Towards a New Comparative Methodology in Religious Studies

Academic, Published, Religious Studies

The following was published on Religious Theory, e-supplement to the Journal for Cultural and Religious Theory. You can read it here

Author Note: The following was originally written as the introduction to a much longer comparative project between two religious myths. Additionally, the creation of the following model for comparative methodology in religious studies could not have been possible without the help and guidance of Dr. Amy Balogh. 

The field of comparative religious studies has a negative reputation in the broader umbrella of religious studies.[1] However, despite the failings of past comparative endeavors – which this article will detail – there is an imperative within the study of religion that comparisons among religions continue to be done: the act of comparison allows the comparativist and the readers to understand the original comparands in even greater depth than individual analysis. As a religious studies researcher, I believe that one of the duties of religious studies scholarship is to seek to understand the individual components that comprise a religion – practice, belief, and artifact – and (ideally) the religion as a whole. While the latter may be too lofty of an aspiration, it remains a goal of religious studies.

Instability in Niger: How Boko Haram Affects Poverty

News Writing, Poverty, Published

The following was published on The Borgen Project’s Magazine. You can read it here

SEATTLE — Niger is the second least developed country in the world, according to a 2016 U.N. report. Of the 19.8 million people in Niger, 49 percent live in poverty, 81 percent live in rural areas where food insecurity is high and 20 percent lack sufficient levels of food. Niger has a 3.9 percent annual growth rate–one of the highest in the world–and is prone to political instability and food insecurity. There are many contributing factors to poverty and instability in Niger. However, a major source compounding the situation is Boko Haram, a terrorist group originating in Nigeria.

Finding Solutions to the Russian Healthcare Crisis

Global Health, News Writing, Published

The following was published on The Borgen Project’s Magazine. You can read it here

SEATTLE — In recent years, Russia’s economic instability has increased due to rapidly falling oil prices, causing a spike in poverty and decreasing investments in infrastructure, such as healthcare. Though the Russian economy began its recovery in 2017 with a GDP increase of 1.5 percent, this is not significant enough to improve Russian quality of life or provide more funding for healthcare, which has led to a Russian healthcare crisis.

Road to Improvement: 10 Facts on Girls’ Education in Mexico

Education, News Writing, Poverty, Published

The following was published on The Borgen Project’s blog. You can read it here

Girls’ education in Mexico has steadily improved over the last 50 years in terms of school accessibility, educational infrastructure and attendance rates. The opportunity to attend primary school is almost equal for girls (49 percent) and boys (51 percent) in Mexico.

How Displacement and Poverty Create Health Risks in Bangladesh

Global Health, News Writing, Poverty, Published

The following was published on The Borgen Project’s Magazine. You can read it here.

SEATTLE — Bangladesh is the tenth most densely populated country in the world, with a population of 166 million people living in a land area of approximately 147,560 square kilometers. Between 2010 and 2016, urban poverty rates declined from 21.3 percent to 18.9 percent, and rural poverty rates declined from 35.2 percent to 26.4 percent. However, in recent years the rate of poverty reduction in Bangladesh has slowed. Today, approximately one in four Bangladeshis (24.3 percent of the population) remain in poverty and 12.9 percent of the population lives in extreme poverty. The poverty rates and health risks in Bangladesh are directly affected by the country’s high number of internally displaced persons, refugees and migrants.

Pretty Wreaths and Palm Trees

Creative, Published, Short Stories

The following was published on Short Fiction Break’s Spring Writing Contest. Read the whole piece here

I sat outside on the curb staring at the tip of my cigarette burning. I watched the tip glow in the reflection of the sewer water before I put it out.

I hadn’t wanted to come home for the holidays; I knew what to expect from my family. But I’d thought, Maybe, just maybe, this time we’d connect.

Dr. Richard S. Hess: A man on a mission

Education, News Writing, Published

The following was published on YourHub on March, 1, 2018. You can find it published online here

Not many people have started a globally-known journal on their own, but Dr. Richard S. Hess, editor of the Denver Journal, felt it was his academic, professional, and personal purpose to do so. Having lived all over the world, including in Israel, Britain, Europe, and N. America, Hess landed in Denver in 1997.

The Fire

Creative, Flash Fiction, Published

The following was published on Febuary 25, 2018 on #thesideshow, FIVE:2:ONE Magazine’s online publication. Read it here.

The bed felt hot and I looked down to see single flames erupt between our horizontal bodies. I couldn’t be sure who had started it—we both held used matches, the tips blackened and still hot, smoldering. He wasn’t surprised, unwillingly accustomed, and I attempted to put it out, smother it with blanketed apologies and the weight of my body, but that only angered it more, growing and spreading as we stoked it with sharp insults and stored-up old emotional problems like newspaper for kindling.

Professor Alessandro Perissinotto: “Primo Levi’s ‘Argon’ & the Jews of Piedmont: about a noble working class”

Education, News Writing, Published

The following was published on January 30, 2018 on Read it here

At the University of Denver, Professor Alessandro Perissinotto gave a guest lecture on Jan. 24 regarding a chapter in Primo Levi’s notable work, “The Periodic Table.”

Perissinotto spoke of complex issues such as identity formation, the effect of crises on the human condition, and the theme of work throughout Levi’s and his own novels.