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Communications and Marketing

Helping (religion) foodies everywhere

Richter Scholar Jessica Chang ’17 is working with Assistant Professor of Religion Ben Zeller to compile a bibliographic database of academic works on the emerging field of religion and food.

Chang’s responsibilities have included familiarizing herself with the field as well as researching, reading, compiling and annotating relevant sources for the database at www.rel-food.org. As of mid-July, she had compiled more than 320 entries.

“There are journal articles, books, book sections, chapters … ,” says Chang on her progress this summer. “For each one I write an abstract of 50-100 words.”

Zeller is heavily involved in this emerging field of study, having edited Religion, Food, and Eating in North America (2014) and presented at a religion and food conference in Finland this summer. His project is aimed at providing a compilation of well-organized and annotated resources on the field of religion and food to colleagues and students at institutions of higher education in the United States and abroad.

In working with Zeller, Chang was also given the chance to gain experience in digital humanities and scholarship by learning about various online databases and their features to host the project. They decided on Zotero, a free online platform for compiling and sharing sources that also provides a highly interactive environment for academics.

Following Chang’s involvement in this project, Zeller hopes to continue adding to, sharing and editing the contents of his bibliography.

“He’s hoping other scholars will add to the bibliography and edit other versions,” Chang said.

Chang originally found out about the College’s prestigious Richter Scholar Program during a prospective student visit. A finance major, she saw working with Zeller on his religion project as an opportunity to be a part of something new and develop her reading and writing skills.

In addition to her research work, she says she has enjoyed the Richter Scholar Program for the other activities and experiences it offers students. For instance, the Professors on Parade program in which professors talk to the group of Richter Scholars about their academic journeys and how they became professors.

Story by Asha Walker ’15