Scholars-in-Residence Program

The Burke Library seeks proposals by scholars to work for a period of up to nine months on a project that utilizes the Library's archives and special collections. The scholar will be provided access to Library resources, including collections and research assistance. In return, the scholar will present a talk on his or her work at a public event toward the end of the residency. The Scholar-in-Residence Program is designed to:

  • Encourage scholars to conduct original scholarship that draws on the resources of the Burke Library's special collections.
  • Facilitate the dissemination of the researcher's findings through lectures.
  • Foster productive working relationships between scholars and the Burke Library.

The residency does not provide housing, stipend, or salary of any kind. Once awarded, the residency will expire nine months from the date of award, usually following the academic year. Scholar-in-residence status can be granted only once and renewals or re-applications are not accepted.

The scholar should prepare a project description and submit it electronically to Beth Bidlack, Director of the Burke Library (, by April 15th for the following academic year. The scholar should be an individual with a Ph.D., a doctoral candidate who is ABD, or a professional with a distinguished scholarly career.


Current Scholar-in-Residence

Heather R. White is the 2013/14 Burke Scholar in Residence at the Burke Theological Library and a Fellow with the Engaged Scholars Studying Congregations Program of Hartford Seminary.  She has a Ph.D. in American Religion from Princeton University and has taught in the religious studies programs at Vassar College and New College of Florida. She is completing a book on American Protestants and homosexuality politics, tentatively titled Reforming Sodom: Protestants and the Making of Modern Sexual Identity. During her stay as a Scholar-in Residence at the Burke Library,  she will be working on a new project, which investigates the relationships between liberal churches in New York and radical political movements of the 1960s and 70s, with a focus on the Church of the Holy Apostles (Episcopal), which provided meeting space for gay liberation groups formed in the immediate wake of the Stonewall Riots. It is tentatively titled "Gay Liberation at the Church of the Holy Apostles."

On March 24, 2014, Heather gave a talk which was sponsored by Columbia University's Center for the Study of Religion and Sexuality, under the direction of Professor Katherine Ewing. The talk was on "The Talking Text: How the Bible Came to Speak about Homosexuality:"

Modern American Bible translations have become increasingly loquacious about same-sex sexuality. This talk traces the paradoxical ways that Protestant Bible practices, over the course of the twentieth century, facilitated marked change in the words of Holy Writ. This attention to a changing Bible illuminates the ways that Protestants actively took part in cultural changes to sexuality while also reforming the very authority that would seem to provide a timeless anchor to tradition.

Previous Scholars-in-Residence

Previous Scholars-in-Residence:

2009-2010: Dr. Brian Mahan

2010-2011: Dr. Davina Lopez & Dr. Todd Penner

2011-2012: Dr. Susan Graham