Introducing: Mareike Smolka

This month Mareike Smolka has joined FASoS as a PhD student with a scholarship from the Center for Cultural Research Lübeck (ZKFL) in Germany. Her ethnographic and historical study of different actors’ conceptions of “responsibility” in neuroscientific meditation research will be supervised by Cyrus Mody, Darian Meacham and Cornelius Borck (ZKFL).

In April 2018, I joined the FASoS Graduate School as a PhD student with a scholarship from the Center for Cultural Research Lübeck (Zentrum für Kulturwissenschaftliche Forschung Lübeck, ZKFL) in Germany. My PhD research will be supervised by Cyrus Mody, Darian Meacham and Cornelius Borck (ZKFL). It is an ethnographic and historical study of different actors’ conceptions of “responsibility” in neuroscientific meditation research. I will insert myself as a participant in various ethnographic sites: in a large-scale neuroscientific meditation research study, so I can engage with researchers and research participants; but also in the religious studies scholarly community, to talk to advocates of different views on how religious studies should interact with cognitive neuroscience; and in the middle of my own meditation community so that I better understand my ethical positioning at the other sites.

Before starting my PhD I have already been around at Maastricht University, both as a student and as an employee. I was a student at UCM from 2012 to 2015 and completed the CAST Research Master programme in June 2017. Afterwards I received the FASoS Post-Research-Master Fellowship to work on PhD grant applications. I have also been working as a tutor at UCM and will continue teaching there the upcoming years next to my PhD research. I am looking forward to stay in Maastricht for this exciting period of my life and to immerse myself in the academic community!

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