Sara Ahmed Abdel-Latif
Photo of Sara Abdel-Latif Sara is a Ph.D. Candidate, a Course Instructor and a Yoga Teacher. She completed her M.A. in 2014 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 with a minor in Muslim Studies in 2012 from Carleton University in Ottawa. Currently, Sara works on the construction of notions of qur’anic authority and gendered representations of female Sufi exegetes in the writings of Sunnis and Sufis of the 12th and 13th century.


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 candidate at the Department for the Study of Religion and the Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies. Her current research provides an ethnographic account of how life in Dubai shapes Muslim women’s subjectivities, affective relationships, and ethical ideals. Joud’s academic research interests include the anthropologies of Islam, neoliberal governmentality, and transnational migration.


joud.alkorani@mail.utoronto.ca

Filip Andjelkovic
andj_dsr Filip Andjelkovic is an M.A. student at the University of Toronto, Department for the Study of Religion. He completed his B.A. at the University of Toronto in 2018. Filip’s areas of interest include New Age beliefs, experiences of the paranormal – especially UFO encounters – and the relationship between science and spirituality which permeates the history of psychical research and psychoanalysis.


filip.andjelkovic@mail.utoronto.ca

Sarina Annis
annis_1 Sarina is a doctoral student at the DSR and is interested in contemporary North American Christianity. She has a MSc in the Anthropology of Religion from LSE where she looked at Mennonite missionaries in Quebec during the 1950s. She likes to think about religion and modernity, contemporary Anabaptism, the anthropology of mission, women in conservative religious movements, and the history of religion in Canada.


annissa1@mail.utoronto.ca

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

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

Paul Banks
no photo Paul is an MA student at the DSR whose field of study is Religions of Mediterranean Antiquity with a more specific interest in Christian origins and the text of the New Testament.


paul.banks@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

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.


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
Kyle Byron is a PhD student in the Department for the Study of Religion in the area of Religion, Culture, Politics. His research, grounded in the ethnographic study of North American Christianities, focuses on the place of affect and material/sensory culture in the study of religion. Kyle holds 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
https://utoronto.academia.edu/KyleByron

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
capener 150x150 Sean is a PhD Candidate at the Department for the Study of Religion and a Henry N.R. Jackman Junior Fellow in the Humanities at the Jackman Humanities Institute. His research is in contemporary continental philosophy, political theology, and medieval scholasticism. He’s interested in the ways that the terms of scholastic debates influence–through both survival and repudiation–the terms of contemporary ones. His dissertation research focuses on 13th century Parisian arguments around usury; in particular, the debate over the idea that usury constitutes a ‘theft of time,’ which has become a popular point of reference for contemporary critiques of debt and finance. In addition to his dissertation research, Sean has published on the philosophical writings of Giorgio Agamben and Gilles Deleuze.


sean.capener@mail.utoronto.ca
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.
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
Rosalind Cooper
cooper-phd Hello, my name is Rosalind. I’m a PhD student here at the DSR. I have a BA in Philosophy and Cultural Studies from Trent University, and an MA in Theory, Culture and Politics, also from Trent. I have studied Theology for two years at the Toronto School of Theology, and have an MI in Library and Information Science from the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto. I am interested in the history of the human sciences, secularisation and the intersections between religion and technology. My methodological interests include genealogy, ethnology and historical materialism. My doctoral project explores Pauline Political Theology in the Age of Digital Technology. What motivates my research, above all, is my conviction in the truth of Walter Benjamin’s insight that “There is a secret agreement between past generations and the present one. Our coming was expected on earth. Like every generation that preceded us, we have been endowed with a weak Messianic power, a power to which the past has a claim. That claim cannot be settled cheaply. Historical materialists are aware of that”. It is therefore my sincere hope that my time at the DSR will afford me the opportunity to contribute, in some small but meaningful way, to the gargantuan task of settling this claim.
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’s research examines the friendship between Walt Whitman and Canadian psychiatrist Richard Bucke. He is interested in how Whitman’s conception of the body may have influenced Bucke’s operation of the London Asylum or his writings on Cosmic Consciousness.
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 doctoral 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.

Larissa Fardelos
Photo of Larissa Fardelos
Larissa’s research considers women in contemporary and globalizing Buddhist organizations, particularly focusing on the engagements and resistances to transnational feminism, humanitarianism, and women’s empowerment.
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
fewster Greg is a PhD Candidate in Religions of Mediterranean Antiquity with a collaborative specialization in Book History and Print Culture. He is writing a dissertation on practices of forgery and criticism on the letters of Paul in (late) antiquity and (early) modernity. Areas of interest include pseudepigraphy and authorship, letter collections, amulets, textual criticism, and (early) modern editing of ancient texts.


Nicholas Field
Photo Nicholas Field Nicholas is a doctoral candidate researching Tibetan scribal training at Dunhuang, China, during the eighth and ninth centuries CE. He is also a member of both the Book History and Print Culture collaborative program and the Jackman Humanities Institute’s Digital Humanities Network.
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.
Sloane Geddes
geddes_phd Sloane is a PhD student in the Department for the Study of Religion focusing on Sanskrit literature. She previously studied at the University of British Columbia where she worked on early Sanskrit women poets. Sloane has a number of interests which generally centre around textual interpretation and identity-making in literature. Some of her interests include: Sanskrit literary theory, the portrayal of religious figures in Sanskrit drama, women’s literary production, literary constructions of ‘Others’ and difference or non-difference, medieval poetry anthologies, and processes of anthologizing.
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.


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).
Nabeel Jafri
Photo of Nabeel Jafri Nabeel Jafri is a doctoral student, focusing on contemporary Urdu Shiʿi ḥadīs̲ (oratory) in Pakistan. He is also interested in scholarship on devotion (language and practice alike); myth; history and historiography; and method and theory in religious studies. He has previously worked on the Urdu nauḥa, short, rhythmic poems to the tune of which Shiʿi devotees in South Asia perform mātam (self-flagellation). His master’s research project, titled “‘Shāʿirī kā Jinn’: Rehan Aʿzmi and the Urdu Nauḥa,” identified and explicated the themes of wilāyat (ʿAlid devotion), akhlāqiyyat (discourses on ethics and morals), and mahdiyyat (invocations of the Mahdi, the messianic figure in Shiʿi eschatological narratives) across all three volumes of Rehan Aʿzmi’s Ek ānsū meiṅ Karbalā (Karbala in a Teardrop).


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.
Rajni Mala Khelawan
khelawan_ma Rajni Mala Khelawan is currently completing her MA in the Department of the Study of Religion at the University of Toronto. She was awarded a BA (Psychology Major) in 2004 from Athabasca University. Her areas of interests are diverse: Hinduism, Literary Studies, and Gender Studies. Her current research focuses on religiosity of Indo-Fijian women living in the South Pacific nations. She has also authored two literary novels entitled The End of the Dark and Stormy Night (2008) that deals with religion and sexuality, and Kalyana (2016) that focuses on lives of Indo-Fijian women and Hinduism.


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 Kuchuk is a doctoral candidate at the Department for the Study of Religion, cross-affiliated with the Centre for South Asian Studies. She holds a BA Honours in Psychology and an MA in Religious Studies from the University of Ottawa. Her dissertation research explores particular moments of the ideological exchange between India and the West in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century transnational religious movements. It focuses on the work and thought of two female gurus, Helena Blavatsky of Theosophy and Mirra Alfassa of Integral Yoga (better known as the Mother and Sri Aurobindo’s collaborator). Using translation theory as its main investigative lens, this project looks at the discursive technologies that frame the women’s claims to knowledge, unpacking, in the process, the ways they both simultaneously drew upon and contributed to transnational networks of modern Vedanta and Buddhist Modernism. Broadly speaking, this project is interested in exploring the intellectual genealogies of global transnational religion, as well as considering the greater implications of the synthetic, universalist ethical and spiritual visions of movements such as Theosophy and Integral Yoga, which continue to inform contemporary spirituality and politics in various ways.


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.
Liwen Liu
liu_liwen Having received a Master degree from Peking University in China, Liu is doing a doctoral project on Hinduism under the supervision of Prof.Srilata Raman.In her doctoral project, Liu will examine the rituals connected to animal sacrifice as well as the ritual of animal sacrifice itself and the relationship between ritual and material culture, on the one hand, as well as ritual ethics and the problems of violence and morality, on the other, in the context of Kali worship in eastern India.


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.
Molly Mignault
mignault-ma I am currently enrolled as an MA student with the Department for the Study of Religion. I am studying religious environmentalism. Furthermore I am interested in the relationship between environmental conservation and sacred natural sites within India.


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.
Allison Murphy
murphy Allison is a PhD student working in religion, ethics, and modern thought. Her primary research interests lie in philosophy of religion, Enlightenment thought (particularly Kant’s writings on morality and religion), and contemporary issues concerning the idea of the secular and cultural pluralism. Her work inquires into the relationship between religion and morality and seeks to analyze religious conceptions of the right and the good from a philosophical perspective.


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.


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.


Emily Jane Pascoe
pascoe1 Emily Jane Pascoe is a doctoral student in the Department for the Study of Religion in collaboration with the Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies. She holds a Bachelors in Philosophy from Glendon College, York University and a Masters in the Study of Religion and Jewish Studies from the University of Toronto. Her dissertation will be focused on the study of authoritarianism through the lens of psychoanalysis, critical theory, and social philosophy.


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.


Katarina Pejovic
pejovic_dsr Katarina Pejovic is an MA student at the Department for the Study of Religion. Her research engages with the writings of Gershom Scholem in interpreting the phenomenon of the vast proliferation of modern Kabbalistic traditions. Fascinated by magic, “double-belief”, and syncretism, she also writes on trends in modern Western occultism, magic in Christianity, and points of contact between them and various Afro-Brazilian traditions.


Kent Peters
no photo I am interested in the rise of Christianity within the setting of the Roman Empire. Specifically, the ontological perspective of key theological writers and how they were influenced by or reacted against Roman religious culture to form Christian doctrines. I am also interested in theory and method questions, specifically attempts to define the category of ‘religion’ or ‘religious.’


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.
Joel Richmond
No Photo 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.
Rebecca Runesson Sanfridson
sanfridson_1 Rebecca is a doctoral student at the Department for the Study of Religion. She has a BA in Religious Studies from Uppsala University, Sweden, and an MA in Biblical Studies from the University of Edinburgh, UK. Rebecca is interested in the social history of Second Temple Judaism and the formation of early Christ groups. Her research is focused on ancient associations, material culture, travel, and religio-cultural exchange in and around the first century CE.
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.
James Shire
Photo of James Shire
James is a second 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.

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.
Jeizelle Solitario
solitario Jeizelle is a PhD student focusing on ethnicity and religion in Canada particularly on the effects of Filipino migration to Roman Catholicism in the region. Previously an MA student whose thesis is on Jacques Derrida’s deconstruction of Western sovereignty, Jeizelle retains her love for continental philosophy and history. She is also interested in methods and theory in the study of religion as well as in the intersection of religion and politics in the modern world. Originally from the Philippines, she majored in Religion (Hons) at the University of Manitoba, with minor in Asian Studies. She eventually finished her Joint Master’s program in Religion in the same university.
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.


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.


Yitong Tong
no photo Within the milieu of Early Christianities and Second Temple Judaism, Tong is primarily interested in Synoptic Problems and the quest for the historical Jesus. More specifically, in his M.A. project, he would like to explore on the transmission of Q source to the Wisdom Literature of early Christianity, as reflected in the Letter of James.


Pete Tsimikalis
pete-phd Pete is a PhD student at the Department for the Study of Religion. After finishing his undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto, Pete completed his MPhil at the University of Oxford under the supervision of Professor Hindy Najman. His dissertation at Oxford focused on the Book of Ben Sira, and specifically on the “Praise of the Fathers” section. Pete is interested in Hebrew Bible, Septuagint, and other Second Temple writings in the sphere of both Judaism and early Christianity. He also finds the theoretical frameworks of genre study and collective memory theory useful in his research.


Ian Turner
no photo My work encompasses a variety of ritual, social and architectural practices that characterize the domestic lives and spaces of the Newar Buddhists of Nepal. Daily ritual practice, intersections between food culture and ritual, gender relations in the home and in religoous participation, and the division and allocation of space in a Newar house are just some of the topics I am investigating.
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 Suzanne van Geuns is a doctoral student at the DSR. Her dissertation project is an ethnographic investigation of three overlapping online subcultures that use the internet to launch right-wing futures: conservative Christianity, antifeminism, and white nationalism. All three of these fields are characterized by the conviction that they are salvaging beleaguered truths about reality from feminist/leftist/multiculturalist suppression. This project asks how these subcultures connect such transcendental truths to the material world, investigating what techniques are brought together online to make a white, rigidly gendered, and/or biblical world not only feel desirable, but also tangibly real. Mapping the online infrastructures of right-wing aspiration, this project renders the futures they generate debatable in new ways.


Valeria Vergani
vergani-ma Valeria is a Masters student in the Department for the Study of Religion. Born and raised in Verona, Italy, Valeria moved to Canada in 2012 to pursue her Bachelors degree at Quest University Canada in British Columbia. There she researched the impact of western secular education on the transmission of Buddhism in the country of Bhutan. After working for two years as a community organizer in the areas of interreligious dialogue and action, Valeria joined the Department for the Study of Religion at the University of Toronto to explore contemporary modalities of indigenous representation in the North American interfaith movement.
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.
Andrea Wollein
wollein Andrea is a PhD student at the Department for the Study of Religion. She received both her MA in Modern South Asian Studies and her BA in Tibetology and Buddhist Studies from the University of Vienna. Her dissertation deals with the current situation of Newar Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism and Theravāda Buddhism in the ancient Nepalese town of Bhaktapur. In particular, her ethnographic case study seeks to explore the dynamics between these three Buddhisms.
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.