Congratulations to our MI Fellowship Recipients for 2024–25

Author: Medieval Institute

The Medieval Institute is pleased to announce its fellowship recipients for the academic year 2024–25. Congratulations to them all! 

Kayla Dang Headshot

Kayla Dang, Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies at Saint Louis University, will be our 2024–25 Mellon Fellow. Working across Classical Arabic, Syriac, Armenian, and Iranian languages, Dr. Dang researches the history of Islam in Late Antiquity, and interactions between Muslims, Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians. Dr. Dang completed her Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at Yale University. During her time at the Medieval Institute, she will be crafting a comprehensive study of the Zoroastrian priesthood (the first such study); she frames this priesthood as an institution formed in and as part of medieval Islamic society, and she examines the priests’ role in shaping the Zoroastrian religion as we know it today.

Man in a gray polo shirt points to a projected image on a screen

Tyler Wolford (Ph.D., Cornell University), will be our 2024–25 Byzantine Fellow. Tyler comes to the Medieval Institute from the Cornell Institute of Archaeology & Material Studies. He is a Byzantine archaeologist interested in how power is negotiated on the rural landscapes from late antiquity to the middle Byzantine period. Of particular interest to him is the role of monasteries in the changing of settlement patterns and as settlements themselves. During his year at the MI, he will work on his book project, "'Transformed into a Castle': Middle Byzantine Monastic Fortifications," researching the fortification of monasteries in the middle Byzantine world and their potential symbolic, aesthetic, authoritative meanings, in addition to their use as a refuge.

Bruce Mccuskey portrait

Bruce McCuskey is a second year Ph.D. student at the MI and will be our Gabriel Fellow for 2024–25. His research focuses on the distinct ways that Jews and Christians retrieved and the Platonic corpus in the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. In particular, Bruce explores how the retrieval of Platonic dialogues and late NeoPlatonic commentaries allowed thinkers like Marsilio Ficino, Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, Yohanan Alemanno, and David ben Judah Messer Leone to rethink medieval debates over issues in philosophical theology, especially concerning questions of the divine attributes and the immortality of the soul. Previously, Bruce earned a B.A. in Classics, Philosophy, and History from Washington and Lee University and an M.Div. From Duke Divinity School. 

Woman standing in a hallway wearing a red jacket and black shirt

Milanna Fritz is a second year Ph.D. student at the MI and will be our Duffy Fellow for 2024–25. She studies how the patristic homiletic tradition shaped eastern medieval monastic theology, considering how patristic and Middle Byzantine homilies, hymns, and commentaries can serve as textual remnants of the lived reception of dogmatic theology, especially with regard to human anthropology, soteriology, and Mariology. Milanna also researchs medieval pilgrimage narratives in the Near East as a locus of interfaith contact. Previously, Milanna earned a B.A. in History and Theology from Christendom College and an M.T.S. in History of Christianity from Notre Dame.