey with a discussion of "Nature," a Ralph Waldo Emerson essay published in 1836. Today, all members of the Class of 2019 met with their first-year seminar instructors for class discussion and academic advising

Professor of Religious Studies Cynthia Baker slices an apple for students in her first-year seminar, “The Nature of Spirituality.” She asked them to dip the fruit into honey as an expression of hope for a sweet school year. The ritual is inspired by an age-old Jewish New Year tradition. Baker and her students had just climbed Mount David, a 389-foot granite outcropping near campus, where they followed the apples and honey with a discussion of “Nature,” a Ralph Waldo Emerson essay published in 1836. Today, all members of the Class of 2019 met with their first-year seminar instructors for class discussion and academic advising. Fall 2016 (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

Short Term course (ECREs23) Gimme Shelter:  Making Housing Affordable, Making Affordable Housing.  Spring 2016.

Religious Studies seminar students present community-engaged projects at a poster session in conjunction with the “Chaos or Community:  Conversations on Criminal Justice Reform in Maine” symposium at Bates.  April 2016.

Senior Religious Studies majors Alex Tritell (right) and Ahmed Sheikh (left) present at the Mount David Summit with classmate Ezra Oliff-Lieberman.  April 2016.

Religious studies majors Emilie Muller ’16 of Concord, N.H., Esperanza Gilbert ’16 of Brooklyn, Wendy Goldman ’16 of Dresden, Maine, Melissa Carp ’16 of Newton, Mass., and Alex Tritell ’16 of Bethesda, Md., pose for a photograph before their presentations.  April 2016.

Religious Studies majors present their research at the Mount David Summit, April 2015.