Religion students Kirill Lepekhin and Keith Garrett recently recieved University of Toronto Undergraduate Excellence awards to conduct summer research projects under the supervision of DSR faculty members.

Kirill LepekhinKirill Lepekhin will work on a project titled “Associative Practices in Mediterranean Antiquity” with John Kloppenborg. The project is a the study of the associative practices of early Christ-groups (a.k.a. ‘churches’) that sets these practices in the context of Greco-Roman associations. Although small, face-to-face, private associations – organized around the workplace or profession, a cult, a diasporic identity, an extended family, or a neighborhood – can be found in practically every city and town of Mediterranean antiquity, data about these groups have never been employed systematically and carefully as comparanda for early Christ-groups. The reasons for this neglect are less important than the insights to be gained by using knowledge about ancient Mediterranean associations heuristically to interrogate the data from early Christ-groups and to reconstruct the practices of such groups with the practices of Greco-Roman associations clearly in view. In short, the thesis of the project is, paraphrasing Lévy Strauss, “associations are good to think with.”

Kirill is an international student from Russia, majoring in Religion and Islamic Studies. His interests include New Testament studies, Qur’anic studies, and recently the Philosophy of Religion. He is in his 4th year and will graduate this June.

Keith GarrettKeith Garrett will research a project titled “Story Nation and Supernatural Resources” with Pamela Klassen. Keith’s work will support the work of the Story Nations digital humanities project. Story Nations will produce a digital edition of a missionary’s diary of his 1898 visit to the Ojibwe of the Rainy River and an audio-visual version of the diary, and is produced in consultation with the Kay-Nah-Chi-Wah-Nung Historical Centre of the Rainy River First Nations in northwestern Ontario. The website will launch in October 2017.

Keith is now entering his fourth year at U of T, double majoring in Economics and History. Keith has previously done archival research on seditious libel cases in Eighteenth Century England. For the Story Nations project, Keith also already helped format a reader friendly version of Frederick Du Vernet’s diary.

The University of Toronto Excellence Award program is funded by the Vice-President Research and Innovation. The $6,000 award funds 14 weeks of research during the summer term.