Former Fellows

Daniel Kodaj - Post-Doctoral Research Fellow


Daniel is the principal investigator of a research project “– Resuscitating the Metaphysics of Teleology” hosted by CEU’s Center for Religious Studies and funded by the Ian Ramsey Centre and the John Templeton Foundation. The project aims to produce new work on the metaphysics of teleology in contemporary analytic philosophy. Daniel holds a PhD in philosophy from CEU, and his primary interests are the philosophy of religion and contemporary varieties of anti-materialism. For more info, visit

Tamás Paár - Post-Doctoral Research Fellow


Tamás is a postdoctoral research assistant in a research project “Resuscitating the Metaphysics of Teleology” hosted by CEU’s Center for Religious Studies, funded by the Ian Ramsey Centre and the John Templeton Foundation. The project aims to produce new work on the metaphysics of teleology in contemporary analytic philosophy. Tamás holds a PhD in political theory from Pázmány Péter Catholic University. He is lecturer at the Philosophy Department of Pázmány, and the editor of the journal Elpis. His primary interests are epistemology, ethics, and political philosophy. For more information on this project at CEU, visit

Antonio Giulio Spagnuolo - CRS Research Intern

2 April - 31 May 2019

“I am aPhD student in Jewish Studies at the Department of Cultural Heritage of the University of Bologna, based in Ravenna. My three-year research aims to reconstruct the history of the Jewish cemeteries of Ferrara through the study of documentary sources inside the Jewish Community and also through the analysis of epitaphs in Hebrew and Italian hitherto preserved. During the second year of my doctorate I decided to study abroad at the CEU Center for Religious Studies. I chose CRS for the research intern to collaborate with Professor Carsten Wilke on the international database project "Jewish Cemetery Inscriptions in Europe," which is jointly organized by Professor Marcin Wodziński of the University of Wrocław (Poland). The two months at the CRS have been very fruitful for many aspects. I had the opportunity to compare my doctoral work with other similar studies and to expand it thanks to the valuable advice given to me by Professor Wilke. I have carried out bibliographical and source research and participated in lectures and conferences of the CRS. This was a fantastic and formative experience, which gave me the opportunity to meet many beautiful people. I am very happy to say that if I went back I would do it again without a doubt.”

Ute Falasch - CEU Humanities Initiative Religious Studies Post-doctoral Research Fellowship


Dr. Ute Falasch currently is Visiting Research Fellow at the Center for Religious Studies at Central European University. She graduated in South Asian Studies and Islamic Studies at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, where she received both her M.A. and Ph.D. degree. She also studied at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi Medieval Indian History. In her Ph.D. thesis Dr. Falasch focused on the Madāriyya, a South Asian Sufi brotherhood using an interdisciplinary approach that combined a multi-sited anthropological fieldwork with the historical approach based on sources. Her findings brought significant new insights to the study of wandering groups of Sufis in South Asia. Dr. Falasch taught three years at the Institute of Indology and Central Asian Studies at Leipzig University undergraduate and graduate courses in the field of History and Culture of South Asia as well as languages. Among her courses were the following: Religious Identities and their potential for conflict; Social and Economic Pluralities in Post-liberalised India as well as Hindi and Urdu literature on the Partition of India from Indian and Pakistani perspectives. Prior to this, she was a research fellow in the joint-project Dialogue(s) with Islam(s) in European and South Asian Perspectives, a cooperation between University of Erfurt, Jamia Millia Islamia in New Delhi and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). Her research revolved around new developments concerning the Muslim Personal Law in India.

Dr. Falasch’s research interest is centered on the religious and social history of Muslim South Asia. She is the author of the monograph Heiligkeit und Mobilität. Die Madāriyya Sufibruderschaft und ihr Gründer Badīʿ al-Dīn Shāh Madār in Indien, 15. – 19. Jahrhundert (2015). In her article “Regulating rapture: The malang in the Madāriyya” (2012), she discussed the impact of the changes brought by the British East India Company on the forms of piety of wandering groups of Sufis and Hindu ascetics and their ways of resistance to the colonial project in 18th century Bengal. Expressions of spiritual authority were the focal point of her latest article, “Negotiating Religious Authority at a Shrine Inhabited by a Living Saint: The dargāh of “Zinda” Shāh Madār” (2016). In her current research project on religious and political authority in North India in the 15th and 16th cent. She analyzes the interaction between Sufis and regional rulers regarding discourses on legitimate rule as well as the ways of negotiating faith and reason in that period.

Dong Zhao - Visiting Research Fellow

July 2017

Zhao Dong, PhD, Associate Professor of the School of English and International Studies of Beijing Foreign Studies University, China, has research interests in Buddhism and Christianity from cultural and literary perspectives and Chinese religions through textual and anthropological approaches. He was Visiting Scholar of Harvard University Center for the Study of World Religions (2015-2016) and Yale Divinity School (2003-2004). He teaches in English courses such as Buddhism in Chinese Culture, Guided Readings in Confucian, Buddhist and Taoist Classics, Bible as Literature, etc. He is the author of the book The Bible and the Faerie Queen (2008), and has published 13 peer reviewed papers in English in international academic journals. His current research is on the effects of religious policies on European and American experiences and anti-religious extremism.

Khin Thidar - Visiting Research Fellow


Khin Thidar is a Professor of History at Mandalay University, Myanmar. She obtained a B.A (Hons) (1993), MA (1997) and PhD (2003) from University of Yangon, Myanmar. Her teaching career began at Mawlamyine University in 1995. She teaches courses on Myanmar Art and Architecture, History of Buddhism in Myanmar and Southeast Asian History. She had done research works on the social history of Myanmar, religious studies in Myanmar and art history in Myanmar especially as it relates to Buddhist art. Her research papers have been published in Research Journals such as Journal of the Myanmar Academy of Arts & Science, Myanmar Historical Research Journal, Journals of Department of SEAsian Studies published by University of Malaya and Suvannabhumi published by Institute for Southeast Asian Studies, Pusan University of Foreign Studies, Republic of Korea. In 2003, She received the Prime Minister’s Honourable Award in Myanmar. In 2006, she received Outstanding Woman of the Year of Myeik Region, Southern Myanmar for her research project on analytical study of Buddha images and pagodas in Myeik region. Her research paper concerning the Cetiya of the late 18th Century and early 19th century of Myanmar won the Best Paper Award in Arts at Magway University in 2013 and her research paper on Monasteries with Sculptures of Magway Region also won the Best Paper Award in Arts in 2014. Dr Khin Thidar has presented her work at international conferences held in Thailand, Korea, Japan and China, specifically her research on Buddhist Art and Architecture of Myanmar. Her books on Theraväda Buddha Säsana in Myanmar were published in May 2017 by Lambert Academic Publishing, Saarbrucken, Germany. During her time as a CEU Visiting Research Fellow at Central European University, the topic of her research was “Reconsidering King Badon’s Exertions on Buddhism in Myanmar in the late 18th and early 19th Century”. This research will be presented at the international conference on “Reorienting Myanmar Studies in Myanmar” which will be held in Yangon, Myanmar in February 2018, with publication of the conference proceedings to follow.

Ruqayya Yasmine Khan - Visiting Research Fellow 


Ruqayya Yasmine Khan currently is Mohannad Malas Chair of the M.A. program in Islamic Studies and Associate Professor in the School of Religion at Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, California (2013-present). She also contributes to the doctoral concentrations concerning Critical Comparative Scriptures and Women’s Studies in Religion in the Department of Religion. Prior to this, she taught for ten years at Trinity University’s Department of Religion in San Antonio, Texas. Born in Pakistan, with her childhood in Kenya, Africa, she and her family moved to the U.S. when she was a young girl.

Dr. Khan undertook her graduate training at the University of Pennsylvania, where she received both her M.A. and Ph.D degrees. She also has spent time studying Arabic at the American University of Cairo in Egypt as a fellow for C.A.S.A (Center for Arabic Study Abroad). In 2009, Dr. Khan was the recipient of the Fulbright-Hayes Award for Teaching and Research at the Institute of Islamic Studies, University of Sarajevo, Bosnia Herzegovina. In 2015, she received the Fletcher Jones Foundation award for her book project concerning Hafsa bint ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab, a significant female figure of the early Muslim community. On sabbatical for Fall 2016, Dr. Khan is currently researching and writing this book. Dr. Khan’s research interests include Arabic Literary Studies (both medieval and modern), Qur’anic Studies, Feminist Studies and Islam, Islam and the Environment, as well as the Digital Humanities. Among her courses at the Graduate University of Claremont are the following: Feminism and Qur’anic Studies, Islamic Cosmology and Mysticism, Comparing Religions, Feminist Approaches to the Wives of the Prophet, as well as Western Qur’anic Studies. She is the author of a book Self and Secrecy in Early Islam (2008) and the Editor for a volume Muhammad in the Digital Age (University of Texas Press, 2015), to which she has also contributed a chapter. Her most recent published article is entitled “Did a Woman Edit the Qur’an? Hafsa and her Famed Codex” (2014, in the flagship periodical Journal of American Academy of Religion) which concerns Hafsa bint ‘Umar, a female figure in early Islam and one of the wives of prophet Muhammad. Her present book project draws upon this article and is concerned with Hafsa bint ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab, one of the wives of the prophet Muhammad, and arguably a major figure as regards an early Qur’anic codex (suhuf Hafsa).

Alba Fedeli - CEU Humanities Initiative Religious Studies Post-doctoral Research Fellowship


The Center for Religious Studies has awarded Dr. Alba Fedeli (University of Birmingham) the CEU Humanities Initiative Religious Studies Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship, hosted by the Center for Religious Studies. Her recent breakthrough discovery - what may be one of the oldest fragments of the Quran in existence – recently gained wide publicity in the media and Fedeli continues her research at CEU on Early Quranic Manuscripts and their Relationship as Studied through Phylogenetic Software.