Sara Ahmed Abdel-Latif
Sara Abdel-Latif Sara is a Ph.D. student who is originally from Alexandria, Egypt. She completed her M.A. at the University of Toronto, focusing on the representation of Sufis as ideal interpreters of qur’anic meaning in al-Sulami’s writings. She earned her B.A. in Humanities and Religion from Carleton University in Ottawa. Currently, Sara works on the construction of notions of qur’anic authority in the exegetical writings of Sunnis and Sufis of the 12th and 13th century.


sara.abdel.latif@mail.utoronto.ca
Khalidah Ali
Khalidah Ali Khalidah is a PhD student in Islamic Studies. Her main interests are modern Islam in Egypt, Islamic Reformism, Islamism, and gender.
Joud Alkorani
Joud Alkorani Joud is a PhD student at the Department for the Study of Religion and the Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies. Exploring the Middle East as an aspiring anthropologist of religion, she attempts to interrogate the intersections between Islam, modernity, knowledge, and power. Her current research examines the production of religious knowledge in contemporary Muslim societies, the role of media in its dissemination, and its power to create global subjects.


Research and Publications

Publications

2014
“Solace for the Self and the Other: Prayer in Ibn ‘Arabi’s Thought.” Muḥyiddin Ibn ‘Arabī Society. 56:17-42.

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Yehia Amin
Yehia Amin Yehia is an MA student working on Han Kitab literature, Confucian intellectual history, and the development of Chinese Muslim identity. His research interests are Islamic Philosophy, Kalam (Islamic speculative theology), Confucianism among non-Han people, and the development of Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism from the Song dynasty onwards.
Zoe Anthony
Anthony, Zoe Zoe is a PhD candidate in history and philosophy of religions. She reads in the tradition of modern Continental thought, particularly Kant and Nietzsche. Her research focuses on the problems of suffering and evil. She also thinks about problems in method and theory in the study of religion, including historicity, relativity, temporality, and religious experience. This year, she looks forward to working on “asceticism” as a response to suffering.


zoe.anthony@mail.utoronto.ca


Research and Publications
Dissertation title“Suffering Time”

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Martin Arno
Arno, Martin Martin Arno is a PhD student. He holds a BA from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a MA from the University of Chicago. He is interested in the significance and dimensions of curses in the development of the early Christian movement, as well as papyrology and textual criticism in antiquity.


Danielle Baillargeon
Baillargeon, Danielle Danielle is a doctoral student at the University of Toronto. She received her BA and Master’s at the University of Calgary. Her research focuses on images of women in Roman and early Christian art. Danielle’s project will investigate the artistic depiction of women’s religious activities in early Christian funerary art.
Greg Beiles
Beiles, Greg Area of research: Phenomenology of Religion; Biblical and Midrashic Literature.
David Belfon
Belfon, David David is a PhD student at the Department for the Study of Religion and the Centre for Jewish Studies. He is interested in the mechanics of conversion and deconversion in contemporary Canada, with regard to formerly ultra-Orthodox Jews who have become disaffiliated from their communities. His project addresses questions of how social and religious boundaries and the institutionalization of religious identity relate to apostasy.


Brigidda Bell
Bell, Brigidda Brigidda is a PhD candidate, course instructor and teaching assistant at the Department of the Study of Religion. Her dissertation focuses on prophecy and other spirit practices in the ancient Mediterranean region approached primarily through embodiment and affect theories.


brigidda.bell@mail.utoronto.ca


Research and Publications
Dissertation title
Moved by the Spirit(s): credibility and normative models of spirit practices in the first and second century Mediterranean
Accomplishments/Awards:

2014
Teaching Excellence Award
Teaching Assistants’ Training Program
University of Toronto

2011-2014
Graduate Scholarship (CGSD)
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council
Ottawa

2013
Lieba Sharon Wilensky Lesk Graduate Scholarship in Jewish Studies
Centre for Jewish Studies
University of Toronto

2011, 2012
Shiff Family Graduate Student Endowment Fund
Centre for Jewish Studies
University of Toronto

2010
Canada Graduate Scholarship (CGSM)
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council
Ottawa, 2010

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Kalpesh Bhatt
Kalpesh Bhatt Kalpesh Bhatt is a PhD student in the Department for the Study of Religion, Centre for South Asian Studies, and Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies. He received his Masters from Harvard University. His research focuses on the function, value, and relevance of pre-modern Hindu texts in modern contexts, and the interaction of Hindu theology and neo-Vedantic worldviews with the daily lives of those who hold them.
Nathan Bonney
Nathan Bonney Nathan is a PhD student, studying in the field of Religion, Ethics, and Modern Thought. His research interests include continental philosophy of religion, theories of subjectivity and subject formation, and ethics and responsibility in the thought of Emmanuel Levinas. He received his BA in English Language & Literacy from the University of Waterloo and his MA in Philosophy from the Institute for Christian Studies. He plans to complete his dissertation on religion and ethics in the work of Emmanuel Levinas and Jacques Derrida.
Usmon Boron
Usmon Boron Usmon is a PhD student in the Department for the Study of Religion. He received his BA in Arabic Language and Literature from Tashkent State Institute of Oriental Studies and has recently completed MA in Middle Eastern Studies at Lund University. Usmon’s MA thesis focused on sectarianism and religious conflicts in contemporary Egypt. His academic interests also include anthropological approaches to religion and the Middle East, Islam, secularism, and nationalism.
Arun Brahmbhatt
Brahmbhatt, Arun Arun holds a BA in English and Comparative Religion from Tufts University and an MTS in South Asian Religions from Harvard Divinity School. His research is centered on modern Hindu traditions broadly, and the production of Vedānta commentarial texts in colonial and postcolonial Gujarat more specifically.


arun.brahmbhatt@mail.utoronto.ca


Research and Publications
Dissertation title
Scholastic Publics: Sanskrit Textual Practices in Gujarat, 1800 to the Present
Dissertation abstract
This project will examine how certain textual practices – including the production and dissemination of religious texts – were constitutive of unique religious identities in Gujarat during the late colonial period and the transition to independence. These themes will be explored through a case study of Sanskrit commentaries on the Vedānta scriptural canon produced in the Swaminarayan sampradāya, an influential Gujarati devotional community.

The project entails a detailed analysis of the hermeneutical strategies used to present theology and metaphysics in these texts alongside a careful historical contextualization of this genre within the larger body of both Swaminarayan and Gujarati religious texts. In doing so, it further explores the development of a Sanskrit print culture, the negotiation of interregional publics by a regional religious tradition, and the relationship between tradition and modernity in Neo-Vedānta and Neo-Hinduism.

Accomplishments/Awards:

2014-2016
Andrew W. Mellon Sawyer Seminar Graduate Fellow

2012-2013
Fulbright-Nehru Student Research Fellow

2010-2012
Selva J. Raj Endowed International Dissertation Research Fellow

2010-2012
Sandhya Ray Award for Indian Philosophy

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Jennifer Bright
Bright, Jennifer Jennifer Bright holds a BA in Religion, Literature and the Arts from the University of British Columbia and a MA in Religion and Modernity from Queen’s University, Canada. Her primary interests are Tibetan religion, medicine and gender, and she is currently researching the intersection of Tibetan Buddhism and medicine in the contemporary literature and practice of women’s health in Xining, China. She has variously lived in India, Nepal and China for over three 3 years.
Ian Brown
Brown, Ian Ian received his BA (Honours) from the University of Manitoba in 2009, and an MA in Religious Studies from the University of Regina in 2011. His research centers mainly on Early Christianities, especially the Gospel of Thomas, but also includes Post-Colonialism and Method and Theory in the Study of Religion.



Research and Publications
Publications

2015
“Mythmaking and Social Formation in the Study of Early Christianity.” Religion Compass. Forthcoming.

2014
Co-authored with James Dennis LoRusso, Tenzan Eaghll, Karen de Vries, Eoin O’Mahony, Kelly Baker, Travis Cooper, Kenneth MacKendrick, and Kate Daley-Bailey. “Religion Snapshots: On the Use of Data.” Ed.Philip L. Tite. Bulletin for the Study of Religion 43(1): 37-39.

Accomplishments/Awards:

2014-2016
Ontario Graduate Scholarship
University of Toronto)

2011-2014
Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarships, Doctoral Scholarship
University of Toronto

2011
Avie Bennett Award
University of Toronto

October 2011
President's Distinguished Graduate Student Award
University of Regina

2009-2010
Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship Program, Master’s Scholarship
University of Regina

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Judith Ellen Brunton
Judith Brunton A PhD student at the University of Toronto, Judith Ellen Brunton is an aspiring scholar of religion and the public sphere in Canada, specifically investigating the way spiritual and public health outreach are interventions in the mental health of young people living in moral spheres shaped largely by the economy. For Judith, her academic research stems from a dedication to the value of cultural diversity and difference, and need to render the familiar strange. In addition to her research, Judith is engaged with other aspects of the university community as a co-director of The Elements Experiment, a volunteer for the Religion in the Public Sphere initiative, and as a junior fellow at Massey College.
Sean Capener
Sean is a PhD student at the Department for the Study of Religion. His interests lie primarily within continental philosophy of religion, especially around the theme of 'immanence' in the work of Gilles Deleuze and François Laruelle. His current project utilizes this frame to explore homologies between economic and theological structures, especially involving the concepts of 'faith' and 'credit.'


utoronto.academia.edu/SeanCapener/
Brian Carwana
Carwana, Brian Brian Carwana’s research focuses on conservative Christianity in Canada and its interaction with the political sphere. He looks primarily at Christian lobby groups in Canada and how they relate to and are affected by the Canadian state. His research intersects with three main areas: (i) contemporary conservative Christianity, including its social-historical constitution and development; (ii) secularism, as it pertains to the public sphere, the secularization thesis and its critiques, and the ways that different traditions are affected by and sometimes help drive modernity; and (iii) religion and sexuality, with a primary focus on the role that sex, family, and gender issues play in contemporary politics and in establishing boundary markers for both conservative Christians and liberal secularists. Methodologically, his approach draws primarily on historical sociology.
Saliha Chattoo
Chattoo, Saliha Saliha is a PhD student who studies the anthropology of Christianity. She completed her BA in Anthropology and Classics at the University of Alberta and her MA in Religion and Culture at Wilfrid Laurier University. Broadly stated, her doctoral work explores how certain annual performance-based conversion events function as spaces wherein American evangelical youth can cultivate and perform their religious and political ideologies.


Research and Publications

Publications

2013
Rev. of Religion in America: A Political History, by Denis Lacorne. Studies in Religion / Sciences Religieuses 42 (2): 268-270.

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Michelle Christian
Michelle is a doctoral candidate, whose research interests include the social and cultural history of early Christianity, theories of currency and exchange, and the development of early Christian literary cultures. Her dissertation examines economic sayings in the gospels within the context of ancient wisdom traditions and monetization in the Roman empire
Tamara Cohen
Tamara Cohen Tamara joined the Department for the Study of Religion as a PhD student in the fall of 2014. She has a background in the Visual Arts and Cultural Theory, with an MA in Art History from the University of Toronto and undergraduate degrees in Art Education, Studio Metals and Sociology. Tamara's current project examines truth and allegory in South Asian mythical literature.


tamara.cohen@mail.utoronto.ca

Research and Publications
Dissertation abstract
Tamara will be considering truth claims of South Asian mythical narratives by comparing the “Arjuna Story” from the Nirvāṇaprakaraṇa (the sixth book of the Yogavāsiṣha) to the vulgate Bhagavadgītā. The Yogavāsiṣha shares literary language with much South Asian story-literature by virtue of its descriptions, scenarios, characters, themes and plots, but differs from this literature by claiming that its tales are not true and never really happened. Typically, South Asian mythical tales begin with a claim to factuality, or such a claim is assumed by adherents of the tradition itself, for whom these stories are sacred narratives that must be true. The Bhagavadgītā—the most well-known and commented upon Hindu text, and one of the three foundational texts of Vedanta philosophy—is itself an instance of Hindu Story literature that, by virtue of its location within the sixth book of the epic Mahābhārata, partakes of the latter’s truth claims in addition to its mythical genre. Tamara seeks to show that, by recounting and altering the famous Kṛṣṅa-Arjuna dialogue, the Yogavāsiṣha has re-cast the Bhagavadgītā as an allegory, declaring this story to be an unreal tale, told for the sake of illustration, and meant to lead the mind to experience that nothing—not even sacred literature—is true.

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Christopher Cornthwaite
Cornthwaite, Christopher Christopher is a PhD student. He is interested in movement and connections between ethnic-territorial identity and religion in voluntary associations in antiquity.
Anna Cwikla
Cwikla, Anna Anna is a PhD student at the DSR. Her current research focuses on the use of gendered language in the Nag Hammadi codices. Her dissertation seeks to investigate the reasons why female characters are employed frequently in these texts and explores similar examples of gendered language in other ancient Mediterranean texts.


Maria Dasios
Dasios, Maria Maria is a PhD candidate at the DSR. Her research explores what counts as “material” in late antique Christian (mostly Greek) texts, but she is equally fascinated by contemporary scholarly approaches to materiality. Previously a student of comparative literature, Maria retains a keen interest in the intersections of religion with literature, philosophy, and film.


Kyle Derkson
Kyle Derkson Kyle Derkson is a doctoral student whose research combines method and theory in the study of religion, philosophy of religion, and cognitive theories of religion and rationality. He is currently interested in exploring how various theoretical frameworks theorize religion and religious language and how these methods affect religious discourse in the public sphere.
Daigengna Duoer
Daigengna Duoer Daigengna Duoer is currently a Master's student in the Department for the Study of Religion at the University of Toronto. Her study and research focus is on Buddhist practices in Mongolia from the Yuan to the Qing dynasty and the documentation of personal oral histories of contemporary Mongolians in Inner Mongolia and the role of Buddhism in their lives, along with the recent revival of Buddhism in Inner Mongolia.


Research and Publications

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Andrew Erlich
Erlich, Andrew Andrew Erlich is in his fifth year of the PhD program. He received his BA from the University of Saskatchewan and his MA in Buddhist Studies from the University of Toronto. His current work focuses on the role of medicine in the rise of the Gelug sect to power in the 17th century.



Research and Publications

Dissertation title
The Role of Medicine in the Rise of the Gelug Sect to Power

Dissertation abstract
This dissertation will examine how Tibetan Medical institutions, practices, and scholarship were shaped by the rise of the Fifth Dalai Lama and his Gelugpa sect to power in the 17th century, as well as how medicine formed an important part of the symbolic and ideological justification for their new government

Publications:

2013
Co-authored with Frances Garrett, Nicholas Field, Barbara Hazelton, and Matt King. “Narratives of Hospitality and Feeding in Tibetan Ritual.” Journal of the American Academy of Religion (81) 2: 491-515.

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Larissa Fardelos
Larissa Fardelos A doctoral student in the Department for the Study of Religion in collaboration with the Centre for South Asian Studies, Larissa specializes in the Vajrayana Buddhist traditions of Northeast India and Nepal with a particular interest in explicitly gendered religious texts and women’s participation in ritual and practice. Larissa’s research investigates the application and interpretation of medieval texts within contemporary religious communities, utilizing both anthropological methods as well as primary text interpretation.


Research and Publications
Accomplishments/Awards:

Phool Maya Chen Award

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Nigel Fernando
Fernando, Nigel Nigel is a doctoral student at the Department for the Study of Religion working on the history of ideas in early modernity. He finished his BA in history and religion at the University of Toronto and then completed his Master’s thesis at the DSR on Causality in Kant’s Pre-Critical Writings. His doctoral project centers on the emergence of autonomy in rationalist philosophy.
Gregory Fewster
Greg is a PhD student at the DSR and works also in collaboration with the Book History and Print Culture Program. He researches early Christian book culture, including the production, reproduction, circulation, and use of literature, especially literary forgery. Greg also has in interest in Method and Theory in the Study of Religion.



Research and Publications
Dissertation title
Reading and Writing the Authentic Paul: Pseudepigraphy, Interpolation, and Variation in the Pauline Textual Tradition
Publications
Books

2013
Creation Language in Romans 8: A Study in Monosemy. Bril

2013
Co-edited with Stanley Porter. Paul and Pseudepigraphy. Brill.

Articles

2015
"Food, Power, and Ecological Hermeneutics: Reading Joseph with Monsanto." Reading the Bible in an Age of Crisis. Ed. Bruce Worthington. Fortress Press

2014
"The Philippians 'Christ Hymn': Trends in Critical Research." Currents in Biblical Research 13(2).

2014
"'Can I Have Your Autograph? On Thinking about Pauline Authorship and Pseudepigraphy." Bulletin for the Study of Religion 43(3).

2013
"Hermeneutical Issues in Canonical Pseudepigraphy: The Head/Body Motif in the Pauline Corpus as a Test Case." Paul and Pseudepigraphy. Ed. Stanley Porter and Gregory P. Fewster. Brill.

2013
"Symbolizing Identity and the Role of Texts: Proposals, Prospects, and Some Comments on the Eucharist Meal." Biblical and Ancient Greek Linguistics 2.

Accomplishments/Awards:

2015-16
Ontario Graduate Scholarship

2014-15
TATP TA Teaching Award, Nominated

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Nicholas Field
Nicholas Field Nicholas is a doctoral student researching scribes, correspondence networks, and the production of Buddhist texts in Central Asia, from the eighth century (CE) to the tenth. He works with Tibetan and Chinese manuscripts from the Dunhuang collection. He is also a member of the Book History and Print Culture collaborative program.


Research and Publications
Publications

2013
Co-authored with Frances Garrett, Andrew Erlich, Barbara Hazelton and Matt King. “Narratives of hospitality and feeding in Tibetan ritual.” Journal of the American Academy of Religion. 81 (2).

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Marisa Karyl Franz
Marisa Karyl Franz Marisa Karyl Franz is a doctoral student at the University of Toronto. She holds an AB from Bryn Mawr College and an MA from the University of Chicago. Her research focuses on the presentation of Siberian shamanism in Russian museums during the late Imperial and early Soviet Eras. Her dissertation will rely on archival work conducted at museums in both western Russia and northern Siberia.
Jairan Gahan
Gahan, Jairan Jairan is a PhD candidate at the Department and Center for the Study of Religion. Her area of research includes Islam, gender, nationalism, and modernity. Her interdisciplinary research brings together Islamic studies, women and gender studies, and urban studies. Her dissertation focuses on processes of reform and modernization in relation to women’s health, in the context of growing religious secular divide in 20th century Iran, Tehran.


Jackie Grossano
Grossano, Jackie Jackie is a doctoral student in the area of Religion, Culture and Politics. She studies the history and anthropology of the Pentecostal movement. She received her MA from the University of Chicago and BA in Religious studies and Human Development from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Shaftolu Gulamadov
Gulamadov, Shaftolu Shaftolu is a Religion PhD candidate. His BA is in Linguistics and his MA in Islamic History from the University of Oxford. He studies the history of Islam Central Asia.


Research and Publications
Dissertation title
Nasir-i Khusraw and the hagiographical tradition of the Ismailis of Central Asia

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Barbara Hazelton
Hazelton, Barbara Barbara Hazelton has a BA in Fine Art History and an MA in Buddhist Studies. Her research focuses on Tibetan epic literature and performance. She has lived for many years with Tibetan communities in Asia and Canada and is a practicing artist studying with a Tibetan Thanka painter in Toronto. She has a background in Tibetan visual imagery and ritual through studies with Tibetan scholars and ritual specialists.
Annie Heckman
Annie Heckman Annie Heckman is an MA student in the Department for the Study of Religion with a focus in Buddhist studies. She is studying the life story of the 14th-15th century Tibetan engineer-saint Thangtong Gyalpo.



Research and Publications

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Sean Hillman
Sean Hillman Sean is a PhD candidate in Religion w/ a double collaboration in Bioethics & South Asian Studies. He uses Medical Anthropology to investigate intersections of religion & health particularly at the end-of-life. An officiant, former Buddhist monk & caregiver since the mid-90s, Sean has spent 5 years in India including a recent 6 month research trip. From 2015-2016, he'll be a Clinical Bioethics Fellow at the Centre for Clinical Ethics (St. Joseph’s Health Centre).  


Research and Publications
Publications
Author

2014
“Sallekhana-Santhara: Jain Voluntary Death as a Model for Secular…End-of-life Care.” Social Consciousness in Jainism. Ed. Shugan C. Jain and Prakash C. Jain. International School for Jain Studies & New Bharatiya Book Corp. 139-174.

2011
“Jain Voluntary Death and Secular End-of-life Care.” Shramana (Quarterly Jain Studies Journal). Shri Parsvanath Vidyapeeth Research Institute. LXII(1) : 65-85.

Contributor

2014
Buddhism Chapters: Multifaith Manual. Ontario Multifaith Council. Distributed to provincial hospitals, jails, and long term care centres to assist in meeting religious requirements of clients.

2014
Dave Gordon. "How do Buddhists View Medical Marijuana?" The Medical Marijuana Review. Feature Story January 2, 2014. http://goo.gl/BmdSNZ

References

2010
Henry C.H. Shiu. “Buddhism After the Seventies.” Wild Geese: Buddhism in Canada. Ed. John S. Harding, et al. McGill-Queen's Press. 99, 109.

Accomplishments/Awards:

2015-2016
Clinical Bioethics Fellow
Centre for Clinical Ethics (St. Joseph’s Health Centre
One-year full-time paid fellowship in Clinical and Organizational Bioethics. Includes consultations (with patients, families and health care teams),teaching, research and policy development.

2014
Expert Witness
Cham Shan Temple v. Director, Ministry of the Environment: Case Nos. 13-140/13-141/13-142
Duties included: Witness Statement and Appeal letters on Buddhism and the importance of environmental context in meditation and pilgrimage practices for Environmental Review Tribunal in the matter of the Sumac Ridge Wind Project which proposes the building of Industrial Wind Turbines in close proximity to a major Buddhist retreat centre development project.

2013-2016
Graduate Associate
The Centre for Ethics (University of Toronto)

2011-2112
Doctoral Fellow
Lupina Centre for Spirituality, Healthcare and Ethics (Regis College, University of Toronto)

Academic Grants & Awards

2015-2016
Clinical and Organizational Bioethics Fellowship ($45K)
Centre for Clinical Ethics, St. Joseph’s Health Centre

2014-2015
Research Travel Grant ($2875)
School of Graduate Studies, University of Toronto

2011-2112
Doctoral Fellowship ($5000)
Lupina Centre for Spirituality, Healthcare and Ethics

2010
Advance Planning for Students (UTAPS) Grant ($4100)
University of Toronto

2010
Graduate Admission Award ($500)
Department for the Study of Religion, University of Toronto

2009
John MacRory Fellowship ($2500)
University of Toronto School of Graduate Studies

2009
University of Toronto Grant ($2700)

2009
Graduate Admission Award ($3500)
Department for the Study of Religion, University of Toronto

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Ayan Kassim
Ayan Kassim Ayan is currently an MA student interested in the moral contours of organ procurement policies in North America. She received her BA in History, Religion, and American Studies from the University of Toronto.


Delbar Khakzad
Delbar Khakzad Delbar Khakzad is a PhD student in the DSR. She completed her MA in Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Toronto, specializing in Temporality and Futurality in the Constitutional Revolution of Iran. Her main interests are modernity, nationalism, the perception of time, and the complex socio-political interactions of religious and secular trends in modern Iran.


Research and Publications
Dissertation title
The Comprehension of Time in the Early 20th Century Iran

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Elizabeth Klaiber
Klaiber, Elizabeth Elizabeth is a PhD candidate in the Book History and Print Culture collaborative program studying book burning and heresy in sixteenth century England. Her particular interest is in examining how heretical spoken and written or printed words entered individual subjects’ bodies and the body politic at large, and how authorities chose to combat the spread of heretical infection.


Roxanne Korpan
Roxanne Korpan Roxanne is a doctoral student in the field of Religions of Mediterranean Antiquity. She completed her BA (Honours) and MA at the University of Regina. Roxanne’s research centres on gender-based analysis of 1st-2nd century Greco-Roman literature, most recently within the Nag Hammadi corpus, focusing primarily on the rhetorical utility of gender in the discursive formation of identity. Her research also includes work in method and theory for the study of religion.
Rony Kozman
Kozman, Rony Rony is a PhD student at the Department for the Study of Religion in collaboration with the Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies. His area of research includes early Judaism and ancient Christianity focusing on the Dead Sea Scrolls and Pauline epistles. Rony is especially interested in how ancient Jewish and Christian communities transmitted and interpreted Israel’s Scripture.


Nika Kuchuk
Kuchuk, Nika

Nika is a doctoral student, registered also in the collaborative program in South Asian Studies. She holds her BA Honours in Psychology and MA in Religious Studies (University of Ottawa). Main areas of interest include: Hinduism, gender, theories of the self, embodiment and religious experience, transnational religion, translation, syncretic spirituality, goddess traditions, women’s religion, and comparative and cross-cultural approaches.

Nika’s current research revolves around particular moments of the East-West dialogue in late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, translational religion, and translation theory. In particular she is interesting in the activities of several prominent Western female figures, and the far-reaching effects of their work as activists and/ or spiritual teachers in India and in the West. Associated with now global religious movements such as the Ramakrishna Mission and Theosophy, these women shaped various historical and political processes that remain relevant today.

Mourad Laabdi
Laabdi, Mourad Mourad is a PhD candidate writing his thesis about disagreement and diversity of opinion in medieval Islamic law. His other areas of interest include Medieval Islamic psychology, political philosophy, and contemporary anthropology of Islam. He holds an MA in Cultural Analysis from the University of Amsterdam and a BA in Linguistics from Ibn Zohr University, Morocco.
Catherine Lemieux
Catherine Lemieux Catherine, a doctoral candidate at the Department for the Study of Religion, received both her BSc and MSc from the Université de Montréal in Anthropology.



Research and Publications
Dissertation title
Shamanism in Toronto: An Ethnographic Study of Spiritual Healing
Dissertation abstract
Catherine’s doctoral research on Toronto spiritual workshops focuses on specific aspects of healing as a subjective experience: how the healing process—the person’s perception of an improvement in well-being– is perceived by participants and healers.

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Adil Mawani
Adil Mawani Adil is a PhD student interested in the study of religion and literature with a focus on South Asia and Islamic Studies. He seeks to examine the place of literary fiction in the study of religion.


Kaleigh McLelland
Kaleigh McLelland Kaleigh explores the implications of religious pilgrimage on the formation and performance of a national identity in Canadian contexts. Her current research focuses on French Canadian Catholic communities and local pilgrimage to sites such as Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, Québec.
Helen Mo
Mo, Helen Helen Mo is a doctoral student studying how today’s immigrants negotiate transnational ethnic and religious affiliations within North American cities and “ethnoburbs,” with a focus on Chinese evangelicals. Helen is enrolled in the Ethnic and Pluralism Studies collaborative program and her interdisciplinary approach incorporates the study of religion, history, anthropology, and human geography. Helen also taught English at a public secondary school after earning her BA, BEd, and MA at Queen’s University, Kingston.


Mark Mueller
Mark Mueller Mark Mueller is a PhD student with a focus on the religions of ancient antiquity. He is interested in the growth of monotheistic worship within the context of Greco-Roman religion, and its interaction with early Christianity and Judaism.
Aldea Mulhern
Aldea Mulhern Aldea is a PhD candidate in the study of religion and the collaborative program in Jewish studies. Her work focuses on the ideological underpinnings of alternative foodways emergent in two religious organizations, one Jewish and one Muslim, who are active in the Toronto food movement. Aldea is interested in lived religion, theory of comparison, and issues of power, gender, and ideology as they arise in economies of value. She studies religious food practice and discourse.



Research and Publications
Dissertation title
Fit for Food and Food for Thought: Jews, Muslims, and religion in the Toronto food movement

Publications

2015
“What does it mean to ‘Eat Jewishly?’: Authorizing discourse in the Jewish Food Movement in Toronto, Canada.” Scripta Instituti Donneriani Aboensis. 26 : 303-325.

2014
Coauthored with Andrea Most. “Jewish Studies: Food.” Oxford Bibliographies Online: Jewish Studies. 90 entries. http://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/view/document/obo-9780199840731/obo-9780199840731-0067.xml

2014
Coauthored with Michel Desjardins. “Living Sacrifice: Rethinking Abrahamic Religious Sacrifice using Field Narratives of Eid ul-Adha.” Not Sparing the Child: Human Sacrifice in the Ancient World and Beyond. Ed. Vita Daphna Arbel, J. R. C. Cousland, Richard Menkis, and Dietmar Neufeld. Bloomsbury Press. 190-212.

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Ryan Olfert
Ryan Olfert Ryan is a Phd candidate in the field of Religions of Mediterranean Antiquity. His dissertation focuses on the intersection of Greco-Roman associations and early Jesus groups in terms of materiality, discourse, and gender. In addition to his dissertation, Ryan translates inscriptions and papyri from Roman Egypt as part of a research project directed by Dr. John Kloppenborg. He is also the current General Editor of the DSR’s journal, Symposia, and assists organizing the SCRA seminar.


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Research and Publications

Publications

2014
Rev. of Blood Will Out: Essays on Liquid Transfers and Flows. Ed. by Janet Carsten. Symposia 6 : 114-116.

2012
“More than Critique? The Secular and the Practice of Religious Studies.” Religious Studies and Theology 31 (1) : 1-15.

2011
“Luther’s Behemot: The Politics of Grace between Paul and Badiou.” Studies in Religion / Sciences Religieuses 40 : 45–62.

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Alexander O’Neill
Alexander O'Neill Alexander is a PhD student researching the role of paratexts in Mahāyāna Buddhist literature and their relationship to ritual, in particular, the contemporary rituals of the Newar Buddhism in Nepal. More generally he is interested in Mahāyāna Buddhism and anthropology. His language interests include Pali, Sanskrit and Newar.


Research and Publications

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Emily Jane Pascoe
Emily Jane Pascoe Emily is an MA student in the Department for the Study of Religion. She earned a specialized BA in Philosophy from York University. Her interests include psychoanalysis, German Jewish philosophy, and 20th century approaches to the problem of evil.


Jonathan Peterson
Jonathan Peterson Jonathan’s research addresses issues related to social, doctrinal, and discursive developments in South Asian religious histories. More specifically, his research investigates pre-colonial Vedānta traditions in South Asia and how systems of patronage combined with novel discursive strategies were instrumental in the formation and mobilization of intra-Vedānta sectarian tension. Key figures around whom this study largely constellate are Appayya Dīkṣita, Bhaṭṭoji Dīkṣita, and Raṅgoji Dīkṣita, whose patronage links and intellectual rivalries offer unique perspectives into the socio-historical dimensions of Advaita Vedānta at its apogee. Jonathan joins the Department for the Study of Religion from the University of Colorado Boulder where he completed a master of arts degree in religious studies in 2015. In addition to South Asian intellectual traditions, Jonathan is also an avid student of contemporary critical philosophy, and he holds a certificate in Critical Theory from the Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages at the University of Colorado Boulder.
Amelia Porter
Porter, Amelia Amelia holds a BA (Hons) from the University of Toronto and an MTh in Biblical Studies from the University of Edinburgh. She is primarily interested in the New Testament parabolic corpus, with particular reference to their oral dimension. Other interests include the social history of early Christianity and historical Jesus research.
Jessica Radin
Radin, Jessica Areas of interest: Contemporary interpretations of medieval Islamic thought; historical development of religious thought in Shi’a and Sunni Islam; the relationship between medieval Jewish and Islamic thinkers; Islamic and Jewish law; interpretation of Qu’ran and hadith.
Aly Rattansi
Rattansi, Aly Aly investigates the concept of sacred space from the perspective of Ismail’ism, drawing on a series of hitherto unexplored sources produced by it’s imamate and the community.
Luiz Felipe Ribeiro
Ribeiro, Luiz Felipe Luiz received his MA in Religious Sciences from Universidade Metodista de São Paulo, Brazil. In his Master’s dissertation he pursued the Second Temple Jewish Imaginary of Heavenly Ascent and Celestial Temple and its impact on Christian Origins. In his PhD, Luiz Felipe is occupied with more earthly pursuits. Researching under the advisory of Prof. John S. Kloppenborg, he is interested in the History of Sexuality in Early Christianity. Beyond the interest in the profane side of Early Christian Identity formation, Luiz Felipe dilettantely cultivates his passion for Jazz and Latin American Fiction.
Joel Richmond
Richmond, Joel Areas of interest: Sufism, Qur’an, and Islamic Philosophical Theology
Dianna Roberts-Zauderer
Dianna Roberts-Zauderer Dianna is a PhD candidate at the Department for the Study of Religion and a collaborative graduate at the Centre for Jewish Studies. Her doctoral dissertation focuses on metaphor and the imagination in medieval Jewish thought, and how these ideas find their philosophical expression in Andalusian Hebrew poetry. She received both her Hon. BA and MA from the University of Toronto. Her MA major research paper explored philosophical concepts in medieval Hebrew ethical wills.



Research and Publications
Dissertation title:
Poetic Falsehood: Metaphor and Imagination in Andalusian Jewish Thought
Dissertation abstract:

My dissertation project examines metaphor in medieval Andalusian thought and how it is expressed in Jewish philosophy and poetics of the period. Metaphor is one of the most beautiful and ornamental aspects of literature and poetry, but its usage also points to the limits of human intelligence, because without figurative language the mind cannot fathom the divine. Medieval Jewish thinkers sought to define a role for the proper usage of metaphor in poetry and scripture. These guidelines were expressed in both poetic and theological treatises. For my dissertation project, I will build a Jewish aesthetic theory based on the writings of Moses ibn Ezra, Judah Halevi and Moses Maimonides.

Medieval Muslim and Jewish thinkers understood metaphor to be a function of human imagination. As such, we cannot understand metaphor without first understanding medieval psychology and the significance of the human imagination; it is this gap in scholarship that my dissertation will address.

How metaphors are integrated in human imagination gets to the very heart of how we know what we know. By focusing on metaphor, its classification in primary sources and its application in Jewish  philosophy and poetics, I hope to develop a medieval Jewish aesthetic theory that pays cultural debt to Andalusian society, and problematizes the binary between intellect and imagination in medieval Jewish thought.

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Bianca Romagnoli
bianca romagnoli Bianca is a MA student at UofT exploring the use of the category of religion in the Canadian Armed Forces and how terminology surrounding religion is used in relation to minority traditions and it's effects on current service members.



Research and Publications

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Cole Sadler
Cole Sadler Cole Sadler is a PhD student at the Department for the Study of Religion and collaborative programme through the Centre for Jewish Studies. His area of focus is 20th-Century Jewish Existential Thought, focusing on the works of Emmanuel Levinas. Cole is interested in the Post-structural critiques of the Phenomenological tradition, as well as the relation of sensation in the philosophical tradition.
Rachelle Saruya
Rachelle Saruya Rachelle is a PhD student at the DSR. Her background includes an MA in International Relations with a concentration in Political Society and Culture in Southeast Asia (Waseda University) and more recently an MA in Religious Studies fromLancaster University. Her research interests are within the realm of Myanmar-Burmese Theravada Buddhism and include the topics of gender and Buddhism, monasticism, Abhidhamma, and Burmese Buddhism in the US.
Anthony Scott
Tony Scott Anthony (call him ‘Tony’) hails from the Dinosaur Capital of the Universe in the Alberta Badlands. After studying in Calgary, Ankara, Poona and Hong Kong, Tony is currently a PhD student in Toronto, where he looks forward to more learning, striking and overcoming myriad challenges with his cohort and colleagues.


Research and Publications
Dissertation title
Myanmar and the Modern: Buddhist Commentaries, Colonialism and the Cold War
Dissertation abstract
Still in its early stages, Tony’s dissertation will focus on the role religion played in the shaping of modern Myanmar in the mid-Twentieth century. By focusing on controversial Buddhist commentaries in authoritative and vernacular languages, Tony seeks to investigate how these exegeses articulate the rise of Buddhist globalization in Myanmar at a time when the region experienced colonialism, independence and Cold War geopolitics in a few short decades. His research contributes to a burgeoning field of Burma studies and tries to incorporate political science, Buddhist studies and the critical perspective of the humanities. Tony hopes to use religious studies to examine how metropolitan scholars generate narratives of the modern, the global and the secular in Southeast Asia and beyond.
Accomplishments/Awards

2015
Ontario Graduate Scholarship

2013
Married the Beautiful Yumi Sato

2012
Master Shing Yi Award for Excellence in Buddhist Studies

2012
Khyentse Foundation Award for Excellence in Buddhist Studies

2011
Tung Lin Kok Yuen Postgraduate Scholarship in Buddhist Studies

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James Shire
James Shire is an MA student studying the history of the Church of the East in the late-antique to early medieval period in the Near East. In particular, he is interested in studying the relationships between ecclesiastical leaders and local governments that allowed the Church of the East to manage one of the largest missionary efforts during this period. He hopes to eventually to continue his studies and continue towards doctoral work in this field.



Research and Publications

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Janina Sochaczewski
Janina Sochaczewski Janina is a PhD student whose primary interests lie within the realm of psychoanalysis and religion. Her research seeks to explore the role of religion in the intergenerational transmission of trauma, particularly within communities affected by mass trauma and/or prolonged periods of traumatic stress.
Youcef Soufi
Youcef Soufi Youcef Soufi is a PhD student that specializes in Islamic law and legal theory (usul al-fiqh). His thesis project examines medieval Islamic juristic disputations (munazarat), focusing on the recorded disputations of the Shafi'i jurist Abu Ishaq al-Shirazi (d.1083).



Research and Publications
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Dissertation title
11th Century Islamic Legal Disputations
Dissertation abstract
My dissertation analyzes four 11th century Islamic legal disputations. Its protagonist is Abu Ishaq al-Shirazi, chief of the Shafi’i school of law of Baghdad. Each disputation features Shirazi defending a contested legal position against an equally famed jurist’s competing argumentation. Their debates range from women’s marital rights to the taxation of religious minorities and correct ritual practice. The dissertation uses these disputations as a lens intothe etiquette, standard arguments, and functions of disputations. In doing so, it addresses historical debates about the development of the Shafi’i legal tradition, and particularly its reliance upon legal theory (usul al-fiqh) in developing its substantive law (furu’).
Publications

Forthcoming
“The Historiography of Usul al-Fiqh.” The Oxford Handbook on Islamic Law. Ed. A. Emon, R. Ahmed, and K. Stilt. Oxford University Press.

2011
“Muslims in Canada: A Rocky Road Ahead.” Religion and Citizenship in Canada: Issues, Challenges, and Opportunities. Ed. Paul Bramadat. A Report Prepared for Citizenship and  Immigration Canada by the Centre for Studies in Religion and Society, University of Victoria.

Accomplishments/Awards

2014-2015
Jackman Humanities Institute Graduate Fellow

Sept 2015 – Aug 2016
Ontario Graduate Scholarship

Sept 2011 – Aug 2014
CGS Joseph-Armand Bombardier SSHRC Scholarship

Sept 2007 – Aug 2008
SSHRC MA

Sept 2008 – Aug 2009
Centre for Studies in Religion and Society, University of Victoria

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Patrick Stange
Stange, Patrick Patrick Stange is a PhD student, having recently completed his MA at the DSR. He is primarily interested in Greco-Roman scribal culture along with textual criticism, epigraphy, and papyrology. A California native, he received his BA in Classics from UC Santa Cruz.
Justin Stein
Justin Stein Justin is a doctoral candidate at the DSR with a collaborative program in Diaspora & Transnational Studies. Before pursuing his doctorate, Justin taught secondary school for four years. His research interests include transnational religion, new religious movements and spiritualities in North America and Japan, and the relationships between religion, science, and medicine. When not reading and writing, he brews beer, listens to records, and enjoys the outdoors.



Research and Publications
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Dissertation title
Alternate Currents: Healing in the North Pacific with Reiki’s “Universal Energy”
Dissertation abstract
This project is a social history of the development of Reiki in Japan, Hawaii, and North America that analyzes the relationship between social boundaries (including those of nation, race, class, and gender) and the movement of spiritual practice across those boundaries. More specifically, it asks in what ways border crossing transform spractice and in what ways the movement of practice impacts the re-inscription of boundaries. Its analysis takes place at three interconnected levels: 1) practitioners’ experience-narratives; 2) their elective kinships with other practitioners; and 3) their discursive and material interactions with regulative institutions (especially religious, medical, and state institutions). This approach represents a shift from dominant scholarly trends that treat spiritual practices as ahistorical and highly individualized, toward an understanding of spiritual practice as embedded in and moving among historical sociocultural structures.
Publications

Under Review
“From Usui Reiki Ryôhô to Reiki—Trans-Pacific Transformations, 1936-1986.”Spiritual Therapies Anthology.Ed. Shin’ichi Yoshinaga and Naoko Hirano.

「臼井霊気療法からレイキへートランス・パシフィックによる変化、1936−1986 年」

精神療法アンソロジー、吉永進一、平野直子編集

2015
Trans. from Japanese.“Two Articles from the March 4, 1928 Sunday Mainichi” and “Selected Articles from the Hawaii Hôchi.”Reiki: Transmissions of Light.by Robert Fueston.O Books.Forthcoming.

2014
Coauthored with Robert C. Fuller.“Alternative Medicine: I. Social History.”Bioethics.Vol 1. 4th Ed.Ed. Bruce Jennings.Macmillan.

2012
“The Japanese New Religious Practices of jôrei and okiyome in the Context of Asian Spiritual Healing Traditions.”Japanese Religions.37 (1/2).

2012
“‘Reiki Balances the Chakras’: A Japanese Healing Practice in New Age India.”Chao Center for Asian Studies 2011 Transnational Asia Graduate Student Conference Working Papers.Chao Center for Asian Studies.

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Rami Tanous
Tanous, Rami Rami’s research focuses on the development of Biblical exegisis in the Syriac church as a reflection of major transformations undergone by Syriac Christianity in two main stages. It will first examine the transformation that Syriac literature went through due to the influence of Greek philosophy and theology. The second section of the research will discuss aspects of the later encounter between Syriac Christianity and early Islam and examine the transformation of Syriac Christian literature and exegisis in response to Islamic theology.



Research and Publications
Dissertation title
Mary’s Encounter with Gabriel
Dissertation abstract
Rami’s dissertation examines the Qur’an’s recasting of the Annunciation in light of late antique Christian traditions.

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Andrew Tebbutt
Tebbutt, Andrew Andrew is a PhD candidate working in the area of religion, ethics, and modern thought. He studied philosophy at Brock University (BA, MA) and at the Institute for Christian Studies (MA). Andrew is interested primarily in phenomenology and German Idealism, and his dissertation investigates the relationship between the concept of religion and the experience of forgiveness in Hegel’s philosophical system.


Parnia Vafaeikia
Parnia is a PhD student in DSR. She holds a BA in Sociology from University of Tehran and a MA in Interdisciplinary Studies from University of British Columbia. She concentrates on Iran, Islam and Shi'a jurisprudence with a focus on gender and women's studies.
Sarah Veale
Sarah is an MA student working on mystery cult in the Roman Empire. She holds an Honours BA (Summa Cum Laude) from York University in Classical Studies and Religious Studies. Her research seeks to present a new way of understanding “public” and “private” religion in antiquity.



Research and Publications
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Publications

2013
"Orientalism in Iamblichus' The Mysteries."The Pomegranate: The International Journal of Pagan Studies. 15 (1-2).

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Dace Veinberga
Veinberga, Dace Dissertation title: Toward a Fragmentary History of Traditional Religion in Livonia
Meaghan Weatherdon
Meaghan Weatherdon A PhD student in the DSR, Meaghan earned her BA in Religion and Law from Carleton University and her MA in Religion and Modernity from Queen’s University. She will be focusing on the relationship between environment, social justice, religion and Indigenous Knowledge. In particular she is interested in examining how Indigenous spirituality shapes contemporary environmental and social movements in Canada.
Tzemah Yoreh
Tzemah Yoreh is a PhD student focusing on post-biblical wisdom literature. He has a previous PhD from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in the Hebrew Bible, and has written many popular academic books for students of the Bible in his Kernel to Canon series.
Paul York
York, Paul Dissertation on Kant’s philosophy of religion and climate change. Founder of www.animalrightsacademy.org Has taught RLG228 (Religion, Ethics, Environment); RLG227 (Religion and Animals); RLG317 (Violence and Nonviolence) several times. Focus on interdisciplinary ‘environmental humanities’, animals and religion, and and climate ethics.


Ashoor Yousif
Yousif, Ashoor As a PhD student, Ashoor’s research interest lies in the interdisciplinary study of religion, history, and literature. Building on his previous master’s degrees in Christian Theology and Syriac Christianity, his doctorate project focuses on Middle Eastern (Syriac and Arabic) Christianity, Islam and Christian–Muslim relations during the early ‘Abbasid Iraq milieu (750-950 CE).