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Aaron Hollander '07 Receives Fulbright Award

Hollander-CypressAaron Hollander ‘07 has been awarded a Fulbright US Student Award for research in Cyprus, where he willpursue fieldwork to complete his dissertation in Theology at the University of Chicago Divinity School. Aaron works primarily in intercultural theology and interreligious studies, with foci in the dynamics of religious conflict and coexistence, the hermeneutics of understanding and dialogue, comparative religious anthropologies and cosmologies, and material culture as a matrix of theological meaning. His dissertation interprets the development of the Greek Orthodox theology of holiness as grounded, both theologically and sociologically, in physical media and sensory mediation.

In Cyprus, he will investigate an Orthodox Christian mode of mediating holiness that has gone underappreciated by scholarship in the field. In the chapter based in this fieldwork he will treat museums and monuments as a nexus of “hagiographical processes” in the context of a divided society. In museums around Cyprus, the British colonial period on the island (1878-1960) and especially the “national struggle” of the final decade are commemorated in ways that infuse the cultural-political experience of a strained community with theological warrants and resonances. In such places, an imagination of holiness is atmospherically present or deliberately deployed, and the heroes of the time (as well as the religious buildings and the land of Cyprus itself) are celebrated in ways made intelligible through the lens of the hagiographical dynamics Aaron will have analyzed throughout the dissertation.

He is continuously grateful for the intense preparation and ongoing support of the Swarthmore Religion Department, without whom he would not have envisioned and certainly would not have attained such an opportunity for original research.