Volet 4 – Stratégies alternatives

Quelles sont les stratégies alternatives permettant de gérer la diversité religieuse?

Le Volet 4 étudie les manières dont le discours social, politique et légal a eu tendance à compter sur le maintien d’un « autre » et d’explorer la possibilité d’adopter un/des modèle/s d’inclusion et d’une égalité profonde.


Vous trouverez ci-dessous la liste des membres de l’équipe qui font partie du Volet 4. Vous pouvez sélectionner les liens afin de lire leurs biographies et leurs énoncés de recherche. Veuillez cliquez ici afin d’apprendre davantage sur les projets menés par le Volet 4.

Chefs d'équipe

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Avgail Eisenberg (co-enquêtrice)

University of Victoria
Associate Professor, Department of Political Science
Co-director of the Consortium on Democratic Constitutionalism

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Pamela Klassen (co-enquêtrice)

University of Toronto
Professor, Department for the Study of Religion
Director of the Religion in the Public Sphere Initiative

Avigail Eisenberg is a Professor in the Department of Political Science and a Faculty Associate in the Indigenous Governance program at the University of Victoria. Before moving to Victoria, Eisenberg was an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of British Columbia, where she spent the first ten years of her academic career. She has held visiting research fellowships at the University of Edinburgh (1996-7), and Université de Montréal (2004-5). She has been a resident fellow at the Rockefeller Centre in Bellagio Italy.

Eisenberg received her B.A. in Political Science from the University of Alberta and her M.A. and PhD in Political Studies from Queen’s University in Kingston Ontario. Her MA work focused on how groups are recognized in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Her PhD traced the development of 20th -Century theories of political pluralism and their relevance to contemporary debates about diversity. Her research today continues to focus on issues at the intersection of political theory and Canadian politics.

She has published two sole-authored books entitled Reasons of Identity (Oxford University Press, 2009) and Reconstructing Political Pluralism (State University of New York Press, 1995), as well as many articles and chapters. She has put together numerous conferences and workshops which have resulted in four collections of research papers: Minorities within Minorities, edited with Jeff Spinner-Halev, (Cambridge 2005); Diversity and Equality (UBC Press 2006); Sexual Justice/Cultural Justice edited with Barbara Arneil, Monique Deveaux and Rita Dhamoon (Routledge, 2007); and, most recently, Institutions and Identities (UBC Press, forthcoming) edited with Will Kymlicka.

My research attempts to use real-world political and legal cases to shed light on abstract debates in political theory around issues of identity, multiculturalism, and minority rights and conversely to use political theory to shed light on some of the hidden assumptions which inform legal and political reasoning, mainly in Canada, about minority rights. This work has three general goals.

First, my work explores the complexities raised by attempting to legally institutionalize philosophical ideals. It identifies the counterproductive outcomes that arise when public institutions (courts, commissions, legislatures) implement principles defended in scholarly debates about minority rights and explains why these outcomes occur. What challenges arise, for instance, when courts use cultural identity as a means to understand what an Aboriginal right consists in and what can be done to meet these challenges? What sorts of religious practices are protected when courts interpret freedom of religion so as to protect a subjective understanding of religious belief or practice?

Second, my research challenges some of the standard suppositions used in scholarly and public debates about multiculturalism and minority rights. Its aim is to examine common suppositions defended in liberal and democratic theory or in Canadian political debate which shape how minority rights and identity are understood in light of what courts actually decide or what participants in public debates claim their interests to be. For example, I conduct research on the standard responses to sexual discriminatory practices within minority communities (e.g. polygamy, sexist membership rules, and religious arbitration) and to using markers of identity to interpret minority rights (and the rights of Indigenous peoples) again with the aim of showing how these standards shape legal cases and policy making sometimes in misleading ways.

Third, my research aims at developing a form of analysis that can provide guidance to decision makers. My aim is to establish an analysis informed by philosophical ideals while at the same time firmly rooted in legal and political problem-solving. Over the last three years, I have focused on developing a set of normative principles, which are both philosophically defensible and feasible to implement, and which can serve as a guide to legal and political practitioners who make decisions about minority rights, multicultural policies and Indigenous rights on matters related to the identity. At present, my research examines the challenges related to determining the authenticity of the beliefs and practices of religious and cultural minorities as these arise in the context of this kind of legal and political decision making and offers recommendations as to how these challenges can be met. The aim is to provide this guidance which can be implemented while avoiding the bald pragmatism sometimes associated with public policy making or the technical features of some legal argumentation.

Pamela Klassen (Ph.D. Drew University, M.A. Wilfrid Laurier University, B.A. McGill University)

Pamela Klassen is Professor in the Department for the Study of Religion, University of Toronto. She is the Director of the Religion in the Public Sphere Initiative which was recently awarded a grant from Citizenship and Immigration Canada for the “Religion Diversity Youth Leadership Project”, in collaboration with the Multi Faith Centre and the Centre for Community Partnerships at U of T. She delivered the John Albert Hall Lectures at the Centre for Studies in Religion and Society at the University of Victoria in January 2011, on the topic of “Testimonies of the Spirit: Christianity, Media, and the Politics of Confession. Her recent publications include:


2011. Spirits of Protestantism: Medicine, Healing, and Liberal Christianity. Berkeley: University of California Press. 2012 Winner of the American Academy of Religion Award of Excellence in the Study of Religion in the Analytical-Descriptive Studies category.

2010. After Pluralism: Reimagining Religious Engagement. Co-edited with Courtney Bender. New York: Columbia University Press.

2009. Women and Religion: Critical Concepts. 4 volume edited collection. With Shari Golberg and Danielle Lefebvre. Routledge.


Forthcoming. “Religion and Myths of Nationhood in Canada and Mexico in the Twenty-first Century.” Concluding Essay in The Cambridge History of Religions in America: Volume III: 1945 to the Present, ed. Stephen J. Stein, Cambridge University Press.

Forthcoming. “Material Witnesses: Women and the Mediation of Christianity” co-authored with Kathryn Lofton, in Mia Lövheim, ed., Media, Religion, and Gender. New York: Routledge.

Forthcoming. “Ritual, Tradition, and the Force of Design”, in Ritualdesign. Zur kultur- und ritualwissenschaftlichen Analyse »neuer« Rituale, 1-23. Eds. Janina Karolewski, Nadja Miczek, Christof Zotter. Bielefeld: transcript, 2012.

2012. “Saint as Cipher: Paul and the Politics of Ritual Repudiation”, co-authored with John Marshall, in History of Religions, 51(4, May), 344-363.

2008. “Practice” in Keywords in the Study of Media and Religion, ed. David Morgan, New York: Routledge, 136-147.

2008. “Ritual” The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Emotion, ed. John Corrigan, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 143-161.

2007. “Radio Mind: Christian Experimentalists on the Frontiers of Healing.” Journal of the American Academy of Religion, 75(3, September): 651-683.

2005. “Ritual Appropriation and Appropriate Ritual: Christian Healing and Adaptations of Asian Religions” History and Anthropology, 16(3): 377-391.

My approach to the study of religion draws upon anthropology, history, and theories of modernity to ask how people and communities become “religious” subjects in purportedly secular times and places. My latest book, Spirits of Protestantism, focuses on how, via tropes and practices of healing, liberal Protestants in Canada went from attempting to cure the sick in a world wracked by wars and the consequences of colonialism, to eventually see the deep ironies of how their own projects of healing were complicit with a Christian and colonial triumphalism. Another recent project, After Pluralism, is co-edited with Courtney Bender, and brings together a range of scholars concerned with the question of how the ideal of “religious pluralism” has shaped the recognition of what counts as religious in scholarly, state, and popular contexts. One of my earlier books is also concerned with questions of religious diversity in unconventional settings: Blessed Events: Religion and Home Birth in America considered the ways that women from a diversity of religious affiliations—including conservative evangelicals and Catholics, Orthodox Jews, Old Order Amish, Christian Scientists, mainstream Protestants, and goddess feminists—were united in their conviction that childbirth was not a biomedical, but a “spiritual” event.

I have held Fellowships from the Fulbright Foundation and the Humboldt Foundation, the latter of which took me to the University of Tübingen for one year. At the University of Toronto, I helped to develop the Religion in the Public Sphere Initiative as a hub for faculty, students, and community partners interested in questions of religious diversity in public contexts. My graduate students have developed ethnographic research projects that include such topics as: religion within contemporary policies and practices of organ donation (Arlene Macdonald), religious identity among feminist, political activists (Laurel Zwissler), contemporary interpretation of religious texts by Muslim and Jewish women (Shari Golberg), the phenomenon of “progressive Christianity” (Rebekka King), religious responses to homelessness in urban Canada (Amy Fisher), Coptic Christianity in Egyption and Canadian contexts (Rachel Loewen), religious diversity and food activism (Aldea Mulhern), and Reiki in transnational contexts (Justin Stein).


Membres de l'équipe

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Rukhsana Ahmed (co-enquêtrice)

Université d’Ottawa
Professeure adjointe, Département de communication

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Gary D. Bouma (collaborateur)

Monash University
Emeritus Professor, Department of Sociology
UNESCO Chair in Interreligious and Intercultural Relations : Asia Pacific

Rukhsana Ahmed is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Ottawa. She received her BA (Hons.) and MSS degrees in International Relations from the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. As a Fulbright Scholar and Delta Kappa Gamma Society International World Fellow, she completed her MA degree in International Development Studies from Ohio University, USA. She earned her MA degree in Communication Studies and PhD degree in Health Communication from Ohio University, USA.

Rukhsana Ahmed is a faculty affiliate of the Institute of Feminist and Gender Studies and the E-Business Program at the University of Ottawa. She is the Principal Investigator (PI) of the Ottawa Multicultural Media Initiative (OMMI). She is co-director of the Diversity and Equity Research Group (DERG) at the University of Ottawa. She is a research affiliate of the Bertram Loeb Research Consortium on Organ and Tissue Donation.

Rukhsana Ahmed’s research lies at the intersections of health, interpersonal and intercultural communication, media, and other realms of communication including religion, gender, and development. Her research has been funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC); Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR); The Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences (CFHSS) and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) Collaborative Program; and the Ohio Division of the American Cancer Society (ACS) Partnership. She has published in mainstream communication journals, nursing journals, health studies outlets, and in journals at the intersection of health, communication, and culture. She co-authored the book, Health Literacy in Canada: A Primer for Students (Canadian Scholars’ Press Inc, 2014). She co-edited the books, New Media Considerations and Communication Across Religions and Cultures (IGI Global, 2014); Health Communication and Mass Media: An Integrated Approach to Policy and Practice (Gower, 2013); and Medical Communication in Clinical Contexts (Kendall Hunt, 2012). She serves on editorial boards of and reviews papers for journals in the areas of communication, health, nursing, and media.

Rukhsana Ahmed received the Top 5 Paper in Health Communication award at the 2006 Eastern Communication Association Annual Convention, USA, for her co-authored paper The Effect of Source Credibility on Consumers’ Perceptions of the Quality of Health Information on the Internet. She received the Distinguished Edited Book Award (2013) by the Applied Communication Division of the National Communication Association, USA, for her co-edited book, Medical Communication in Clinical Contexts.

Within the broader field of communication studies, my primary research area focuses on exploring the role of communication processes in improving health outcomes among marginalized communities and promoting broader social changes in local and international health contexts. I am particularly interested in the ways in which systems of beliefs, values, actions, and symbols are shared, or not, by people and how social groups influence communication in health care interactions. I am also interested in the ways in which people’s cultural selves become entwined with race, ethnicity, gender, and social class groups and shape their perceptions of health, illness, and health care.

My research embraces the cross/trans/inter-disciplinary nature of communication scholarship. In this scholarship, I use qualitative, quantitative, rhetorical, and critical procedures relevant to the question I ask and the audience I address. Within this diversity, however, lies a common interest in exploring how symbolic action is used to help the public make sense of complex policy decisions, particularly in the arena of health communication.

Although my research program is deeply rooted in health communication, my interdisciplinary background has afforded me to develop interests and establish fruitful collaborative research partnerships and multisectoral projects in diverse areas, including religious diversity, immigrant integration, multicultural media, and organ and tissue donation, among others. Some of my current projects include the following:

In the context of the Religion and Diversity Project, my research has focused on the intersections of health and religious and cultural diversity. For example, I have examined health beliefs among Muslim women in Canada for exploring culturally and religiously appropriate health care practices. This project has offered me the opportunity to develop knowledge of a rapid growing minority population in Canada, particularly Muslim immigrant women in Ottawa, and establish networks with faith based community leaders.

Recently, I embarked on a project at the intersections of culture, religion, and organ donation. I have finished conducting in-depth qualitative interviews with Muslim immigrants in Ottawa to explore their knowledge and attitude toward issues of organ and tissue donation and transplantation. The next phase of the project, funded by the Religion and Diversity Project’s 2015-2016 Innovation Grant competition, involves exploration of what and how Christians living in Canada know and feel about organ and tissue donation and transplantation.

My PhD dissertation research focused on issues of cultural competence in health care. I have been interested in individual actor’s creation, negotiation, accommodation, and adaptation of communicative practices in the health care arena. Patient satisfaction is an important performance indicator that influences treatment outcomes and overall organizational effectiveness. Using my PhD dissertation data set, as part of a collaborative effort, I have developed and published scales to measure patients’ perception of physicians’ cultural competence in health care interactions which have received scholarly attention from home and abroad. I have been continuing and expanding this line of research and engaged in testing, adapting/translating, and validating the scales to use them in cross-cultural health care settings.

Since 2011, I have been leading/directing the Ottawa Multicultural Media Initiative (OMMI) project, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Partnership Development Grant (PDG). The project brings together communication scholars, political scientists, and geographers with strong interest in issues related to multicultural media, immigrant inclusion and integration, diversity, and community-building. The OMMI is set forth to develop a multidisciplinary and multi-sectoral partnership that links the University of Ottawa and the City of Ottawa to a network of multicultural media producers, leading multicultural media scholars and practitioners, representatives of the city’s Chinese, Somali, South Asian and Latin American communities, and other local stakeholders. The OMMI research team is studying the opportunities and challenges associated with Ottawa’s growing multicultural digital and print media for newcomer wellbeing, inclusion, and integration.

Gary D Bouma is Emeritus Professor of Sociology and UNESCO Chair in Intercultural and Interreligious Relations – Asia Pacific and Director of the Global Terrorism Research Centre at Monash University, and an Associate Priest in the Anglican Parish of St John’s East Malvern. From 2006-2010 he was Chair, Board of Directors for The Parliament of the World’s Religions 2009. His research in the sociology of religion examines the management of religious diversity in plural multicultural societies, postmodernity as a context for doing theology, religion and terror, religion and public policy. He is the author of over 20 books. Recent books include: Australian Soul: Religion and Spirituality in the Twenty-First Century (Cambridge University Press); Democracy in Islam (Routledge); Religious Diversity in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands: National Case Studies (Springer); and Freedom of Religion and Belief in 21st Century Australia (Australian Human Rights Commission). Recent books include Being Faitfhful in Diversity: Religions and Social Policy in Multifaith Societies (Australasian Theological Forum) and Reimagining Church: Positive Ministry Responses to the Age of Experience (Christian Research Association).

He was invested as a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for services to Sociology, to interreligious relations and to the Anglican Church of Australia in 2013. The Multi-Faith Advisory Council to Victoria Police and The High Level Multicultural Portfolio, Victoria Police. REENA (Religious Education and Ethics Network of Australia (promoting education about religions in schools). Clergy for Marriage Equality. Mentor to the National Church Life Survey, Australian Catholic University. Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority, part of small panel revising the Years 11 and 12 VCE Religion and Society Course

Current consultancies include: State of Victoria – Interim Advisory Board to the Social Cohesion and Multicultural Research Institute; Multifaith Advisory Group to the Premier in Cabinet

Gary D Bouma has focused on the study of religious diversity and interreligious relations for all of his career. He became aware of religious diversity in his family where his mother’s side never went to church and his father’s side was never found outside the church. Early engagement with Jewish friends and active involvement in the civil rights movement brought people of different beliefs together to work to achieve social justice. In 1961 he established the Interreligious Council at Western Michigan University, beginning a life long commitment to promoting healthy interreligious relations. He has served as a religious professional in eight different Christian denominations.

An early study of social stratification and denominations in Princeton and an article on the consequences of internal diversity among Presbyterians in Pictou Country, Nova Scotia commenced Bouma’s scholarly work in this area.

The rich treasures of the Australian five yearly census which includes a question on religious identity have been regularly mined to describe and analyze the growth of religious diversity in Australia. Comparing the religious demography of different societies provides a foundation for examining differences in the ways religious diversity is understood and becomes a factor in social policy. The involvement of religions in social policy and the role of education about religions in social cohesion has become the current focus of his work.

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Kim Knott (collaboratrice)

Lancaster University
Professor, Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion
Programme Director, AHRC ‘Diasporas, Migration and Identities’

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Prema Kurien (collaboratrice)

Syracuse University
Professor, Department of Sociology
Founding Director, Asian/Asian American Studies program

Kim Knott is Professor of Religious and Secular Studies at Lancaster University. From 2005-11 she was Director of the ‘Diasporas, Migration and Identities’ Programme (www.diasporas.ac.uk) funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council. In the final year, she held an AHRC Impact Fellowship in which she worked on a popular book and website, Moving People, Changing Places, and on activities to maximize the public benefit of the Programme and change how people think about migration and cultural difference.

She worked at the University of Leeds from 1982 to 2012, and her first job was as postdoctoral researcher on a project on media portrayals of religion and their reception. She recently completed a similar, comparative project as part of the UK’s AHRC/ESRC ‘Religion and Society’ Programme, and is currently co-authoring a book, Media Portrayals of Religion and the Secular: Representation and Change (with Elizabeth Poole and Teemu Taira, Ashgate forthcoming 2013). With Lori Beaman, she was awarded an ESRC International Partnerships and Networking grant, on ‘Religion, Discourse and Diversity’, to bring Canadian, British and other international scholars together to examine and compare media coverage of religion in their respective countries and to engage with media professionals.

She will begin a Global Uncertainties Leadership Fellowship in February 2013, organizing events and reviewing research for academics and non-academics interested in ‘The role of ideology, belief and commitment in motivations, justifications and catalysts for action in the face of uncertainty’. With a co-researcher, Dr Matthew Francis, she will undertake new research on ideological commitment, boundary making and sacralization in the expression of radical views and threats of violence.

Principal investigator on many projects, her research has been funded by government, public and voluntary bodies, as well as the Arts and Humanities and Economic and Social Research Councils, and several charitable trusts.

In earlier years she was Head of the Department of Theology and Religious Studies, and Head of Humanities at the University of Leeds. She was President of the British Association for the Study of Religions, and completed two terms as General Secretary of the European Association for the Study of Religions. She is a Fellow of the RSA.

Diasporas, migration and identities: As director of this research programme across the Arts and Humanities in the UK, I was responsible for creating a coherent programme, overseeing the commissioning process, the monitoring of the Programme’s forty-nine projects and networks, and the running of academic and stakeholder events in relation to these themes. The role also involved collaboration with the cultural sector, media, government, and community bodies, and working with other European centres and funding agencies. Diasporas, Migration and Identities: Final Director’s Report is available on www.diasporas.ac.uk. In 2010, I co-edited a programme book (with Seán McLoughlin), Diasporas: Concepts, Intersections, Identities (Zed), and in 2011 produced the website www.movingpeoplechangingplaces.org and a related book to bring the findings of the programme to new non-academic audiences. I have worked in this field since my doctoral studies (on Hindu migrants in Britain and their religious practices and organisations), and have written on religion, ethnicity, migration and identity. Until the end of 2011 I directed the Community Religions Project at the University of Leeds and supervised student research projects on the ‘Religious Mapping of Leeds’ and on local religious communities and identities. She wrote Hinduism: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford, 1998/2000) – which won the SHAP Book Prize for religion and education.

Space, religion and the secular: Since 2005 I have worked on issues of religion, place and space and situated my research in the geography (as well as sociology) of religions. The first stage of the research focused on developing a spatial methodology for the study of religions and resulted in a book, The Location of Religion: A Spatial Analysis (Equinox, 2005). The second stage involved applying this methodology to the location of religion in secular locations, including the left hand, public sector organisations, urban landscapes, everyday ritual and academic disciplines, and to the relationship between the religious, secular and postsecular. I directed an exploratory research project on ‘Locating religion in the fabric of the secular’ in which we used the spatial methodology to examine religious and secular beliefs and values in an English medical centre and a high school.

Religion and media: (see biography)

Prema A. Kurien is Professor of Sociology, and founding Director of the Asian/Asian American Studies program at Syracuse University. In 2014-2015, she was the Dr. Thomas Tam Visiting Professor at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York City. She received her Ph.D. in Sociology from Brown University and taught at the University of Southern California before moving to Syracuse University.

Professor Kurien received the inaugural Contribution to the Field Award from the Asia and Asian America section of the American Sociological Association in 2014 as well as four other national awards for her articles and books. She has been involved in committees in the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, Association for the Sociology of Religion, the Religion and she is the Chair-Elect of the Asian and Asian American sections of the American Sociological Association. She has been on the editorial board of the American Sociological Review and is currently on the editorial board of the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion and Qualitative Sociology. She has also been a panelist for the Woodrow Wilson International Center Fellowship competition and the National Science Foundation Sociology Panel. She has received post-doctoral fellowships and grants from the National Science Foundation, the Woodrow Wilson International Center, the Carnegie Corporation, the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Center for the Study of Religion at Princeton University, the American Institute of Indian Studies, the Louisville Institute, and the New Ethnic and Immigrant Congregations Project.

Some of her publications related to the topic of religion and diversity are:


Forthcoming. Ethnic Church Meets Mega Church: Indian American Christianity in Motion. June 2017 New York University Press.

2007. A Place at the Table: Multiculturalism and the Development of an American Hinduism. Rutgers University Press.

2009. Honorable Mention from the Sociology of Religion section, American Sociological Association.

2002. Kaleidoscopic Ethnicity: International Migration and the Reconstruction of Community Identities in India. Rutgers University Press.

2003. Book award from the Asia and Asian American section of the American Sociological Association.

Peer Reviewed Journal Articles and Book Chapters:

Forthcoming. “Majority versus Minority Religious Status and Diasporic Nationalism: Indian American Advocacy Organizations.” Nations and Nationalism.

2016. “Race, Religion, and the Political Incorporation of Indian Americans.” Journal of Religious and Political Practice. Vol 2 (3). October

2016. “Contemporary Ethno-Religious Groups and Political Activism in the United States.” Pp. 428-441 in Barbara McGraw (ed.), Politics and Religion in America. Wiley-Blackwell (Companion Series).

2015. “Hinduism in North America.” Pp. 143-157 in Brian Hatcher (ed.), Hinduism in the Modern World. Routledge.

2014. “Immigration, Community Formation, Political Incorporation, and Why Religion Matters: Migration and Settlement Patterns of the Indian Diaspora.” Invited article, Sociology of Religion Vol 75(4): 524-536.

2014. “The Impact of International Migration on Home Churches: The Mar Thoma Syrian Christian Church in India.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Vol 53(1):109-129.

2013. “Religion, Social Incorporation, and Civic Engagement: Second-Generation Indian American Christians. Review of Religious Research, Vol 55(1):81-104.

2013. “Religious Life in the Malayali Diaspora: Hindus and Christians in the United States.”Pp. 149-160 in Sam George and T.V. Thomas (eds.), Malayali Diaspora: From Kerala to the Ends of the Earth. Serials Publications, New Delhi.

2013. “Decoupling Religion and Ethnicity: Second-Generation Indian American Christians.” Qualitative Sociology, Vol 35(4): 447-468.

2013. Research Paper Award from Asia and Asian American section, American Sociological Association.

2013. “Religious Life in the Malayali Diaspora: Hindus and Christians in the United States.” In Sam George and T.V. Thomas (eds.), Malayali Diaspora: From Kerala to the Ends of the Earth.

2012. “What is American about American Hinduism? Hindu Umbrella Organizations in the U.S. in Comparative Perspective.” Pp. 90-111 in John Zavos, Pralay Kanungo, Deepa Reddy, Maya Warrier, and Raymond Brady Williams (eds.) Public Hinduisms. Sage Publications.

2009. “White Protestant Normativity and Asian American Religions.” Invited Contribution, Forum on Religion and Whiteness in American Society, Religion and American Culture, Vol 19 (1):19-27.

2009. “A Socio-cultural Perspective on Migration and Development: Middle Eastern Migration from Kerala, India.” Pp. 189-218 in Josh DeWind and Jennifer Holdaway (eds.) Migration and Development Within and Across Borders: Research and Policy Perspectives on Internal and International Migration. International Organization for Migration (IOM), and Social Science Research Council.

2007. “Who Speaks for Indian Americans? Religion, Ethnicity, and Political Formation.” American Quarterly, Vol 59 (3): 759-783. 2007 “Redefining Americanness by Reformulating Hinduism: Indian AmericansChallenge American Academia.” Pp. 307-334 in James T. Campbell, Mathew Guterl, and Robert Lee (eds). Race, Nation, and Empire in American History. University of North Carolina Press.

2006. “Multiculturalism and ‘American’ Religion: The Case of Hindu Indian Americans. Social Forces, Vol 85 (2): 723-742.

2006. “Mr. President, Why do you Exclude us from your Prayers?: Hindus Challenge American Pluralism.” Pp. 119-138 in Stephen Prothero (ed)., A Nation of Religions: The Politics of Pluralism in Multireligious America. University of North Carolina Press.

2006. “Caste Mobility, and the Gilding of Rituals: The Impact of Gulf Migration on Ezhavas in South Kerala.” Pp. 21-44 in Harnam Singh Verma and Nadeem Hasnain (eds)., Stagnation, Retrograde Change, or Positive Progress? Vignettes from the Journey of the Other Backward Class Communities in the Process of Change in India. Serials Publications, New Delhi.

2005. “Being Young, Brown, and Hindu: The Identity Struggles of Second Generation Indian Americans.” Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, Vol 34 (4): 434-469.

2005. “Opposing Constructions and Agendas: The Politics of Hindu and Muslim Indian American Organizations.” Pp. 148-172 in Rey Koslowski, (ed)., International Migration and Globalization of Domestic Politics. Routledge Press.

2005. Distinguished Article Award, Sociology of Religion section, American Sociological Association.

2005. Distinguished Article Award, Society for the Scientific Study of Religion.

2004. “Christian by Birth or Rebirth? Generation and Difference in an Indian American Christian Church.” Pp 160-181 in Tony Carnes and Fenggang Yang (eds)., Asian American Religions: Borders and Boundaries. New York University Press.

2004. “Multiculturalism and Ethnic Nationalism: The Development of an American Hinduism.” Social Problems, Vol 51 (3): 362-385.

2003. “To Be or Not To Be South Asian: Contemporary Indian American Politics.”Journal of Asian American Studies, Vol 6 (3): 261-288.

2003. “Reinventions of Hinduism.” Pp. 116-120 in Gary Laderman and Luis Leon (eds). Encyclopedia of Religion and American Cultures, Volume 1. ABC-CLIO.

2002. “‘We are Better Hindus Here’ – Religion and Ethnicity Among Indian Americans.” Pp. 99-120 in Jung Ha Kim and Pyong Gap Min (eds)., Building Faith Communities: Asian Immigrants and Religions. Altamira Press.

2001. “Constructing ‘Indianness’ in Southern California: The Role of Hindu and Muslim Indian Immigrants.” Pp.289-312 in Marta Lopez-Garza and David R. Diaz (eds). Asian and Latino Immigrants in a Restructuring Economy: The Metamorphosis of Southern California. Stanford University Press.

2001. “Religion, Ethnicity and Politics: Hindu and Muslim Indian Immigrants in the United States.” Ethnic and Racial Studies, Vol 24 (2):263-293.

2001. “Hinduism and Sikhism”, Pp. 881-885 in James Ciment (ed). Encyclopedia of American Immigration. 2001, M.E. Sharpe.

1999. “Gendered Ethnicity: Creating a Hindu Indian Identity in the U.S.” American Behavioral Scientist, Vol 42 (4):648-670.

1998. “Becoming American By Becoming Hindu: Indian Americans Take their Place at the Multi-cultural Table.” Pp. 37-70 in R. Stephen Warner and Judith G. Wittner (eds). Gatherings in Diaspora: Religious Communities and the New Immigration. Temple University Press.

1997. “Constructing ‘Indianness’ in the United States and India: The Role of Hindu and Muslim Indian Immigrants.” Southern California Studies Center Research Report.

1994. “Colonialism and Ethnogenesis: A Study of Kerala, India.” Theory and Society, Vol 23 (3): 385-417.

1994. “Non-economic Bases of Economic Behavior: Consumption, Investment and Exchange Patterns among Three Emigrant Communities in Kerala, India.” Development and Change, Vol 25 (4):757-783.

My recent research focuses on race and ethnic group relations, as well as the role of religion in shaping group formation and mobilization among contemporary ethnic groups. I bring the areas of race, religion, and social movements together by examining how religious institutions and organizations often provide the setting within which new ethnics confront the racialization they experience within the wider society and engage with their homelands. I also focus on the ways in religion becomes the axis around which such groups mobilize to challenge racial discrimination and to make claims regarding their “cultural citizenship.”

My third book, Ethnic Church meets Mega Church: Indian American Christianity in Motion (NYU press) is forthcoming in June 2017. It examines how a new paradigm of ethnicity and religion is shaping contemporary immigrant religious institutions and the intergenerational transmission of religion. Classic assimilation theory was based on the assumption of individualistic adaptation, with immigrants and their children expected to shed their ethnic identities to become Americans. In the sphere of religion, however, they could maintain their communitarian traditions through American denominations. In contemporary society, multiculturalism, spiritual seeking, and postdenominationalism have reversed this paradigm. First- and second-generation immigrants integrate by remaining ethnic and group-identified, but religion is viewed as a personal quest.

Drawing on multi-sited field research in the United States and India, including interviews and participant observation in the Mar Thoma Syrian Christian denomination belonging to an ancient South Indian community, it looks at the shifts in the understandings of its members regarding their ethnic and Christian identity as a result of their U.S. migration and the coming of age of the American-born generation. The widespread prevalence of mega churches and the dominance of American evangelicalism created an environment in which the traditional practices of the Mar Thoma church seemed alien to its American-born generation. Second-generation Mar Thoma Americans were caught between their criticisms of the “ethnic” character of the Mar Thoma church and its traditions, and their appreciation for the social support its warm community and familial relationships provided them as they were growing up.

While showcasing these dynamics among the first and second generations in the United States, this book is also a case study of global religion. It examines how transnational processes shape religion in both the place of destination and the place of origin. Taking a long view, it examines how the forces of globalization, from the period of colonialism to contemporary large-scale outmigration, have brought about tremendous changes in Christian communities in the global South.

Book Manuscript in Progress

I am currently working on a book manuscript, “Race, Religion, and Citizenship: Indian American Political Advocacy.” It examines how first- and second-generation immigrants mobilize advocacy organizations around ethnic (Indian-American), pan-ethnic (South Asian American), religious (Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Christian), and party-oriented identities (Democrat and Republican). My research shows how these diverse forms of mobilization can develop within one immigrant group, and how they interact with each other while advocating for their respective goals. It also reveals how race and religion interact in complex ways to shape the political integration of immigrants.

Research in Progress

My work on the political incorporation of Indian Americans showed me that the way their ethnic advocacy organizations define grievances and develop strategies are profoundly shaped by the US context. This led me to research that examines how differences in political structures, policies regarding immigrant integration and religion, as well as migration patterns, shape immigrant political activism. I am currently working on a research project funded by the National Science Foundation, “The Incorporation of Religious Minorities in Canada and the United States” examining how the social, political, and religious contexts of Canada and the United States shape the political incorporation and mobilization of religious minorities from South Asia. This research also examines how different opportunity structures (both national and regional), and differences in the characteristics of the groups shape how they frame their grievances and mobilize, and whether the mobilization takes an “ethnic,” “racial,” or “religious” form.

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André Laliberté (collaborateur)

Université d’Ottawa
Professeur titulaire, École d’études politiques

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Bruce Ryder (co-enquêteur)

York University
Associate Professor and Assistant Dean First Year,
Osgoode Hall Law School

André Laliberté is full professor at the School of Political Studies, University of Ottawa, where he teaches on comparative politics and the politics of China and Taiwan. He is an affiliated research fellow at the Center on Religion and Chinese Society at Purdue University, and since the Fall of 2013, he is associate at the Groupe Sociétés, Religions, et Laïcité, in Paris. He has received his doctoral degree from the University of British Columbia in 1999. He also taught at the Université du Québec à Montréal, and was lecturer at the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University. He is doing research in Taiwan, the People’s Republic of China, and Hong Kong.

Since 2012 he is co-investigator in a partnership funded by SSHRC, on ‘Gender, Migration, and the Work of Care in the Asia-Pacific’, in which he looks at how religious traditions and cultural shape and frame the policies of care. From 2007 to 2012, he was a member of another Major Concerted Research Initiative funded by SSHRC on ‘Ethnicity and Democratic Governance,’ where he looked at issues of religious and ethnic diversity in China and Taiwan. He served for years on the executive board of the Canadian Asian Studies Associations and is now vice-editor for the Journal of Religion and Chinese Society. He has presented his research results in conferences in North America, Europe, East Asia, and Australia, including international symposia in the People’s Republic on the study of religion in contemporary China. In the winter of 2011, Laliberté was at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington DC to work with other scholars funded by the Henry Luce Foundation on a project researching the role of religions in international affairs. Between January and June 2014, he was the UBC Asian Institute’s Tung Lin Kok Yuen Canada Foundation visiting scholar on the Buddhism and contemporary society program.

He co-edited with Bruce Berman and Rajeev Bhargava The secular state and religious diversity (UBC Press, 2014). Recently, he has written “Managing religious diversity in China: contradictions of imperial and foreign legacies”, in Religious Studies/Sciences des religions (Fall 2016); “Religious philanthropy in China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong: the Impact of state institutional trajectories”, Asian Journal of Social Sciences (Spring 2016); « The Politicization of Religion by the CCP: a Selective Retrieval », in Asiatische studien/Etudes asiatiques (January 2015); « Legal pluralism and the universality of freedom of conscience: a comparative historical sociology of the secular state in the Euro-American and Sinitic Worlds », Taiwan Human Rights Journal (December 2014); « The Five Worlds of Religious Establishment in Taiwan », in Varieties of Religious Establishment (Ashgate, 2013); « Lessons from the Management of Religious Diversity in Chinese Societies: A Diversity of Approaches to State Control », Multiculturalism and Religious Identity (Montréal and Kingston, McGill-Queen’s University Press 2013); “Buddhist Charities and China’ Social Policy: An Opportunity for Alternate Civility? », Archives de sciences sociales des religions (2012); “‘Beliefs’ and ‘religion’: categorizing cultural distinctions among East Asians”, in How Public Institutions Assess Identity (UBC Press 2011).

Most of my research in the last few years has focused on looking at religion from the perspective of comparative politics. I am interested in the state’s response to religious pluralism in Asian societies, where states have sought to simultaneously delineate the limits of ‘acceptable religions’ and promote a self-image of tolerance and acceptance of diversity. I believe that the varieties of policies adopted by East Asian polities deserve careful study as they may emerge as sources of norms for the management of religion in many societies in other regions of the world.

Religions and Welfare Regimes in East Asia: a contribution to the role of religion in the moral economy of late capitalist societies in Asia, this projects results from my fieldwork in Taiwan and China on Buddhist charities. This particular project is part of a research funded by SSHRC for a partnership looking at gender, migration, and the work of care in the AsiaPacific, for which I act as co-investigator. How governments in the Western side of the Asia Pacific make use of the religious and spiritual capital existing to shape and frame social policies and, more broadly, build welfare regimes? How this intersection of policies and existing beliefs frame the work of care? What are the modalities of this framing in societies where there are many different forms of religiosities, from communal religions to new religious movements? Students examining the role of religious associations in the provision of disaster relief, and the importance of Confucianism in post-Mao China are contributing to that research agenda.

Issues of religious diversity in East Asian democracies: within the project “the secular state with Chinese characteristics in a comparative perspective,” which has received funding from SSHRC, I look at the regulation of religion in societies influenced by Chinese religiosities such as Japan and Taiwan, and in societies dealing with the institutional legacy of Marxist-Leninist structures of governance in Central Asia. Debates about the secular state in Japan, the views of Chinese Christians and Muslims on democratic politics, the representation of religions in school textbooks in Taiwan, and finally the path dependency of Soviet-era religious policies on current policies are among the themes explored by students working under my supervision on this theme. Together, they examine through the lenses of comparative historical sociology the relevance of political regime and culture in the longue durée in shaping the conditions allowing for the political participation of religious actors in consolidated or transitional democracies. They also shed light on the conditions favoring the institutionalization of a variety of secular states.

The religious in authoritarian regimes: this other dimension of the project the “secular state with Chinese characteristics in a comparative perspective” looks at the interactions between the state and actors in the religious field in an authoritarian regime. How much the state and religious institutions work in tandem to delineate their respective boundaries to establish their respective authority over citizens and followers, and how each legitimizes what should be ‘acceptable’ forms of religiosity, through policies of recognition and regulatory practices? In other words, what are the modalities and paradoxes of religious diversity within a highly regulated environment? Within this project, I work with Ji Zhe on a manuscript for a book mapping the state management of Buddhism and the development of categories such as ‘philanthropy,’ ‘tourism,’ and ‘cultural heritage’ in which unrecognized forms of religiosity develop on the margins of the norms promoted by the state.

The religious dimension of legal pluralism in the Chinese cultural realm: this project in course of development uses a comparative historical sociology in the perspective of multiple modernities to develop an archeology of the secular state in a Chinese cultural context. Its goal is to establish the diversity of legal frameworks possible on the basis of the wide diversity of resources from different spiritual and religious traditions, as well as communities of practice and rituals. It will pay special attention to the role of the epistemic communities of scholars, people in the media, and lay associations and the ways in which they try to shape the views of governments on religion. The focus of this research is comparative within the context of societies shaped by the Chinese cultural heritage, primarily China and Taiwan.

Geopolitics of Buddhism. This project, still in its exploratory stage, would map the contemporary networks of Buddhist international organizations and transnational movements from a political perspective, addressing in particular the issue of engaged Buddhism, an intellectual construct more than a coherent group of individuals and associations. Its purpose is to identify the variety of trends and perspectives, ranging from “dhammic socialism” to religious nationalism. It will look into the competing international Buddhist networks based in Beijing, Bangkok, and Delhi, and one key issue is the implications for religious diversity and peaceful coexistence of a growing militancy on the part of some Buddhist associations and leaders.

Professor Ryder, who joined Osgoode Hall Law School’s faculty in 1987, is Assistant Dean, First Year. His research and publications focus on a range of contemporary constitutional issues, including those related to federalism, equality rights, freedom of expression, Aboriginal rights, and Quebec secession. He has also published articles that explore the historical evolution of constitutional principles and is currently researching the history of book censorship in Canada.

Areas of interest: Public Law

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Barbara Thériault (co-enquêtrice)

Université de Montréal
Professeur agrégé, Département de sociologie

Barbara Thériault is full professor at the Department of Sociology and member of the Canadian Centre for German and European Studies at University of Montreal as well as editor of the “feuilleton section” of Sociologie et sociétés. She holds a Ph.D. from the Max Weber Centre for Cultural and Social Studies at the University of Erfurt and the Free University of Brussels. She received her “habilitation” from the European University Viadrina.

The sociology of religion, seen from a Weberian perspective, is the thread connecting her research projects. Her previous work deals with the impact of radical change in 1989, most notably on religious organizations in East Germany. Her publications related to this topic include ‘Conservative Revolutionaries’: Protestant and Catholic Churches in Germany after Radical Political Change in the 1990s (Berghahn, New York, 2004). Still drawing on the sociology of Max Weber, she published a book entitled The Cop and the Sociologist: Investigating Diversity in German Police Forces (transcript, Bielefeld, 2013).

Within the MCRI she has worked on a project dealing with religion in a prison and a halfway house in the province of Quebec. The results of her ongoing research on material culture and religion has been published as “feuilletons,” small sociological texts, and as part of a regular radio chronicle in the summer of 2015 [please correct my English!).

‘Conservative Revolutionaries’: Protestant and Catholic Churches in Germany after Radical Political Change in the 1990s. During the forty years of division, the Protestant and Catholic churches in Germany were the only organisations to retain strong ties and common structures: they embodied continuity in a country marked by discontinuity. As such, the churches were both expected to undergo smooth and rapid institutional consolidation and undertake an active role in the public realm of the new eastern German states in the 1990s. Yet critical voices were heard over the West German system of church-state relations and the public role it confers on religious organisations, and critics often expressed the idea that despite all their difficulties, something precious was lost in the collapse of the German Democratic Republic. Against this backdrop, I delineate the conflicting conceptions of the Protestant and Catholic churches’ public role and paid special attention to the “East German model.”

The Cop and the Sociologist: Investigating Diversity within the German Police Forces. Drawing on the sociology of Max Weber, I investigate today’s relations toward difference within German police forces. Accompanying and interviewing police officers whose job it is to contribute to the acknowledgement of difference, the sociologist outlines three ideal types of actors – an empathetic, a principled, and an opportunist one – and the motives underlying their actions. A fourth type, the specialist, is conspicuously absent. Why is that so? Solving this enigma helps depicting the relations to difference within police forces: it points to a specific “spirit” of diversity and a singular way to apprehend the individual in Germany.

La religiosité et le corps des détenues (with Étienne Tardif, Monica Grigoire and Sophie Coulombe). This project started with the crafting of an instrument to assess religion in a qualitative manner. For this purpose, we devised a board game. Our original intention was to locate experiences of transcendence, the “wholly other,” within space (a city landscape). Drawing on Georg Simmel’s insights, we wanted to take into account the objective and subjective forms of religion; we hoped to tie these two dimensions together by mapping the realms of religion. Besides developing an instrument to assess religion in a qualitative manner and revisiting theories related to transcendence, an aspect moved to the center of our analyses: the inmates’ bodies. For this reason, they are at the centre of our analysis.