Karina Bénazech Wendling is a PhD candidate in History and Sociology of Religions and an Agrégée English teacher.
Karina studied British civilisation and literature at the Université de Pau et des Pays de l’Adour and Sorbonne-Nouvelle University (Bachelor). In parallel, she also studied Protestant theology for one year at the Faculté de Théologie Evangélique.
She started to teach English in high schools for five years (CAPES), and then at the Technological University of Colmar – IUT, Université de Haute-Alsace – for two years. She obtained the Agrégation in British civilisation (on the Great Irish Famine and the Glorious Revolution) in 2017.
She then decided to research the role of Protestant missions in the development of education in Irish during the Famine. She first completed a Master’s thesis (2016-2017) on the Dingle Mission in the press (Souperism in Munster: the Dingle Mission controversy in the local press, 1845-51) at the University of Strasbourg.
Currently, she is a Phd candidate in History and Sociology of Religions at the École Pratique des Hautes Études (EPHE-PSL) and the Groupe Sociétés, Religions, Laïcités (GSRL) – CNRS under the joint supervision of Patrick Cabanel, Directeur d’Études, EPHE-PSL and Prof. Peter Gray, Queen’s University Belfast.
Her aim is to contribute to a better understanding of the emergence of Souperism, a social phenomenon associated with the bribing of conversions among the Irish-speaking population. She investigates the reception of Irish schools developed by the Society for Promoting the Education of the Native Irish through the medium of their own Language in a context of rising Catholic nationalism.
She was awarded several grants and scholarships, such as the AMID doctoral fellowship from the Région Ile-de-France, a Past and Present grant from the Royal Historical Society, and a grant from the SOFEIR (Société Française d’Études Irlandaises).
Her research focuses on religious conversion and national identity, but also more broadly on the interactions between religions and politics.