Sara Ahmed Abdel-Latif
Photo of 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

Nilmani Abeywickrama Goonetilleke
no photo My research is analyzing the role of the popular Vessantara Jātaka narrative in funerary rites among Sri Lankan Buddhists. This research will unveil how the Buddhist community of Sri Lanka copes with the separation from loved ones at death through Buddhist narratives that focus on the merit of giving in life. I intend my research to not only serve academic ends, but to benefit future generations beyond the scholarly community.


nilmani.abeywickramagoonetilleke@mail.utoronto.ca

Sadaf Ahmed
no photo Sadaf Ahmed is a doctoral student whose prospective research will focus on how Islam in Canada is constructed in and informed by the post-9/11 circumstance.


sn.ahmed@mail.utoronto.ca

Khalidah Ali
Photo of 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
Photo of 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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Zoe Anthony
Photo of Zoe Anthony 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
Photo of Danielle Baillargeon 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.
Margaret Bangia
Photo of Margaret Bangia Margaret is in the MA program in the Department for the Study of Religion, and is interested in religious language, specifically as it is used in Evangelical sermons. Further to this, she is also interested in how that language reflects the cultural, political and social understanding of the Evangelical community in London during the Victorian Era.


margaret.bangia@mail.utoronto.ca

David Belfon
Photo of David Belfon 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
Photo of Brigidda Bell 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
Photo of 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
Photo of 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
Photo of Usmon Boron Usmon is a PhD candidate at the Department for the Study of Religion and the Center for Diaspora and Transnational Studies. His research explores anthropologically the formation of Soviet secularism and the ways in which Soviet secular sensibilities and vocabularies unfold in post-Soviet Central Asia. Usmon’s academic interests include critical approaches to secularism and religion, as well as the anthropology of law and ethics.
Ian Brown
Photo of Ian Brown I am a doctoral candidate at the Department for the Study of Religion, University of Toronto and an historian of the Graeco-Roman Mediterranean with a focus on the intellectual worlds of Greeks, Romans, Judeans, and Christians. My research focuses on the ways in which encyclia paideia (Hellenistic education) constructed intellectual fields in Graeco-Roman antiquity, and the ways in which these intellectual fields influenced the formation of first and second century Jesus traditions and social groups. In particular my work examines the field of marginal intellectuals witnessed in the writings of Lucian, Josephus, Plutarch, and Philo, and occupied by some early Christians such as Paul and the composers and consumers of the Gospel of Thomas. My research is based on socio-historical approaches to religions of antiquity, with a focus on fields of intellectual, and particularly literary production..



Research and Publications

Publications

2016
“Mythmaking and Social Formation in the Study of Early Christianity.” Religion Compass. 10: 15-24.
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.
2011
Co-authored with Christopher Stoney, Joseph Scanlon, Kirsten Kramar, Tanya Peckmann, Cynthia Lynn Cormier, and Coen van Haastert. “Steadily Increasing Control: The Professionalization of Mass Death” Journal of
Contingencies and Crisis Management
19: 66-74.

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
Photo of Judith Brunton Judith Ellen Brunton is a doctoral student at the University of Toronto’s Department for the Study of Religion. Her work concerns how individuals and communities imagine ‘the good life’ within the symbolic field of work, land, and home. Judith’s dissertation centres on Alberta’s oil public and uses ethnographic and historiographic methods to investigate how oil’s cultural, affective, and material infrastructures shape ‘the good life’ that people there aspire to. Judith holds a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Doctoral Scholarship to pursue her research. She is currently a junior fellow at Victoria College and Massey College at the University of Toronto.
Kyle Byron
Photo of Kyle Byron Kyle Byron is an anthropologist of religion and first year PhD student in the Department for the Study of Religion at University of Toronto. His research, grounded in the ethnographic study of North American Christianities, focuses on the place of affect, emotion, and material/sensory culture in the study of religion. Kyle holds a BA in Philosophy and Comparative Religion from Western Michigan University, an MA in Comparative Religion from Western Michigan University (with emphases in American Religious History and Theory and Method in Religious Studies), and an MA in American Studies from University of Wyoming (with emphases in Folklore and Material Culture).


kyle.byron@mail.utoronto.ca

Vincent Calabrese
Photo of Vincent Calabrese Vincent Calabrese is a Ph.D. student focusing on Judaism. He holds a B.A. from McGill University, an M.A. from the University of Chicago Divinity School and has also studied at Yeshivat Hadar. He studies Jewish philosophy and theology, especially the relationship between theology and halakhah. He is also interested in philosophy of religion more generally, with process thought a special area of interest.


vincent.calabrese@mail.utoronto.ca

Sean Capener
Photo of 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/

Saliha Chattoo
Photo of Saliha Chattoo 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
No photo 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
Alison Cleverley
Photo of Alison Cleverley Alison is pondering ideas of magic and studies of curse tablets in Mediterranean Antiquity, subordinate to her pondering the movement of religions, ideologies, and identities across the Ancient Roman Empire. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Toronto. At times she wanders off campus to enjoy horseback riding, coffee tasting, and barefoot explorations of Toronto’s ravines.


alison.cleverley@mail.utoronto.ca

Tamara Cohen
Photo of Tamara Cohen Tamara is a PhD Candidate working on yoga passages in the newly-edited critical edition of the 10th Century Kashmiri text known as the Mokṣopāya. Tamara is interested in representations of Haṭhayoga, found in story-passages that describe prāṇāyāma as a means to achieve the state of jīvanmukti. Tamara is interested in the Mokṣopāya’s elaboration of previously unknown and uncommon theories of kuṇḍalinī, nāḍī, siddhi and meditation. Tamara is also working on the Mokṣopāya’s representation of levels of progress on the path of yoga, and its unique re-telling of the Bhagavadgītā’s well-known philosophy of karmayoga. Her work is concerned with placing the yoga of the MU within the history of early yoga 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
Photo of Christopher Cornthwaite 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
Photo of Anna Cwikla Anna is a PhD student at the Department for the Study of Religion. 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
Photo of Maria Dasios Maria is a PhD candidate at the Department for the Study of Religion. 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
Photo of 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.
Andrew Dicks
Photo of Andrew Dicks Andrew joined the Department for the Study of Religion as a doctoral student in September 2017. He is researching historical and contemporary mediations of the Pāli canon in Myanmar (Burma) where the Abhidhamma and Paṭṭhāna (Conditional Relations), in particular, are popularly studied and venerated. More broadly, he is interested in aurality and knowledge production, as well as media and ritual studies.
Edward Escalon
Photo of Edward Escalon Edward Escalon is currently a docotral student in the Department for the Study of Religion at the University of Toronto. Broadly speaking, Edward is interested in Christianity in Latin America and the diaspora. In the past he has done research on Latinx Pentecostalism in Spain and Latina Evangelical responses to racialized police brutality. His current project cosiders the role of transnational Evangelical Christians and missionaries in violence prevention work in Honduras.


Andrew Erlich
Photo of Andrew Erlich
Andrew Erlich is a PhD candidate who received his BA from the University of Saskatchewan and his MA in Buddhist Studies from the University of Toronto. His current work focuses on Tibetan medical history and Tibetan understandings of the body.


Research and Publications

Dissertation title
Situating the Body and Medicine in Tibetan Medical History

Dissertation abstract
This dissertation will examine how Tibetan understandings of the body changed (or didn’t) from the 15th-17th centuries and contextualize Tibetan medical history within broader trends in Tibetan culture during that period, particularly in the 17th century.

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
Photo of Larissa Fardelos
Larissa is currently working on her PhD in the Study of Religion examining the understanding of consort relationships in Indian Vajrayana Buddhism as a practical soteriology and as a symbolic philosophical tool.

Research and Publications

Accomplishments/Awards:

Phool Maya Chen Award

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Nigel Fernando
Photo of Nigel Fernando 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 Department for the Study of Religion on Causality in Kant’s Pre-Critical Writings. His doctoral project centers on the emergence of autonomy in rationalist philosophy.
Gregory Fewster
Photo of Gregory Fewster Greg is a PhD student at the Department for the Study of Religion 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
Photo 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
Photo of Marisa Karyl Franz
Marisa is a doctoral candidate in the Department for the Study of Religion. Her research examines the collection practices of late imperial Russian museums for the gathering of Siberian shamanic materials. Through archival work conducted in Saint Petersburg, Yakutsk, and Irkutsk, her dissertation explores the development of taxonomical systems of collection, imperial Russian modernity, and the constructive nature of desire.
Shaftolu Gulamadov
Photo of Shaftolu Gulamadov 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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Sara Hamed
Photo of Sara Hamed Areas of interest:
-Anthropology of Islam
-Metaphors in religious language
-Muslim Imagination in the Greater Toronto Area, ON
-Intersections of Ethnography and Poetry


sara.hamed@mail.utoronto.ca

Barbara Hazelton
Photo of Barbara Hazelton 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
Photo of 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
Photo of 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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Nabeel Jafri
Photo of Nabeel Jafri Nabeel Jafri is an MA student in the Department for the Study of Religion. Areas of Interest: Method and theory in the study of religion, philosophy of religion (especially motivations of, and justifications for, religious practice), music and religion, self-flagellation, South Asian Shi’ism.


Zahra Jiwan
no photo Zahra is an MA student interested in how Karbala is conceived as the most important sacred space in Shiʿism through an ontological study of the ziyāra (visitation) of Karbala. Her research focuses on a pilgrimage manual titled Kāmil al-Ziyārāt (The Perfection of the Visitations) compiled by the tenth-century Perso-Iraqi scholar Ibn Qūlawayh al-Qummi. She suggests that as a multifunctional text, Kāmil al-Ziyārāt serves as a spiritual blueprint that navigates the pilgrim through Karbala’s sacred landscape by forcing him/her to physically engage with the space. Her particular focus is on the soteriological dimensions of the dust of Karbala as described in the text.


Delbar Khakzad
Photo of Delbar Khakzad Delbar Khakzad is a PhD student in the Department for the Study of Religion. 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
Photo of Elizabeth Klaiber 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
Photo of Roxanne Korpan Roxanne is a doctoral student in the Department for the Study of Religion and the Collaborative Program in Book History and Print Culture at the University of Toronto. She completed her MA and BA (Honours) at the University of Regina. Roxanne’s dissertation research focuses on the translation, publication, and distribution of Indigenous-language bibles in nineteenth-century Canada, where she examines how this bible production both was facilitated by intimate collaborative work between Euro-Canadian and Indigenous missionaries and linguistic experts and was a way of representing Anglophone, Euro-Canadian, and Christian supremacy. More broadly, she is interested in histories of religion and colonialism in North America and imbrications of religion, media, and power in colonial contexts. Roxanne is also a letterpress Printing Apprentice in the Massey College Bibliography Room at the University of Toronto and a professional contemporary dance artist.
Rony Kozman
Photo of Rony Kozman 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
Photo of Nika Kuchuk 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.

Catherine Lemieux
Photo of 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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Katie Maguire
Photo of Katie Maguire Katie is a PhD student at the Department for the Study of Religion. She earned an MA at the University of Toronto and a BaH at Queen’s University in Religious Studies. She is interested in apotropaic prayer and liturgy at Qumran.


Sukshmadarshi Maharaj
Photo of Sukshmadarshi Maharaj Darshi is a doctoral student at the Department for the Study of Religion. His research focuses on literature as his main interest is how people tell their stories and what their stories say about them.


Adil Mawani
Photo of 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
Photo of 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.
Mark Mueller
Photo of 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.
Ryan Olfert
Photo of 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 Department for the Study of Religion’s journal, Symposia, and assists organizing the SCRA seminar.



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 James O’Neill
Photo of Alexander James O'Neill Alexander is a PhD student at the Department for the Study of Religion and the Centre for South Asian Studies at the University of Toronto. His SSHRC funded PhD project focuses on book worship in Newar Buddhism, utilizing, in particular, Mahāyāna Buddhist sūtra literature, under the supervision of Prof Christoph Emmrich. His research interests also include paratextuality, materiality, and agency. His language interests include Sanskrit, Newar, Nepali, Pali, and Chinese.



Research and Publications
Dissertation title
Pustaka Pūjā: A Study of Sūtra Worship in Newar Buddhism

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Emily Jane Pascoe
Photo of 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.


Christina Pasqua
Photo of Christina Pasqua Christina E. Pasqua is a PhD student in the Department for the Study of Religion and the Book History and Print Culture Program at the University of Toronto. Her dissertation explores the politics of Bible translation, particularly how Christian publishing companies have embraced the semiotic codes and conventions of the comic book industry to disseminate the Bible as a visual text. This project emerged from a serendipitous trip to a local bookstore, where she found a copy of The Action Bible and R. Crumb’s The Book of Genesis Illustrated. Christina has been reading and writing about religion, media, and popular culture ever since. She is also committed to discussing public understandings of (specialized studies in) religion and is currently exploring the potential to translate her research into (popular, arts-based) media. She earned a Bachelor of Humanities and an MA in Religion and Public Life from Carleton University in Ottawa.


Ariel Peckel
no photo Ariel is a PhD candidate and Faculty of Arts and Sciences Top Doctoral Fellow, with an MA in Philosophy from the University of Toronto. His focus is on Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment philosophy and philosophical critiques of religion, in particular, Hume’s, Spinoza’s, Kant’s, and Nietzsche’s. He also focuses on late Wittgenstein’s philosophy of language as a methodological avenue for reapplying these critiques today, against postmodernist currents of thought and in relation to monotheistic systems of reference broadly. He is completing his degree in collaboration with the Centre for Jewish Studies, where he has focused on history and philosophy of antisemitism.


Jonathan Peterson
Photo of Jonathan Peterson Situated at the intersection of textual and social-historical approaches to the study of religion, Jonathan’s research investigates the development of religious polemical literature as an analytic for understanding issues of state-formation, patronage, sectarianism, and religious pedagogy in early-modern India. Jonathan’s research is supported in part by an SSHRC-CGS scholarship, and he is a Fulbright-Nehru doctoral research fellow in India over 2018-2019. He holds an M.A. in religious studies from the University of Colorado, Boulder.
Amelia Porter
Photo of Amelia Porter 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.
Maddy Prevost
Photo of Maddy Prevost Maddy is an MA student, broadly interested in the intersections of medicine, religion, and health. Currently, she is focused on Catholicism and HIV/AIDS, particularly how Catholic worship and HIV/AIDS treatment combine to produce a unique kind of biological citizen. She is interested in topics surrounding subjectivity and personhood, expertise, faith-based organizations, and concepts of miracles.


Jessica Radin
Phot of Jessica Radin 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.
Luiz Felipe Ribeiro
Photo of Luiz Felipe Ribeiro 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
Photo of Joel Richmond Areas of interest: Sufism, Qur’an, and Islamic Philosophical Theology
Krissy Rogahn
Photp of Krissy Rogahn Krissy is a PhD student in the Department for the Study of Religion and the collaborative program in Book History and Print Culture. She holds a BA from the University of Chicago and an MA from the University of California, Berkeley. She reads in the Tamil literary tradition, with an emphasis on poetry, hagiography, and canon formation. More broadly, her research interests include the history of religion in South India, colonialism and language, and genre theory.


Cole Sadler
Phot o of 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
Photo of Rachelle Saruya Rachelle is a PhD student at the Department for the Study of Religion. 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
Photo of Tony Scott Anthony is a PhD student in the Department for the Study of Religion.
Sukhdeep Sembi
Photo of Sukhdeep Sembi Sukhdeep is an MA student in the Department for the Study of Religion, with interests in comparative analysis between classic Indian epics, the Ramayana and Mahabharta, and their 17th century versions in Sikh literature. Sukhdeep is joining the Department after being called to the Law Society of Upper Canada, following the completion of law school at the University of Ottawa.


James Shire
Photo of James Shire
James is a first year PhD student here at the University of Toronto’s Department for the Study of Religion. His focus is on late-antique the apocalyptic and theological writings of Syriac Christian communities in late-antiquity. He recently completed my MA degree here at the University of Toronto. His Major Research Paper, “The King Awakens: An Examination of the Figure of the King of the Greeks in Late-Antique Syriac Apocalyptic Literature,” examined the literary construction and application of the ancient mythology of Alexander the Great in late-antique Syriac apocalyptic texts. He also has a MDiv from the Church Divinity School of the Pacific and a BA in global history from Pepperdine University.


Research and Publications
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Publications
Review of S.J. Beggiani, Early Syriac Theology with Special Reference to the Maronite Tradition (The Catholic University of America Press, 2014). Symposia: The Journal of Religion.

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Janina Sochaczewski
Photo of 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.
Patrick Stange
Photo Patrick Stange Patrick Stange is a PhD student, having recently completed his MA at the Department for the Study of Religion. 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.
Mirela Stosic
Photo of Mirela Stosic Mirela Stosic is an MA student at the Department for the Study of Religion. Her project inquires into the social aspect of the Early Upanishads.


Rami Tanous
No photo 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
Photo of Andrew Tebbutt 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.


Ian Turner
no photo Ian Turner joins the Department for the Study of Religion in 2017 as an M.A. student researching Newar Buddhism. Ian’s current research concerns domestic ritual practice within contemporary Newar Buddhist homes, a project he began in Kathmandu in the summer of 2015 when he investigated the adaptability of ritual norms within the widespread domestic displacement that followed the two major earthquakes of that year. For the M.A. Ian intends to expand upon this earlier research by considering broader currents of change and adaptation within modern Newar society – trends such as suburbanization, the repopulation of old neighborhoods, and the ever-growing popularity of Theravāda Buddhist elements within this traditionally Mahāyānist community. Central to his research is the proposition that the study of the organization and employment of domestic space offers a unique and revealing perspective on the dialogue between Newars, their families and modernity.
Parnia Vafaeikia
no photo Parnia is a PhD student in Department for the Study of Religion. 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.
Suzanne van Geuns
Photo of Suzanne van Geuns My work is informed by an interest in the position the internet lays claim to in its users’ daily lives, and more specifically, how that position is leveraged in the articulation and mobilization of right-wing political objectives. Concretely, this means that my research engages the loose constellation of blogs, prayer apps, forums, and news sites that may be called conservative Christian and/or white nationalist, ranging from online debates on the godliness of particular diets to passionate rejections of feminism as threatening the future of the (white) nation.
Meaghan Weatherdon
Photo of Meaghan Weatherdon A PhD student in the Department for the Study of Religion, 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
Photo of 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.
Ashoor Yousif
Photo of Ashoor Yousif 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).
Mahshid Zandi
no photo Mahshid Zandi is a transfer PhD student, researching the interconnectedness of religion and politics in the case of the Iran-Iraq War, its ritualized commemoration, and memory sites.