University of Miami Assistant Professor in Religious Studies Awarded Prestigious Fellowship at Library of Congress

Catherine Newell, an assistant professor in the UM College of Arts and Science’s Department of Religious Studies, was recently awarded the David B. Larson Fellowship in Health and Spirituality at the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

“Catherine’s fellowship is a testament to the relevance of interdisciplinary studies, and to the importance of her field of research for our students, our larger community, and our continued understanding of the complexity of our path to staying healthy or coping with illness,” said Maria Stampino, senior associate dean for academic affairs. “The College is proud that Catherine will represent us in our nation’s capital, in one of the foremost research centers.”

Dr. Catherine Newell, assistant professor, Religious Studies

Starting in May 2017, Newell will have access to a rich collection of historical and current documents at the Library of Congress to research a project she has entitled “Food Faiths: Health, Wellness, and the Science of Spiritual Eating.”

In her fellowship proposal, Newell’s explains how her research explores the way individuals “internalize scientific knowledge regarding health and diet, which they incorporate into their lives as a basis for personal spiritual practice.” Her research also explores the world of spiritual eating in which science is used to justify a diet and/or lifestyle by people who identify themselves not by a religion but by their diet – i.e. vegan, gluten-free.

“It’s an honor to receive this fellowship,” said Newell. “At the Library of Congress, I’ll have access to archival material, from historical letters to contemporary documentation, to help me conduct in-depth research for my book that I hope will contribute to the study of spirituality and health in modern times.”

Newell’s fellowship begins in May 2017. As a resident scholar at the Library of Congress for seven months, Newell is required to make a public presentation about her research and collaborate with other scholars conducting research at the Library. The David B. Larson Fellowship endorses academic research on the relation of religion and spirituality to physical, mental and social health.



December 12, 2016