Marion Achoulias is a Ph.D. student in Religion who comes from a wide background in Gender Studies, Continental Philosophy and German Studies. Influenced by the Frankfurt School, she applies Critical Theory to the question of Religion Studies' potential contributions to both academic and public discourse about the cultural and ethical dimensions of animal use in society. Moreover, she is interested in environmental ethics and related religion-inspired advocacy. In her examination of Jewish, Christian and 'secular' approaches to these contemporary issues, she focuses on the history and import of Jewish cultural critique in addition to public dialogue and conflict with respect to traditional practices involving animals.
Marc-André Argentino is a Ph.D. candidate in Religion at Concordia University, Montreal. His research is currently focused on the relational mechanism that are found between social media and violence, radicalization and terrorism. His focus for his PhD is on how religious entities use digital and mass media to build their narratives, as well as target and recruit individuals to their cause and instill fear in their enemies. The goal of his research is to ultimately construct counter narratives and prevent hate speech. His dissertation is funded by the Fonds Québécois de Recherche sur la Société et la Culture (FQRSC).
Michelle Bakker is a PhD Candidate in Philosophy of Religion. Her areas of specialization are sociology, anthropology, and philosophy of religion, religious ethics in economic practice, comparative Christianity, and African religions. Her dissertation focuses on the impact of Christian worldviews on development aid projects and practices in sub-Saharan Africa. Her research consists of extensive primary data collection: 9 months of fieldwork in Canada and Kenya combined with information from institutional archives dating back to 1962. With this primary data she is constructing a sociological and ethnographic study of a contemporary partnership between Canadian and Kenyan faith-based NGOs, in order to illustrate the construction of a shared ethical and semantic space that permits and limits the work of development. This research will contribute largely to the field of religion and economics, and the subfield of religion and development aid and humanitarianism, as well as Christian ethics and African Christianity.
Joseph Brito is a PhD student in the Department of Religion. His current research focuses on forms of Christianities existing in the 2nd and 3rd century in North Africa, applying a postcolonial lens to the construct of history and identity. He holds a BTh and MA from the Universite de Montreal, as well as partial studies in literature and humanities. Other fields of interest include theories regarding media and the canon, Early Christian Apocryphal literature, forms and expressions of pre-nicean Christian "communities" and theories regarding their "identity," material culture, and literary methods and approaches. He is the current President of the Annual Graduate Interdisciplinary Conference (AGIC). His dissertation is funded by the Fonds de Recherche du Quebec Societe et Culture (FRQSC).
Lucas's primary research interest is in disability theory of the Bible, with specific attention to how biblical studies as a field contributed to interpreting disability in a profoundly negative way throughout history and into the contemporary period. His research focuses on using literary-critical and narrative methods of reading to offer redemptive readings of texts that have traditionally been employed to marginalize disabled individuals in various ways, and on creating spaces in which disabled individuals can speak for themselves on their own terms, rather than being forced to conform to abelist standards of interpretation through the lens of pop culture, and how biblical stories change when they come to the audience through non-traditional media.
Azadeh Ehsani-Chombeli (ABD) has an M.A. in ancient languages and the culture of Iran, and has been working on languages such as Avestan, as well as Old and Middle Persian. Presently, Azadeh is working on Biblical Hebrew and Aramaic. Azadeh’s focus is on Middle Persian (Pahlavi) texts and the Babylonian Talmud, which was compiled in Iran during the Sassanid era. Her research interest is the interactions between the Jewish community of Iran during the Sassanid era and their Iranian counterparts.
Claire English is currently completing course work in the Judaic Studies stream of the PhD program. Her research examines the intersections of Disability and Judaic Studies. For her dissertation, Claire will write a history of the Jewish Deaf communities of New York in the late 19th to early 20th century. Further areas of study include Hebrew Bible and Interpretation, Rabbinics, ritual theory, sensory and material anthropology, and the history of emotions. Claire holds a BA in Classical Civilization and an MA in Judaic Studies, both from Concordia University.
Ildiko Glaser-Hille's primary research interest is mediaeval religion, particularly 13th century Christian-Jewish views of each other as presented in mediaeval Germanic folk tales about demons. In general, she is interested in demonology and stories about evil and how they reflect a change within its social and cultural environment. Other research interests include ritual theory, popular religions, narrative and mythological theories. Ildiko is the former chair of the successful graduate student conference (AGIC), hosted by the Department of Religion and is held annually.
Cimminnee Holt is a part-time lecturer and doctoral candidate in religious studies at Concordia University, Montreal, Canada. She is a recipient of the Social Science and Humanities Research Council doctoral fellowship grants, awarded by the government of Canada. Her broad areas of interest are new religious movements, religion and popular culture, ritual and performance theory, media studies and material culture, and western esotericism. She has lectured and given media interviews on her specializaton, modern religious Satanism. She is currently completing her dissertation, an ethnographic study on members of the Church of Satan. Her publications include: "Modern Religious Satanism: A Negotiation of Tensions," co-authored with Jesper Aagaard Petersen, a chapter in the Oxford Handbook on New Religious Movements (forthcoming); "Blood, Sweat, and Urine: The Scent of Feminine Fluids in Anton LaVey's The Satanic Witch," in the International Journal for the Study of New Religions (2013); and "Death and Dying in the Satanic Worldview," published in the Journal of Religion and Culture (2011).
Lindsey is a doctoral student in the Department of Religion at Concordia University. Lindsey's research interests revolve around contemporary Jewish ritual. Lindsey is interested in ritual change, creation of ritual, the tension between tradition and innovation, and the diversity of ritual practice within the Montreal Jewish community. Lindsey is also interested in the role of gender, sexuality, and the body in ritual practices. Lindsey's research is focused on Jewish parents who are choosing not to circumcise their baby boys in favour of an alternative ritual, known as brit shalom (covenant of peace).
Mrinal Kaul read Sanskrit and Indological literatures first in Srinagar (Kashmir), and then in Delhi, Pune, Varanasi, Oxford, Montreal, and Naples (Italy). His main research focuses on the pre-modern South Asian intellectual and social history, history of ideas and literary cultures, Sanskrit language and literature, Classical Indian philosophical literatures, Abhinavagupta, TrikaSaivism, Tantric literatures, Philosophy of Religion His other academic interests include Sanskrit Textual Criticism, Codicology/Manuscriptology, Post-Colonial Theory, Orientalism, Gender Studies, Language Politics, Conflict and Partition Studies, Kashmirian Islamic and Sufi Traditions, Kashmiri and Indo-Persian literary cultures. The focus of his thesis in Abhinavagupta's (10th CE) Theory of Reflection that comprises of a critically edited text, translation and study of the Pratibimbavada as discussed in the Tantralokaviveka (3. 1-65). After having taught in the Universita degli Studi di Napoli "L'Orientale", Naples (Italy) for three years he is now a teaching fellow in the Manipal Centre for Philosophy and Humanities, Manipal University, India.
Angelique Koumouzelis is studying images of prostitution in hagiography and Biblical narrative. Her research uses the approaches of biblical studies and gender studies to read biblical narratives in light of the language and imagery of prostitution in Greek texts, and the historical context of late antiquity.
Catherine Leisser, admitted to the Ph.D. program - Fall 2015, obtained her BA cum laude (Honours, Classical Civilization) from Concordia University and her MA through Concordia's INDI program (thesis: Life on the Outer Limits of the Roman Empire: The Cult of Jupiter Dolichenus on the Roman limes, from Hadrian's Wall to the Austrian Danube Frontier - A Comparative Study of Dolichena). She looks forward to investigating the archaeological aspects of religious life (worship and burial) in selected autonomous cities along the north-western boundary of the Roman Empire, for which she received a doctoral fellowship grant from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada and a fellowship from Concordia.
Mai Bui Dieu Linh is a Ph.D. student whose study focuses on the history and philosophy of Hinduism and Buddhism in South Asia. Her thematic interests include the historical transmission of Indian culture, religion, and art to medieval Southeast Asia. Her master's thesis investigated religious art, iconography, and sculptures of medieval Campa, a network of ancient "Indianized" city-states that existed along the coast of the central and southern parts of present-day Vietnam. Her Ph.D. dissertation examines religious identities and the (re)-invention of religious traditions of the contemporary Cam communities of Southern Vietnam. She is also a recipient of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council doctoral fellowship grant of Canada.
Spyridon Loumakis finished his M.A. in the History and Philosophy of Religion at Concordia this Summer (2014), funded by the "Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation" and the "A.G. Leventis Foundation". Before coming to Canada for his religious studies he graduated from the Kapodistrian University of Athens, Department of History, Archaeology and History of Art (B.A. in Archaeology and History of Art, M.A. in Byzantine Archaeology). His academic background includes archaeological field work in the Aegean, and the study of Greek and Roman numismatics and inscriptions, of Byzantine political and religious history, and of Greek and Latin literary sources. In the Master's program at Concordia he had the opportunity to familiarize himself with the Coptic and Bactrian languages (both using the Greek alphabet), the Nag Hammadi material, Hellenized Jewish authors of the Second Temple Period, and Pre-Islamic Iranian religions. He is interested in the idea of sexual (im)purity in the Greco-Roman world, the healing deities of Antiquity and local cults in Bactria and Central Asia.
Eli Mason is a PhD student. He obtained MA degrees in Russian Language and Literature from the University of Waterloo, Medieval Studies from the University of Toronto, and Religious Studies from Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador. Eclectic in his studies, Eli has nonetheless maintained consistent interest in demons, angels, and anything a little bit devilish. His current project focuses on the fallen angel Azazel, whose development in religious traditions and literary works will be the subject of an intensive study on the character and his history. Additional interests include queer theory, ancient Carthage, and spiders.
E. Meaghan Matheson works in the area of Early Christian Studies and Gender Studies. Trained in Koine Greek, Sahidic Coptic, and Biblical Hebrew, Ms. Matheson's research focuses on first and second century Christian texts preoccupied with female prophetic, and pedagogical speech. Her intellectual lines of inquiry are centred on the social influences of gender among early Christian communities, and the roles of bodies and embodiment in the fashioning of early Christian identity. Ms. Matheson's research is likewise influenced by Queer Theory, and Ritual Studies.
Esther Mayer is studying the liturgy of Yosse ben Yosse, a 5th century liturgist who lived in Byzantine Palestine. Her dissertation will compare and contrast Yosse ben Yosse's texts with rabbinic and some non-rabbinic texts, in order to identify, through discourse analysis, evidence of the putative historic rivalry between the rabbis of the Mishnah and the Priestly caste, as both attempted to lead the people and give shape to Judaism itself. Discourse shapes people's understanding of what is true and what is not, and thus discloses relations of power. The memory of Temple rituals, the subject of much of Yosse ben Yosse's works, is the site of competing claims to authentic leadership and for authority to articulate binding religious-social ideas and practices. Ms. Mayer is interested in the social function of Piyyutic texts, with particular emphasis on the way various groups in 5th century Palestinian Jewish society renegotiated the fundamental building blocks of national identity and of religious practice.
Calogero A. Miceli is currently enrolled in the Ph.D. Religion program at Concordia University. His research and interests are in New Testament, Apocryphal New Testament literature, and narrative studies of biblical texts.Calogero has published several articles in peer-reviewed academic journals in each of these areas. His dissertation, funded by the Fonds de recherche du Québec - Société et culture (FRQSC), will study the literary and historical tradition of the 'neaniskos' (young man) figure mentioned in the Gospel According to Mark.
Alexander Nachaj is a full-time Ph.D. student at Concordia University in the Department of Religion. His primary research interest is on masculinity as a religious medium. He is currenlty examining the lives of male religious figures (notably saints) in the Catholic tradition and how their hagiographies construct and portray religious masculinity and make it present for their devotees in the modern era. As of fall 2014, Alexander is also the editor-in-chief of Concordia's Journal of Religion and Culture.
Ming Hui Pan's subject is about the history of Judaism in China in general and the history of the Harbin Jewish Community in particular, which was the largest Russian Jewish community in China before WWII. Her research will emphasize the religious and cultural encounter between the two oldest nations - Jews and Chinese. Her interest is comparative studies of different religious imaginations, experiences, and practices.
BJ Purdie is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Religion. His interests include popular religious movements, Daoism, and Confucianism in China, Taiwan, and the Chinese diaspora. He completed his M.A. degree at the University of Calgary where his focus was on the experience of Chinese Buddhists in Western Canada. His current research centres around the deification of historic figures in China, their popularity in overseas Chinese communities, and the conspicuous absence of these popular cults in Western scholarship.
Annie Gitlitz is a PhD student researching Jewish spirit possession from psychoanalytic, narrative, ritual, and feminist perspectives. She is an alumna of Hunter College (B.A., 2005) and Harvard Divinity School (M.T.S., 2008). Her thesis project will interrogate the dialectics of dybbuk possession and exorcism among early modern European women and girls. Throughout 2016, Annie is a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Pittsburgh's Department of Religious Studies. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Purna Roy is a Ph.D candidate in Religion at Concordia University. Her research interests are diverse, having completed her M.A. in Folklore from Memorial University of Newfoundland, combined with background in Indian History. Her primary research areas include South Asian religions, women in Hinduism, Kali worship in Bengal, ritual studies, pilgrimage, religious ethnography. She is interested in conducting ethnographic research on empowerment of Bengali Hindu women through performance of rituals on Kali workship.
Dragos Stoica is a doctoral candidate whose areas of study include modern Islamic thought, comparative fundamentalism, political and religious radicalism, political theology and comparative hermeneutics. Mr. Stoica has published articles and interviews in the Romanian editions of "Foreign Policy", "The Sphere of Politics" and "Dilemma", and also in "Politics, Religion and Ideology" (UK) and "The Journal for Cultural and Religious Theory" (US). Mr. Stoica is a recipient of the Joseph-Armand Bombardier CGS Doctoral Scholarship and is currently working on a disseration focused on a comparative analysis of Sayyid Qutb's political theology. Mr. Stoica also taught political theory at the University of Bucharest and he is an active member of the American Academy of Religion and of the Middle East Studies Association. Mr. Stoica has had the following articles published: "Reading Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak in Rural Quebec, or Saving "Exotic" Women from "Exotic Men": The Construction of the Religious Subaltern in Light of the 2007 Herouxville Incident" in Journal for Cultural and Religious Theory; and "Do Modern Radicals Believe in Their Mythologies" A Comparison between the Muslim Brotherhood & the Legion of the Archangel Michael. ... the Legion of the Archangel Michael in the Light of Four Political Mythologies" published in Politics, Religion & Ideology.
Georgia Carter is a student of the Department of Religion in the M.A. of History and Philosophy of Religion program. Having completed an Honours B.A. at McGill University in Asian Religions with a minor in the History of Asia and the Middle East, Georgia's research interests pertain in large part to religion, performance, ritual, and material culture. More specifically, Georgia looks to the intersection of religious performativity and the development of individual and group identities. Her thesis project focuses upon the contemporary Syrian musician, Omar Souleyman, and his popularity and performance in the Western context.
Ashely Crouch is currently enrolled in the M.A. History and Philosophy of Religion at Concordia. She completed her Honors BA in Religious Studies, with a double minor in anthropology and psychology, at Saint Mary's University, Halifax. Her current research, supported through funding by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) examines social media's impact on interfaith dialogue and activism. Her areas of interest are interfaith dialogue, religion and politics, social movements, media, and gender studies.
Dorota Dejneka is a current MA student of History and Philosophy of Religion. She holds a BA in Ethnolinguistics with a specialization in Persian language from Adam Mickiewicz University in Poland as well as a B.A. in Religious Studies with a specialization in Islam and a minor in Iranian Studies from Concordia University. During her MA program she continues to focus on Shiite Islam and Iranian culture. In particular, her interest lies in contemporary Twelver Shiite thought of Iranian intellectuals and their application of rationalism in dealing with modernity and Islamic reform.
Karl Erfle is a Master's student of history and philosophy of religion at Concordia University. He has a B.A. in Religion from Concordia University with a specialization in Islam. In 2012, he received the Department of Religion's Undergraduate Essay Contest for his term paper on perceptions of science within the Montreal-NDG Baha'i community. His M.A. studies focus on the methodology and the philosophy of religion, and his research addresses the intersections of technology and religion. He currently serves as article editor for the Journal of Religion and Culture.
Christophe Garlaschi is an M.A. student in the Department of Religion. His current research interests focus on the Transhumanist movement's use of religious terminology, as well as the application of spiritual motifs to technological concepts such as nanotechnology, biotechnology and artificial intelligence. Other fields of interest include the reconstruction and modernization of myths in pop culture, human transcendence through biohacking, and the merging of religious traditions and augmentation technology. He is also an active member of the Annual Graduate Interdisciplinary Conference committee.
Jacob Guillon is an MA student of the History and Philosophy of Religion. He earned his BA in Religion with a specialization in Southern Asia Studies from Concordia University. His interests lay in the religious traditions of the Punjab, which include Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, and to a lesser extent, Christian traditions. Jacob is particularly interested in Punjab's ancient religious history, namely that of the Vedic, and mysterious Indus Valley traditions. He hopes that continued investigation into the Indus Valley Civilization will help shed light on some of the mysteries shrouding this tradition.
Tirza Harris holds a BA honours in Classical Studies with a double minor in Religion and History from Bishop's University, and is currently enrolled in the MA History and Philosophy of Religion degree at Concordia. Her undergraduate thesis focused on the religious and social environment of the Roman Empire and its correlation to the early Jesus movement and corresponding Pauline Churches. Tirza is interested in the decline of Rome's religious institution and the rise of Christianity into late Antique and Early Medieval period. In particular, she is interested in the material culture and rituals that emerged, as well as the development of a collective identity.
Nicola Morry is currently pursuing an MA in the History and Philosophy of Religion Program at Concordia University as well as an M.Ed. at the Universite de Sherbrooke. Having completed an Honours BA at McGill University in Asian Religions with a minor in Socio-Cultural Anthropology, Nicola's research interests include menstrual prohibitions and menarche rituals in all religious traditions, but particularly in Hinduism.
Elyse MacLeod holds a B.A. in honours English Literature and Religious Studies from Concordia University, and is currently pursuing her M.A. in the History and Philosophy of Religion. Her areas of study include Continental Philosophy, Critical Theory and Post-Structuralist thought, and she seeks to explore how these ways of thinking can aid in inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue. Her M.A. thesis, "Accommodation via Understanding", seeks to apply the philosophical hermeneutics of Hans Georg Gadamer to the Quebec accommodation crisis.
Yosef Robinson has a B.A. in Geography from Rutgers University, a Master in City and Regional Planning from Ohio State University, and a Master in Environment from Concordia University. He is soon wrapping up his Master in Religion at Concordia University, expecting to finish in early 2017. He is interested in the history of early 20th-century Jewish life in Montreal.
Jesse Toufexis holds a BA in Anthropology from Concordia. The focus of his research lies in the influence that ancient religious texts have had on modern literature, with a focus on the Jewish and Christian traditions. He is also interested in the cultures of the various peoples who created these works. Naturally, he is also extremely interested in Archeology, and hopes to incorporate it into his work.
Chloe Collier is currently enrolled in the MA History and Philosophy of Religion degree at Concordia. She recently completed her undergraduate degree with Honours in Religious Studies at Mount Allison University in Sackville, N.B. Her undergraduate thesis examined the use of apocalyptic discourse in speeches made by American presidents in times of crisis in order for them to mobilize public support for aggressive warfare abroad. While her main interest continues to include American Civil Religion and its influence on policy making, during her masters degree she wishes to extend her expertise beyond this to include Islamic politics as well in order to better understand the current dynamics of global politics and religion.
Amanda Mormina recently completed her undergraduate degree at Concordia in Religion (with a focus on Islam) and a minor in Arabic language and culture. Her main focus will continue to be the Islamic tradition and to a lesser extent Christianity. Her interest in particular is the process of the cultural and religious integration of the population that has recently immigrated from the Arab world following the global refugee crisis.
Tiawenti:non Canadian received her undergraduate degree in Religion with a minor in English from Concordia University. Her research interests lie in the effects of institutional oppression and violence on religious expression. Her proposed thesis, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) will examine the contemporary perceptions of Christianity and the Catholic, Presbyterian, and United Churches amongst First Nations Residential School Survivors and their descendants in Canada. She hopes to get a better understanding of the current function of Christian institutions in First Nations communities that have been heavily affected by the assimilatory system. Tiawenti:non's other academic interests include Religion and Literature, Ancient Judaism, and the Hebrew Bible.