Princeton appointment for Professor

Published: 2/05/2018

Professor Kollontai joins ‘Religion and Violence’ team as International Resident Scholar at the Centre for Theological Inquiry at Princeton University.

Princeton University, home of the Centre for Theological Inquiry

Pauline Kollontai, York St John University Professor of Higher Education in Theology and Religious Studies, has been selected to be one of the International Resident Scholars at the Centre for Theological Inquiry (CTI), Princeton USA. Professor Kollontai, who is also Director of the Centre for Religion in Society at York St John, will be a member of the CTI’s Resident Research Interdisciplinary Seminar Programme Team on  ‘Religion and Violence’  from January – May 2019, and will subsequently be given permanent membership status of CTI.

The issues of religion, violence and peace form the focus of much of Professor Kollontai’s research. Pauline says that her qualifications in Peace Studies and Theology and Religious Studies provide an essential inter-disciplinary framework for her research, stating; “The relationship between religion, violence and peace is a complex and contested one and I believe that interdisciplinary engagement is essential.” Pauline believes that working as part of an interdisciplinary team will enhance her work through an active and dialogical exchange of ideas. Pauline’s research project will focus on minority rights in contemporary Israel through a critique of the praxis of the Jewish values of Ve’ahabhath le-Re’akha (love of neighbour) and Va’ahavtem et ha-Ger (love of stranger), which she plans to publish as a single-authored book. Pauline says her time will be utilised for further research, reading, writing and interacting with Princeton scholars from Theology, Religion, Humanities and Social Sciences.

Professor Kollontai sees this opportunity as having a number of benefits for her research and also for York St John University and its students; “There will be immense value and stimulation brought to my research because of working ‘face-to-face’ with scholars from other disciplines, rather than being mainly dependent on reading their research through academic publications.

“I also see that my time at CTI will facilitate working with new networks within the USA and across the world on research activities and on promoting partnerships between institutions in teaching and learning through staff and student exchanges and programme developments.”

It also provides opportunities to learn from other international scholars about how their research feeds into their teaching and learning in terms of content and in promoting and enhancing research skills and methods. Pauline believes that having the opportunity to have a sustained period of time doing cutting-edge research in the environment which CTI provides will also contribute to enhancing the teaching and learning experience of York St John students as they continue to be given fresh thinking which is intellectually challenging and continues to evolve.

On a personal level Pauline highlights that external opportunities like this are really important for academics in confirming that their work is valued and can be taken much further. She says, “Being accepted as a resident scholar at CTI has definitely confirmed that my research is valued, it has a purpose, and my own personal sense of worth has gone up by degrees!”

Further information about the CTI’s work can be found here.

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