Esther Guillen, a Graduating Religion Major (Jewish Studies Minor) has been awarded the Andras award for her research project on Jewish divorce.

The Andras award is awarded to support the cost of a research project or paper undertaken by an undergraduate or graduate student attending Carleton University. This grant is awarded in alternate years for a research project in one of the following areas: (a) Jewish studies; (b) trade union history or the democratic socialist movement in Canada. Endowed 1972 in memory of the late Mr. A. Andras, a member of Carleton’s Board of Governors.

Ms. Guillen was selected for this award in recognition of her research with professors Deidre Butler (Religion) and Betina Kuzmarov (Law) on a new interview based project focusing on Jewish divorce in the Canadian context.  The Agunah project is a new (2016) interdisciplinary ethnographic project being undertaken by Professors Deidre Butler (Religion, College of Humanities) and Betina Kuzmarov (Law).  Addressing the lacunae of Canadian ethnographic research, the project significantly reframes the question of the  Agunah (Jewish women who cannot secure religious divorces) by placing it within the larger Jewish communal context, focusing in on the particularities of the Canadian experience, and, in approaching the question through the disciplinary lenses of religious studies and law, reconfiguring the theoretical frameworks that inform contemporary analyses.

Ms. Guillen’s project focused on theoretical issues: specifically, on the application of Religious Studies theory to Jewish law (halakha) and ethnography, as well as the intersections of feminist theories of religion and Jewish feminist thought.  She also developed a Hebrew language glossary for the project that will be used by future researchers.