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Faculty members

Full-time faculty

Part-time faculty

Bird, Frederick (Distinguished Professor Emeritus)

After retiring from Concordia University, Dr. Bird is currently a Research Professor at the University of Waterloo and Graduate Officer for the M.A. in Political Science. Dr. Bird's research interests are: International development and business; the practices of global ethics; the political economy of global poverty; comparative ethics; Max Weber. He is currently working on an essay on "Weber and Ethics" and a book examining the development and practices of global ethics (with respect to the environment, business practices, human rights, the uses of armed force, problems of poverty, and the interfaith movement). CV

Despland, Michel (Distinguished Professor Emeritus)

Dr. Despland retired on May 31, 2011 after more than 45 years of teaching. Dr. Despland passed peacefully on July 31, 2018.  His commitment, wisdom, and presence will be missed by all.  He was a pillar of this Department.

Lightstone, Jack (Distinguished Professor Emeritus)

Dr. Lightstone's current research interests are: The social and historical study of Judaism in the Greco-Roman period and within the context of Greco-Roman society and culture; understanding early rabbinic literature in its social and cultural contexts.

Dr. Michael Oppenheim (Distinguished Professor Emeritus)

Michael Oppenheim retired after more than forty years as a professor in the Department of Religion. He is continuing his research and writing in Jewish Studies, Philosophy of Religion, Psychology of Religion, and Feminism. A forthcoming book, Two Languages of Love: Contemporary Psychoanalysis and Modern Jewish Philosophy, explores the productive convergence of these fields. It inaugurates a dialogue between the Jewish philosophers of encounter - Franz Rosenzweig, Martin Buber, Emmanuael Levinas, and such relational psychoanalysts as Stephen Mitchel, Jessica Benjamin, and Lewis Aron.  See CV

Dr. T.S. Rukmani (Distinguished Professor Emeritus)

Dr. T.S. Rukmani retired on June 30, 2012 after serving as Professor and Chair of Hindu Studies in the Department of Religion since 1996. During her time as Chair in Hindu Studies, Dr. Rukmani organized two international conferences: The Mahabharata: Whatever is Not Here is Nowhere Else (2001), and Hindu Diaspora: Global Perspectives(1997) as well as publishing several books and articles and presenting at many international and national conferences. Dr. Rukmani was the recipient of many awards as well. She also invited many distinguished scholars in the area of Hinduism and Indian philosophy who gave lectures at the University and in the department.

Dr. Ira Robinson (Distinguished Professor Emeritus)

Ira Robinson is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Jewish Studies in the Department of Religions and Cultures at Concordia University, where he taught for 42 years. He received his B.A. at John Hopkins University, his B.H.L. at Baltimore Hebrew College, his M.A. at Columbia University and his Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University. He served as the Chair of the Department of Religion and Director of the Concordia University Institute for Canadian Jewish Studies.

Robinson has written, edited, and translated nineteen books. They include Cyrus Adler: Selected Letters (1985), which won the Kenneth Smilen Award for Judaica non-fiction; Renewing Our Days: Montreal Jews in the Twentieth Century (1995), which won a Toronto Jewish Book Award; Moses Cordovero's Introduction to Kabbala: An Annotated Translation of his Or Ne'eray (1994); Rabbis and Their Community: Studies in the Eastern European Orthodox Rabbinate in Montreal, 1896-1930 (2007) which won the J.I. Segal Prize, A History of Antisemitism in Canada (2015), History, Memory, and Jewish Identity (2016), Les Juifs Hassidiques de Montréal (2019), and, most recently, A Kabbalist in Montréal: the Life and Times of Rabbi Yudel Rosenberg (2021).

Robinson has also published over seventy articles in journals such as Studies in Religion, Jewish Social Studies, American Jewish History, American Jewish Archives, Jewish Quarterly Review, Judaism, Modern Judaism, Canadian Ethnic Studies and Canadian Jewish Studies.

He is past president of the Canadian Society for Jewish Studies, the Association for Canadian Jewish Studies, and the Jewish Public Library of Montreal. He is the 2013 winner of the Louis Rosenberg Canadian Jewish Studies Distinguished Service Award from the Association for Canadian Jewish Studies. See cv

Dr. Sheila McDonough (Distinguished Professor Emeritus)

Dr. Sheila McDonough, a longtime member of Concordia’s Department of Religion was the first woman Islamic scholar in Canada, she received an honorary doctorate at the spring 2002 convocation of Queen’s University. As an undergraduate at McGill, Dr. McDonough came under the influence of religion historian Wilfrid Cantwell Smith, and became the first female graduate student at McGill’s Institute of Islamic Studies. She taught for three years at Kinnaird College for Women in Lahore, Pakistan, to gain experience in the Muslim world, and that experience shaped her academic interests and her interest in promoting the understanding of Islam. Dr. McDonough joined the department as Assistant Professor in 1964.

Engler, Steven 

Professor Engler's research interests are in Brazilian religions and in theories and methodology in the study of religion. He is currently Professor in the Department of Humanities at Mount Royal University and Professor Colaborador at the Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo.

Nadeau, Denise

Dr. Nadeau is of mixed European heritage from Quebec. She is currently a visitor in the traditional homelands of the Lekwungen on Vancouver Island. Her current research interests include Indigenous law as it affects Indigenous-settler relations, decolonization of the body, and the deconstruction of whiteness and colonialism in Christianity. She is the author of numerous articles and of Unsettling Spirit: A Journey into Decolonization (McGill-Queen's University Press, 2020).

Palmer, Susan

Contact Susan Palmer.

Kaell, Hillary

Hillary Kaell is Associate Professor of anthropology and religion at McGill University and a faculty fellow at Concordia University's Centre for Sensory Studies, where she co-directs the Sensing Atmospheres working group (2020-2022). She writes about North American Christianity, often focusing on how Christians make and imagine global connections. She is editor of Everyday Sacred: Religion in Contemporary Quebec (McGill-Queens UP 2017), and author of Walking Where Jesus Walked: American Christians and Holy Land Pilgrimage (New York UP 2014) and, most recently, Christian Globalism at Home: Child Sponsorship in the United States (Princeton UP 2020). She also serves as co-editor of the Contemporary Anthropology of Religion book series at Palgrave Macmillan press.

Mazhjoo, Nina
Nina Mazhjoo is a research associate at the NAWA project at Wroclaw University and an affiliate assistant professor at Concordia University. Her research interests include foreign cults of the Roman Empire (especially Mithraism), imperialism, colonialism, and identity in the ancient world, interdisciplinary and theoretical approaches to the historiography of religions. She is currently working on her first monograph entitled "The Occidental Gaze of Roman Mithras", which will be out next year. She also serves as editor of the Journal of "Ancient World".
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