Laurel Andrew is a doctoral student at Concordia University. Laurel's research interests include the history of Christianity, feminism and sexual ethics in the United States and Canada, with a specific focus on the intersections of reproductive justice and Christianity from the 1960s to the present day. She holds an M.A. in Religious Studies and Gender Studies from McGill University.
Joseph Brito is a PhD student focusing on early Christian discourse and metaphors regarding roman slavery through a Postcolonial lens.
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.
Lucas is also interested in popular culture versions of the Bible and their role as translations of the Bible for a mass audience. He is specifically interested in comic book Bibles and how they construct the biblical story for younger audiences, and the extent to which communities of interpretation are allowed to determine what a text says.
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.
Colby is currently enrolled in the PhD in Religions and Cultures at Concordia and has recently completed an MA in Indigenous & Interreligious Studies at Vancouver School of Theology. Their master's thesis explores late eighteenth-century Acadian women's roles in popular religious culture in southwestern Nova Scotia. As such, Colby's research interests follow gender and sexuality in religion, and manifestation of colonial Catholicism and its interactions with Indigenous spiritualities. Other interests include queer saints, Kabbalah, Vaishnava bhakti, and monasticism.
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, and the Fonds de recherche du Québec - Société et culture bourse de doctorat (in name only). 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 presented at multiple conferences, given guest lectures, and done media interviews on her specialization of modern religious Satanism. She is currently completing her dissertation, an ethnographic study on members of the Church of Satan. Her publications include: "The Church of Satan" and"The Temple of Set" entries in Satanism: A Reader, by Oxford University Press (forthcoming); "Modern Religious Satanism: A Negotiation of Tensions," co-authored with Jesper Aagaard Petersen, a chapter in the Oxford Handbook on New Religious Movements (2016); "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). She laments not becoming a carpenter.
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).
Phil's work centers on the Hindu deity, Ardhanārīśvara. Ardhanārīśvara is a composite figure; its body is split into male and female halves by a vertical axis. Present academic works have focused on the iconography, mythological narratives, and philosophical interpretations of Ardhanārīśvara. However, scholarship has largely omitted content concerning Ardhanārīśvara in living context, including information about dedicated sites of worship. To account for this oversight, Phil's M.A. thesis involved fieldwork at one such site in Tiruchengode, Tamil Nadu. After completing his M.A. he traveled to India again through a Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute awarded bursary and located additional Ardhanārīśvara temples at this time. His Ph.D. project aims to do a comprehensive ethnographic study of these additional dedicated sites in order to create a more robust treatment of the figure.
Catherine Leisser is a PhD student, currently on leave. With a background in Roman imperial-era archaeology, Catherine looks forward to investigating the archaeological aspects of religious life (worship, ritual) in selected north-western boundary provinces of the Roman Empire, for which she received doctoral fellowship grants from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and from Concordia.
Mai Bui Dieu Linh is a Ph.D. candidate 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 Champa, 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 holds an M.A. in Archaeology from the University of Athens, Greece, and an M.A. in the History and Philosophy of Religion from Concordia University, Montreal, Canada, funded by the "Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation" and the "A.G. Leventis Foundation". He worked for three years in the Hellenic Ministry of Culture in Athens as archaeologist and participated in field work and survey excavations on the island of Cos, Dodecanese, Greece. He is currently enrolled in the PhD program in Religion and works as part-time lecturer at Concordia University, Montreal. His interests are divided between the modern world (genocide studies, colonial and post-colonial Central and East African Christianity) and the ancient world (ritual studies, healing cults, river deities, late Antique Egypt, the Underworld).
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 is a doctoral candidate in the department of Religions and Cultures who holds a B.A. (McGill) and M.A. (Concordia) in Religious Studies, and a B.Ed (UOttawa) in secondary school education. Her dissertation is a discourse analysis of charismatic speech acts and sexual violence in second century texts of early Christ followers. The project includes chapters on the Hypostasis of the Archons, the Acts of the Apostles, and the Acts of Paul and Thecla. It considers topics like epistemological access and gendered voices, as well as the intersections of sexual violence, silencing, and race as they relate to the classification of voices in these sources. Her research interests include: gender, sex, and sexuality in religion; religions of the ancient Mediterranean world; early Christ following communities; gendered speech acts; sexual violence; and, contemporary movements like #MeToo, #MuteRKelly, TimesUp, and rape culture on North American campuses.
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 Religions and Cultures. His dissertation is focused on the figure of Fulton J. Sheen and the intersections of American Catholicism, masculinities, sanctity and hagiography. From Fall 2014-Winter 2018, Alexander was 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.
Purna Roy is a Ph.D candidate in the Department of Religions and Cultures. She holds a M.A. in Modern (Indian) History with a specialization in the Economic History of Bengal in the Colonial Period from the University of Calcutta. She holds a second Masters degree in Folklore from Memorial University of Newfoundland with a thesis titled "Situational Storytelling Traditions in Bengal (India) for Children and Young Adults: An Ethnographic Study".
Her primary research is on analysing ritual performances and gendered aspects of Hindu-goddess-centered religious traditions in Bengal (India), using an ethnographic lens. She is also committed to the study of pilgrimage and tourism in South Asia, material culture and religious art, and literary methods and approaches.
Ibrahim Abou Arab is a second year graduate student who completed his undergraduate degree at Concordia University in 2017. He completed a double major in Religions and Cultures, focusing on Islam and Christianity, and in Child Studies under the Department of Education. He is interested in various Islamic topics such as history, development of law, and theology. His current focus is on the Wahhabi movement which started in Arabia towards the end of the 18th century. More specifically, he examines how the role of the writings of Abdul-Wahhab played in shaping the Muslim identity. In the near future, he plans on researching Islamic militant movements, their methods of recruitment and their interpretations of sacred texts.
Philip Auclair completed his B.A. with a major in Classics and minors in Linguistics and Iranian Studies at Concordia University. He is currently pursuing an M.A. in Religions and Cultures. His interests lie primarily in the center-periphery dynamics of Persianate societies, as well as the development of Islam in the modern era.
Liam Avalon is an M.A. student in the Department of Religions and Cultures. His undergraduate work examined a wide range of topics in religious studies, as well as exploring cultural views and issues in Italy.
His current research considers the value of storytelling in second century Rome as well as the establishment of Christian orthodoxy and papal authority in Late Antiquity.
Outside of school, he works with seniors, enjoys reading, and dabbles in filmmaking as well as photography.
Alexandra Black completed her BA in Anthropolgy with a minor in Religion at Concordia University, and is currently pursuing her MA in the Department of Religions and Cultures. While her interests still remain in anthropology, she hopes to pursue contemporary topics on the relationship between religion and culture with a focus on the influence of Christianity and Buddhism in East Asian cultures.
Amelia Brownridge completed a Bachelor of Honours Humanities with a Minor in Religious Studies from Carleton University. Her research interests include early Israelite religions, collective and communicative memory, and Jewish identity. More specifically, she seeks to explore the Exodus story as located between historical reality and cultural memory as ethnic self-fashioning, and determine the story's strategic function in the historical consciousness of early Israelite society.
Zachary Doiron completed his B.A. in Religious Studies and Psychology at Mount Allison University in 2018. He is currently pursuing an M.A. in Religions and Cultures at Concordia University. His main interest focuses on apocalypticism in pop culture. His other academic interests lie in Christian evangelicalism, New Religious Movements, and pop culture in Christianity.
Jacob Guillon is an M.A. student in the Department of Religions and Cultures at Concordia University. He is invested in researching rural Hindu, Islamic, and Sikh communities and their traditions in the Punjab prior to and following partition in 1947. The dynamic interplay between these traditions is intricate and it is his intention to explore how such interplay has evolved in both Pakistan and India's rural Punjab.
Alessia Infantino completed her BA in Religions and Cultures with a double minor in Interdisciplinary Studies in Sexuality and History at Concordia University. She is currently pursuing an MA in the Department of Religions and Cultures. Alessia's research interests include sexuality, queer and feminist theory in religious studies, with a focus on the Christian tradition.
Camellia Jahanshahi graduated from Concordia University in 2015 with a degree in Religious Studies. In her time away she has been living in New York and working a multitude of jobs while developing both her career as a religious educator in the Unitarian Universalist tradition and her career in the visual and performance arts worlds. Her interests lie in international politics, interfaith dialogue, social justice initiatives, the effects of religion on pop culture, gender studies and the arts.
T. Scarlet Jory is a student in the MA Religions and Cultures program at Concordia University. Under her are two previous BA degrees. The first is a BA major in Classical Studies with a minor in Anthropology. The second is a BA Honors with Distinction in Religion with a plethora of courses in Education and Adult Education. She also holds certificates in Graphic Design, Journalism, and Technical Communication. Her foci in her MA degree are East Asian Religions (namely Taoism, Buddhism, and Zen) and Contemporary Paganism as a New Religious Movement. She has guest lectured at Dawson College, Marianopolis College, Champlain College, and Concordia University as well as gives interviews to media on the subjects of Contemporary Paganism. One of her favorite subjects is TEA, more specifically how tea is used in religious practices in Asia. She has presented on Tea and Zen at a few conferences now. She looks forward to expanding her research in this area for a large academic work. On the side, she teaches the public about Contemporary Paganism through workshops, engages in community leadership, and guides people through ritual experiences and rites of passage. She also teaches English Language arts to adults and children, along with novel writing. (https://scarlet-wordsmith.blogspot.ca/)
Gisoo Kim is an M.A. student in the Department of Religions and Cultures. He completed his undergraduate degree at Concordia University with a major in Religion (with a focus on Christianity and Islam) and a minor in Political Science. His main interest is exploring the relationship between religion and pop culture, specifically the use of religious symbolism and lore in video games. Specifically documenting the motivation and use of religious ideals in video games and how it may reflect perception of religion to those who interact with this pop culture medium. Highlighting that video games may not only act as a social commentary but may also feed the exociticsm and fantasization of religion.
Jordon Molot is a first year graduate student pursuing an MA in Judaic Studies at Concordia University. His research, primarily informed by queer, intersectional feminist, and critical religious theories, aim to bring Jewish-queer subjectivity into the realm of Canadian-Jewish studies. More specifically, his proposed research project will investigate how Jewish-Canadian queers navigate, challenge, and subvert normative models of institutional Jewish life. Molot's other academic interests include: religion in the public sphere, religion and sexuality, and postzionism.
Devan is currently working on her Master's in the Department of Religions and Cultures. She graduated with a double BA in Classics and Religion in 2014, and utilized her knowledge from both programs to do a BFA in Art History in 2016. Devan's present research involves the globalization and contemporary interpretations of Greco-Roman mythology and religious art. Her interests include inclusivity and activism in the museum setting that challenge the traditional Western canon.
Lori is a second year graduate student in the Department of Religions and Cultures. She completed her undergraduate degree at Concordia University in 2015 with a BFA in Art History and Studio Art and a minor in Religion. Her current focus is on material culture of Asian religions including an interest in visual representation of women's religious experiences. Lori's academic and professional goals include the study of religious art in the context of museum studies.
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.
Stefanos Singelakis is an MA student and has completed his BA in Religions and Cultures at Concordia University in 2017. He is passionate about creative writing, reading modern and postmodern literature and enjoys travelling and modern art. He has an academic background in Judaism and Christianity. Currently, he is interested in Western history dating from the French Revolution to the end of the Second World War. He has written several research papers on the Catholic Church, German Catholics and their relationship to National Socialism. Stefanos has also written numerous papers on masculinity in Germany that focus on issues of identity and discrimation.