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Drew University Library Announces 2023-24 Awards, Grants

Priscilla Pope-Levison, Jenny McGill, and Young-chan Choi named recipients

June 2023 – The Department of Special Collections and University Archives of the Drew University Library and the Florence Ellen Bell Awards Committee have announced the  2023-2024 recipients of the Florence Ellen Bell Scholar Awards and the inaugural Bell Grant for the Study of Korean and Korean-American Methodism.

Dr. Priscilla Pope-Levison and Dr. Jenny McGill have been awarded Florence Ellen Bell Scholar Awards, and Dr. Young-chan Choi has been awarded the first Bell Grant for the Study of Korean and Korean-American Methodism.

Priscilla Pope-Levison (PhD, St. Andrews) is Research Professor of Practical Theology at Perkins School of Theology/SMU. Her published areas of research—seven books and more than 40 articles—span a wide breadth, from women’s religious history to Methodist history, from theology to evangelism. She serves on the following editorial boards: Routledge Methodist Studies Series, Methodist Review, Journal of Wesley and Methodist Studies, and Wesleyan and Methodist Explorations Series with Cascade Books. In 2022, she received the Distinguished Service Award from the General Commission on Archives and History of the United Methodist Church.

Pope-Levison’s project, Negotiating Boundaries: The Emergence of the International Methodist Deaconess Movement, 1885-1918, to be published by Cascade Books in their Wesleyan and Methodist Explorations Series, will provide a thorough analysis of the intricate negotiations during the Methodist deaconess movement’s emergence on an international scale. This interdisciplinary book, integrating women’s studies, biblical studies, theology, history, and sociology, will focus on the twists and turns of the deaconess movement in its multi-faceted negotiations of church regulations, male clergy, women’s ministry, society’s gendered expectations, and its distinctive dress.

Jenny McGill (PhD, King’s College London) serves as an adjunct faculty member at Indiana Wesleyan University, having worked for 10 years as an intercultural consultant and international educator and six years as a dean. A Fulbright award recipient, she researches the intersection of religion, culture, and identities.

McGill’s area of interest is African American female missionaries who departed the U.S. to serve in African countries, specifically in Liberia and Angola, during the years from 1870-1940.

This project will involve gathering the stories of these missionaries whose ministry and impact may be less well-known. McGill hopes the research highlights the significance of these missionaries’ lives and reminds those who follow that they have the agency to follow suit in a pursuit of mercy, justice, and love.

Young-chan Choi (PhD, University of London) grew up in Seoul, South Korea. His scholarly interests span the early modern comparative study of philosophy to making sense of how American Protestantism shaped the history of modern Korean political thought and intellectual culture. Dr. Choi is currently an associate member of the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Oxford.

Choi’s project explores the theological formation of Charles Scott Deming (1876-1938), a Drew alumnus and American Southern Methodist missionary to Korea from the early 1900s until his departure in the 1930s. His missionary pedagogy in Korea unveils a little-known episode in global intellectual history: the transmission of early Enlightenment thought in early twentieth-century Korea. Choi emphasizes the significance of this intellectual transmission by providing context to Deming’s educational formation at Drew and seeks to reevaluate missionary education as a crucial catalyst in the global history of Enlightenment.

The Florence Ellen Bell Scholar Award provides $2,500 for expenses relating to academic research at the United Methodist Archives and History Center at Drew University in Madison, NJ. The Award supports scholars using the Methodist Collections of Drew University and the General Commission on Archives and History (GCAH) for the United Methodist Church. 

The Bell Grant for the Study of Korean and Korean-American Methodism provides $1,000 for expenses relating to academic research at the United Methodist Archives and History Center at Drew University in Madison, NJ. The Grant supports scholars using the Methodist Collections of Drew University and the General Commission on Archives and History (GCAH) for the United Methodist Church, specifically for research on Korean and/or Korean-American Methodism. 

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