During the New Year's Reception of the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies on 6 January 2020, Welmoed Wagenaar received the Prof. H.G. Hubbeling Prize. This prize is awarded every three year to the student with the most excellent master's thesis in the fields of Theology and Religious Studies of that period.
Welmoed Wagenaar wrote her thesis
Framing the Fictional: Making sense of Tumblr media fandom in everyday life
about ritual fandom and heritage for the Research Master's Programme in Theology and Religious. For her thesis, she already won a national prize for best thesis in religious studies (the Cornelis Thiele prijs). The jury choose her thesis for her attention to the interactions between the lived and virtual realities of a select group of Tumblr users addressed questions of liminality and meaning-making in an original, clearly written, timely, and closely- and convincingly-argued thesis. 'Particularly in the light of its “non-traditional” subject matter (for theology and religious studies) and contemporary relevance (a micro-blogging social networking website founded just over a decade ago), the jury therefore awards the 2019 Hubbeling Prize to Welmoed Wagenaar for her thesis Framing the Fictional, and congratulate her on this honorable award.'
Wagenaar is now a PhD student at the Faculty, after successfully handing in a proposal for a PhD research project via the competitive NWO Programme in humanities: The everyday life of media fans: ritual and sacralisation in online media fandom. The project opens a new field for Religious Studies, namely the relationships between fictional, virtual and everyday reality (under supervision of Kim Knibbe and Elisabetta Costa). Welmoed will shed light on the ways in which fans navigate the complex and fluid boundaries between these realities. She uses a ritual studies approach in combination with ethnographic research, with the aim of developing a new framework for studying the cultural significance of fictional worlds and media fandom.
The Hubbeling Prize is named after the late Prof. Dr H.G. Hubbeling, who was a Professor in the Philosophy of Religion at the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies between 1967 and 1986. His widow, Mrs. Jantje Hubbeling-Drent, installed the prize to encourage talented students in theology and religious studies to conduct scientific research and transfer knowledge. The prize of €500,- is awarded once every three years to the student with the best thesis in that period.
Prof. Mladen Popović will continue in his position as Dean of the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies for another four years.
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