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Seton Hall University

Core Welcomes New Faculty and Celebrates Faculty News

Inside the Core this week, we begin the fall semester with a warm welcome to our two new Core Fellows, Erin Risch Zoutendam and Thomas Seat. Both Fellows were hired after an extensive national search and bring important research interests and experience very relevant to the Core.

erin zoutendam

Erin graduated with her PhD in Religion from Duke University in 2023. Her major areas of interest are church history and historical theology, with a particular focus on medieval and early modern mysticism, medieval and early modern women, and the history of biblical hermeneutics. Her dissertation, titled "Word and Presence: The Role of Scripture in the Formation and Reformation of Mystical Theology, 1200–1580," examines the intersection of biblical interpretation and mystical theology in the later Middle Ages and the Reformation. During her doctoral studies, she was the recipient of a James B. Duke Fellowship, a Louisville Doctoral Fellowship, and an Advanced Theological Studies Fellowship at Kampen Theological University. She is thrilled to join the Core at Seton Hall and is looking forward to sharing some of her favorite texts with students.

thomas seat

Tom Seat comes to Seton Hall from a doctoral program in Religion and Society at Princeton Theological Seminary, where he also earned an M.Div. and a Th.M. At the nexus of American Religion and World Christianity, much of his research examines how American Christians working abroad influenced foreign populaces and governments during the twentieth century. Tom’s current book project builds on his dissertation, titled “Cold War Missions: How the CIA Used Christians and Their Faith Commitments in Covert Operations,” and it breaks new historiographic ground by uncovering a history of how U.S. intelligence agencies used Christians abroad to further U.S. interests and shape the world order during the 1950s and 1960s.

Whether working with public school students through Teach for America, undergraduate students at Princeton University, or graduate students at Princeton Theological Seminary, Tom brings to the Core a wide-ranging teaching experience. While excited about his research, he considers equipping students with what they need to excel in their education, careers, and life to be the best part of academia, positioning him to make strong contributions to the Department of the Core.

We also welcome back Core Fellow Roger Alfani from his National Endowment for the Humanities funded trip to several countries in Africa (Burundi, Uganda, and Kenya), where he visited refugee camps, researching the impact of religion on the lived experience of refugees. He will be giving a talk this fall, co-sponsored by the Core and Campus Ministry, about his profound and moving experiences with the refugees with whom he interacted. The date and location will be announced soon.

sister bosco at african congress

Sister Mary John Bosco Amakwe at African Congress

Also, Core faculty member and long-standing adjunct at Seton Hall, Sister Mary John Bosco Ebere Amakwe attended the African National Eucharistic Congress in Washington, D.C. She said it was a wonderfully enriching experience, culminating with a “unity Mass” with 105 priests, 17 bishops, 12 deacons and about 79 religious sisters. Sister Bosco also enjoyed a visit to the Museum of African History and Culture, which was a very powerful experience, particularly the part of the museum devoted to Biafra, the area of Nigeria from which she comes.

Finally, Maribel Landrau, Assistant Director of the Core who also teaches regularly in the Core, gave a talk by invitation by Rev. Eugenio de la Rama (Father Gino), Director of the Vocation Office of the Archdiocese of Newark, to participate as a guest speaker for a yearly Bible Summer Camp for high school boys, Quo Vadis Talk. The presentation was on “Saint Oscar Romero, Man of Fortitude.” June 27, 2023. The talk was a great success.

The Core is truly blessed with wonderful faculty, as we welcome our new Fellows, as well as celebrate the wonderful activities of our faculty during the summer months.

Categories: Education