John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics Awards Four Postdoctoral Fellowships for 2020-2021

The John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University in St. Louis is pleased to announce it has awarded four postdoctoral fellowships to exceptional early career scholars. The fellowships will begin with the 2020-2021 academic year and are renewable for the following year.

Christina Davidson is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History at Harvard University. She is an interdisciplinary historian with specializations in Latin American and Caribbean history, African American Studies, and religious history. Her book manuscript, Converting Hispaniola: Religious Race-Making in the Dominican Americas, explores diplomatic and cultural relations between the Dominican Republic and the United States in the late nineteenth century. Davidson earned her Ph.D. and  master’s degree in History from Duke University and a B.A. from Yale University in Latin American Studies and International Studies.

Candace Lukasik is a Ph.D. Candidate in Sociocultural Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley and the 2019-2020 inaugural research fellow in Coptic Orthodox Studies at Fordham University. Her research sits at the intersection of migration, religion, and politics, with a focus on Middle Eastern Christians. Her dissertation, “Transnational Anxieties: Coptic Christians as Martyrs and Migrants,” examines how Western concerns with the effects of sectarian violence and terrorism have come to redefine Coptic forms of community and belonging. Lukasik earned a master’s degree in Arab Studies from Columbia University and a B.A. from Canisius College in Political Science and International Relations.

Andrew Walker-Cornetta is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Religion at Princeton University, where he is also a certificate candidate in the Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies. His research explores the religious history of the making and management of cognitive difference in the U.S., with particular attention to themes of personhood, care, and kinship. His dissertation, “Spiritual Rehabilitation: Religion and Cognitive Disability in Postwar America,” examines changing cultural attitudes surrounding what was known in the 1950s as “mental retardation” and how those changes related to broader mid-century ideas about sociality and what it was to be human. Walker-Cornetta holds master’s degrees from Princeton and New York University and a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University.

Alexia Williams is a Ph.D. Candidate in American Studies and African American Studies at Yale University. Her research interests focus on questions of race, religion, and aesthetic production in the hemispheric Americas. Her dissertation “Black Revolutionary Saints: Roman Catholicism and the U.S. Racial Imagination” examines black discursive and aesthetic practices of sainthood to understand how Roman Catholicism has operated as a site of racial identity formation, political organizing, and aesthetic production for black Americans. In 2019-2020, she was a Visiting Scholar in the Religious Studies Department at Duke University. Williams earned her B.A. in English and Spanish at Spelman College.

These awards are one expression of the Center’s mission to support scholars early in their careers. Fellows will work to complete their first book projects during their term at the Center and will participate in the intellectual life of the Danforth Center on Religion and Politics, and the University, through teaching courses and joining the Center’s biweekly interdisciplinary seminar.

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