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 candidate. His dissertation focuses on the language of slavery and otherness in Paul's letter to the Galatians, using a minority lens (Latinx hermeneutics).
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 Gaudet is a PhD student in Concordia’s Department of Religions and Cultures. They have an MA in Indigenous and Interreligious Studies from Vancouver School of Theology. Colby’s doctoral research is historical, with specialized interest in Indigenous traditions, decolonization, archives, and oral histories. The life of an early 19th-century Catholic missionary is the subject of their SSHRC project. Colby seeks to reconsider the functions of Christianity in formations of colonial race, gender, and sexuality in contexts of eastern Canada.
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.
Arwa Hussain is a PhD student in the Department of Religions and Cultures. Her research interests involve Islam, gender, ethnography, specific forms of female agency within religious contexts, South Asian history and literature and her thesis will focus on the women of her community - the Dawoodi Bohras. Arwa has completed both her Masters and undergraduate studies in History from the University of Karachi, Pakistan.
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).
Afra Jalabi is a Ph.D candidate in the Department of Religions and Cultures at Concordia University. Her interests revolve around language and power with a focus on nonviolent resistance (and an interest in the theology of nonresistance and Quranic hermeneutics). Her dissertation, under the supervision of Prof. Marc Lalonde, aims to revitalize and rehabilitate Hans-Georg Gadamar’s notion of dialogue by emphasizing, not just “the relevance of the beautiful,” but the relevance of power in contexts of political asymmetry. She has also done work with George Mason University-- helping develop curriculum, trainings, and online classes for refugees in different parts of the world, with a focus on Syrian refugees.
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.
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.
Ali Smears is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Religions and Cultures at Concordia University. She obtained an M.A. in Religious Studies with a concentration in Gender and Women Studies from McGill University. Her research focuses on the intersection between religion, gender and media in contemporary urban India. Her interests include Indian and transnational feminisms, social media activism, Hindu goddess mythology, and digital art production and dissemination.
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.
Raphaell Bigras-Burrogano holds a B.A. in Anthropology from Concordia. Their current research focuses on the nature of evil and identity, with a specific attention given to religious and national identities. During their M.A. they plan on researching which steps are necessary in order to dichotomize identities to the point of dehumanization and genocide, and the role played by the personification of evil in the process. Other interests include queer theory, martial arts and sustainability.
Alexandra Black is a final year graduate student who completed her BA in Anthropology, with a minor in Religion, at Concordia University. Her current area of focus is on the folkloric and mythic themes present in modern Japanese animated films. She also explores the presence of Japanese folk traditions (commonly referred to as Shinto) and Japanese Buddhism within traditional folktales and myths.
Sarah Boyer completed her B.A. with a major in Psychology and minors in Human Rights and Religions and Cultures at Concordia University. She is currently pursuing her M.A. in Religions and Cultures. Her interests include the historical roots of social movements, and examining religious phenomena as social attestations of cultural psychology. She seeks to investigate mystical sources for contemporary ideological polarity and radicalization, with consideration of global dynamism and rapidly shifting political climates.
Grace Brown is a first year graduate student who received her BA from McGill University in History and Gender Studies. Her current research argues for the continuing relevance of Mahāyāna and Vajrayāna Buddhist theory for contemporary political, philosophical, and ethical debates. Her non-Buddhist research interests include contemporary anarchism, decolonial theory, ecological politics, and continental philosophy. Ms. Brown is an Irish-diaspora transgender woman who was born and raised on unceded Massachusett land.
Sophia Cirignano completed her BA at the University of Vermont with a major in Philosophy and minors in Writing and Religious Studies. She is pursuing a MA in Religions and Cultures at Concordia University. Her current research focuses on contemporary representations of women saints and queer appropriations of Christian imagery in poetry and visual art. You can contact her at: email@example.com
Isabel completed her BA in Liberal Arts with a double minor in Italian and English Studies from Bishop's University. She is currently pursuing her MA in Judaic Studies. Her main area of interest is early 20th century immigrant women and their life-writing with a focus on changes in material religion and family dynamics. Other interests include pilgrimage, western pioneers, and racial passing.
Cynthia De Petrillo is a deeply curious and passionate individual. Her work in the television industry has allowed her to observe that the stories we tell have immense power. She chose to marry her professional experience with her studies in the hopes of demystifying the powers of storytelling.
Ellen Dobrowolski completed her B.A. in First Nations and Indigenous Studies from the University of British Columbia. She is currently pursuing her M.A. in Religions and Cultures. Her main academic interests include indigenous studies and decolonialism, sexuality and religions, and New Religious Movements. Her current focus is on the ways in which indigenous groups appropriate and alter colonial religions to further their own goals of decolonization. Other interests include studying languages, teaching and learning all styles of dance, and performing in community theatre and drag shows.
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.
Solenne Hamon-Fafard completed her B.A. with a major in Religions and Cultures and a minor in Anthropology at Concordia University in 2018. She is currently pursuing her M.A. in Religions and Cultures. Her main academic interests include Buddhism, Yoga, New Religious Movements, and women and religion, as well as food studies, applied anthropology, and sustainability.
Katherine Hume completed her B.A. with double majors in English Literature and Religions and Cultures, with a minor in Law and Society at Concordia University in 2018. She is currently pursuing an M.A. in Religions and Cultures. Her interests are focused on Hinduism in popular culture, looking more specifically at the portrayal of Hindu characters in Western media.
Alessia Infantino completed her BA with a major in Religions and Cultures and minors in History and Interdisciplinary Studies in Sexuality at Concordia University. Her main academic interests include Christianity; Indigenous studies; race; religion in Quebec and Canada; gender and sexuality studies.
You can contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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/)
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 revolves around the environmental and emotional impact of seeing and interacting with Greco-Roman mythological themes in the street art scene of Montreal. Her interests include decolonialism, inclusivity, and activism both within and outside of the museum setting. Her goal is to challenge the traditional Western canon.
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.
Sean is a second-year MA student who specializes in the embodied realities and experiences of Hungarian Jewry (broadly construed, including the erstwhile borderlands). Last year he wrote his final essays on a gendered, Montreal-based comparison of Hungarian-Jewish and Iraqi-Jewish foodways, and on Hungarian-Jewish death rituals. His previous MA was in Concordia's Department of History, where he completed a thesis entitled: "Interethnic Relations, National Identifications, and 'Bystanders' to the Holocaust in the Northeastern Hungarian borderlands." He has presented at the fora of the Concordia Institute of Canadian Jewish Studies, and at the Annual Graduate Interdisciplinary Conference (AGIC).
Olivia Schultz completed her undergraduate degree in International Development at Redeemer University and the University of Ottawa. She is currently pursuing her M.A. in Religions and Cultures at Concordia University. Growing up in a Christian evangelical worldview, Olivia's research focuses primarily on the history and maintenance of sexual purity in contemporary evangelicalism and politics. Her other interests lie in Sara Ahmed's 'Happiness Narratives', history, intersectional studies, and merging personal 'lived-experiences' with academia.
You can contact her at email@example.com
Sara Sharpe is pursuing a Master of Arts degree in Judaic Studies in the Department of Religions and Cultures. She completed an Honours Bachelor's degree in Judaic Studies at Concordia University, for which she wrote a thesis paper supvervised by Dr. Norma Joseph. That paper was entitled "Friendship, Identity, and Grandmotherhood: Interpersonal Connections Between Ashkenazi Jewish Women in Montreal", and it was an ethnographic study of friendships between senior Jewish women in Montreal. For that study Sara conducted recorded individual interviews and utlized participant observation, and she employed intersectional feminist and queer theories in order to analyze the data. She presented that research at Indiana University's JSGSA Conference in February 2020. She spent the summer of 2020 employed as a graduate intern for the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute's Gilda Slifka Internship Program at Brandeis University. During that time she conducted the research for her Master's research, she conducted interviews with several senior Jewish women who are members of the Women's Learning Group at a synagogue in Montreal. This project is also supervised by Dr. Norma Joseph. Sara has already presented her preliminary findings for her Master's thesis research, during the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute Gilda Slifka Intern Presentations at Brandeis University. She has also presented her paper entitled "Lucy Bilsky Bronfman and Lillian Bilsky Freiman: Archives of Sisterhood" for the Canadian Society for Jewish Studies conference session in August 2020. Sara has received numerous scholarships and awards, including the Brenda Gewurz Scholarship for Feminist Leadership, which is awarded on the basis of both academic excellence as well as outstanding feminist leadership. Sara is passionate about interdisciplinary work employing intersectional feminist and queer theories, as well as cricial race theory, in the field of Jewish Studies.
Daniel Stewart is a graduate student pursuing an M.A. in Judaic Studies. He completed his B.A. with a double major in Philosophy and Religion at the University of Toronto. His proposed area of research concerns sacred spaces, i.e., his aim is to determine the criteria by which one assesses whether or not a given spatial or structural locus bears the ascription of sacrality. His research is mostly restricted to three of Judaism’s interactions with structural space: the First Temple, the diasporic adaptation to home and synagogue as places of worship, and—albeit counterintuitively — Auschwitz. Stewart’s other academic interests include: Emil Fackenheim’s Holocaust theology, the history of analytic philosophy (with a special focus on Ludwig Wittgenstein and Frank Ramsey), and method and theory in the study of religion.