Morning 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
The Future of Religion
Indra's Net: Canadian Strands of Spirituality from Where We Stand in the World 2018
Elizabeth Guthrie and Sahver Kuzucuoglu
Elizabeth Guthrie, B.A. (Pacific and Asian Studies; Religious Studies, University of Victoria); M.A. (Religious Studies, Queen's University); Ph. D. student (University of Waterloo)
Elizabeth’s research interests are focused on the interplay and dynamics between sacred and secular space in Canada as explored through the lens of tourism. For her PhD dissertation, Elizabeth will be continuing and expanding the research she did on the Cham Shan Buddhist temples in Ontario.
Sahver Kuzuccouglu, B.Sc. (University of Waterloo); M.A. (Religion and Culture, Wilfrid Laurier University); M.A. (Cultural Analysis and Social Theory, Wilfrid Laurier University); Ph.D. Student (University of Waterloo) Sahver has worked for many years as Interpreter/Translator in the settlement of new Canadians in Southern Ontario fueled by her passion for volunteerism, community, decoloniality, pluraversality. and intercultural dialogue. Her current research areas include Turkish Cultural Studies, Sufism, Biopolitics and identity negotiation as a ‘minority within a minority.’
This lecture will centre around contextualizing ways of understanding the complex terms of culture and religion. It will explore the multidimensional fabric that weaves together our collective Canadian religion(s) and culture(s).
Suggested Bibliography for Week 1:
The Long Revolution by Raymond Williams (2001)
Culture, Media, Language: Working Papers in Cultural Studies edited by Stuart Hall, Doothy Hobson, Andrew Lowe, Paul Willis (1980)
Jan 23rd (location: Cutten Fields)
Diversity within the Canadian Strands of Indra's Net
Building on the discussion from the previous lecture, the inherent diversity found within lived religious experiences in Canada will be explored through the discussion of two particular case studies to reveal the jewels in our own backyard.
Suggested Bibliography for Week 2:
Contemporary Sufism: Piety, Politics, and Popular Culture by Meena Sharify-Funk (2017)
Islam in the Hinterlands: Muslim Cultural Politics in Canada by Jasmine Zine (2013)
Living Sufism in North America: Between Tradition and Transformation by William Rory Dickson (2015)
Many Petals of the Lotus: Five Asian Buddhist Communities in Toronto by Janet McLellan (1999)
Wild Geese: Buddhism in Canada edited by John S. Harding, Victor Sogen Hori, Alexander Soucy (2010)
Buddhism in Canada edited by Bruce Matthews
Flowers on the Rock: Global and Local Buddhisms in Canada edited by John S. Harding, Victor Sogen Hori, Alexander Soucy (2014)
The Growing Impact of Islam and Non-monotheistic Religions in Canada
Dr. Morlock completed her PhD in Religious Diversity in North America at the University of Waterloo, and holds a Master's in Theological Studies with a specialization in Interfaith Dialogue from Conrad Grebel University College.
Canadians generally consider themselves forerunners of acceptance who deem diversity a core value. Yet this identity coexists alongside fierce national debates over minority religious practices in public spaces. In this context religious minorities use dress to communicate their needs and goals to the larger society, in the process expanding the parameters of human rights for all Canadians. This challenges the false narrative that Canada is a religiously neutral nation without its own fervently held beliefs and practices, and of religious minorities as an inherently threatening force to these inviolable values. Dr. Morlock explores how everyday clothes objects of sacred performance and sites of fierce public contestation, in the process of identity creation, maintenance, and re-creation.
Religion and War and Peace (cancelled due to inclement weather)
B.A. (Religion; Arabic, Concordia University); M.A. (Religious Studies, Université de Montréal)
Jason is a candidate at Laurier University, in the Joint Laurier-Waterloo PhD in Religious Studies. His primary academic interest is Islam, with a focus on Sufism, in the lands West of Mecca—from North Africa to North America. His secondary academic interest is the decolonial world-systems analysis.
Religion, War and Peace: Mujahidin, Inquisitors, Conquistadors, Colonizers, Pirates and Poets in the Troubled Waters of Gibraltar
One lecture could not possibly do justice to a theme so broad in scope as religion, war and peace. Therefore, this discussion focuses on a specific geographical region: The Strait of Gibraltar. This narrow waterway connects the Atlantic to the Mediterranean and separates Africa from Europe by only 19 kilometres at its narrowest point. It has been a strategic location for centuries. In 218 BCE, Hannibal, a famous general of the North African Carthaginian Empire, crossed these waters on his way to the heartland of Imperial Rome, with a huge army which included at least 37 elephants. When the North African Muslim Ṭâriq ibn Ziyâd crossed the Strait in 711 CE, to assist various ethnic and religious communities in an uprising against the Visigoth Kingdom, he landed on the rock which would henceforth carry his name. Indeed, Gibraltar is an Anglicized form of the Arabic Jabal Ṭâriq (Mount Ṭâriq).
Muslims dynasties would rule over parts of the Iberian Peninsula for more than eight centuries. Together with Christians and Jews, they built a magnificent civilization known in Arabic as al-Andalus. The tenth-century Saxon scholar and nun Hroswitha called its capital Cordoba “the ornament of the world.” While many wars and conflicts broke out over the long history of al-Andalus, this civilization also produced some of the most inspiring examples of interreligious and intercultural cohabitation, cooperation and even intimacy in history. However, this would end in the early modern period, as Catholic Crusaders from the northern regions conquered the entire Peninsula and eliminated the Jewish and Muslim communities. Many refugees escaping this genocide crossed the Strait of Gibraltar and established themselves in Northwest Africa, from where some began a long campaign described as naval warfare or jihad by the Muslims and piracy by the Christians. In the same period, the Iberian Crusades and Inquisition initially targeting Jews and Muslims traveled across the Atlantic, provoking a holocaust among Indigenous Americans, and laying the foundations of the modern/colonial world-system.
Menocal, María Rosa. 2002. The Ornament of the World: How Muslims, Jews, and Christians Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain. Boston, New York and London: Little, Brown and Company.
Lebbady, Hasna. 2009. Feminist Traditions in Andalusi-Moroccan Oral Narratives. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Religion and Gender and Sexuality
Dr. Chris Klassen teaches in the Religion and Culture department at Wilfrid Laurier University. She is the author of numerous books and articles, including Storied Selves: Shaping Identity in Feminist Witchcraft (Lexington Books, 2008), Religion and Popular Culture: A Cultural Studies Approach (Oxford University Press, 2014), and the editor of Feminist Spirituality: The Next Generation (Lexington Books, 2009).
What happens when women experience patriarchy and sexism within their religious traditions? For many women, the answer is to give up on religion altogether. But for others, religion and spirituality is too important to them to give up to the patriarchs. This talk will explore two movements within the feminist response to patriarchal traditions: reformist and revolutionary. Reformists are adamant about making change from within. Revolutionaries create new, explicitly feminist, traditions. Both are shaping their religious worlds around women’s experiences of continued sexism.
Christianity in Canada.
Michael W. Higgins is the Distinguished Professor of Catholic Thought, Sacred Heart University, CT., a CBC radio documentarian, Globe and Mail guest columnist, CTV Vatican Affairs consultant, the author and co-author of 20 books, and past president of both St. Jerome’s University in the University of Waterloo and St. Thomas University, Fredericton, New Brunswick.
Plummeting church attendance, churches sold and transformed into condos or restaurants, and the declining influence of Christianity in the corridors of power, all suggest that the churches’ relevance is in radical decline. But it is not as simple as that. Statistics, as Mark Twain reminds us, are somewhere below “damned lies.”
Religion and Governance
Dr. Laura Morlock
Dr. Morlock will speak about Canada's laws around religion and secularism. She will use specific examples such as Trinity Western being denied a law school, kirpans in public schools, and sukkahs on balconies in Quebec. Dr. Morlock will also be prepared to speak about religious arbitration.
Dr. Morlock completed her PhD in religious Diversity in North America at the University of Waterloo
We are grateful to Dr. Laura Morlock for agreeing to speak to our group on short notice as the scheduled speaker is unable to appear.
Religion in Canada – What Direction is Forward?
Dr. Lee Beach is the Associate Professor of Christian Ministry and Garbutt F. Smith Chair of Ministry Formation at McMaster Divinity College, McMaster University in Hamilton, ON. He is the author of the book, The Church in Exile” Living in Hope after Christendom.
Religion in Canada is in a state of change, that is quite clear, however, where is it heading? This lecture will explore the future of religion in Canada by looking at the idea of religious belief in an increasingly secular culture in general, and the future of various religious groups in particular. In conclusion, some predictive comments will be offered for group discussion.