John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics Awards Two Postdoctoral Fellowships for 2024-2025

The faculty of the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University in St. Louis is pleased to announce its new cohort of postdoctoral fellows. The fellowships will begin with the 2024-2025 academic year and are renewable for the following year.

Jesse Lee is completing his dissertation in the department of religion at Florida State University. He studies the relationships between religion, race, law, language, and Asian American identities. His dissertation is titled “American Amida: The Buddhist Churches of America, Bureaucracy, and Religious Translation.” 

Abigail Modaff received her Ph.D. in History from Harvard University in 2021 and is currently teaching in the Honors College at the University of Houston. Her research uses a long-running Jewish women’s book club to reveal the social power and impact of women thinking together. The book, The Ladies’ Pioneer Society: A History of Women and Ideas in America, investigates the Pioneers of St. Louis, a book club founded in 1879 that still exists today. It is under contract with Simon and Schuster.

The two awardees bring to 32 the number of fellows supported by the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics since the inauguration of the program in 2012.

The fellowships are one expression of the Center’s mission to support scholars early in their careers. Fellows work to complete their first book or subsequent projects during their term at the Center, and they actively participate in the intellectual life of the Center and the University through teaching undergraduate students, joining the Center’s biweekly interdisciplinary seminar, and engaging our public events.

The John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics was established in 2010 and is located on the campus of Washington University in St. Louis. The Center serves as an open venue for fostering rigorous scholarship and informing broad academic and public communities about the intersections of religion and U.S. politics. For more information about the Center’s fellowship programs, please see