Special Events










CSRS Summer Public Lecture Series

June 4, June 11, and June 25




Portable Camera Obscura at the CSRS

March 30-April 3, 2015

Join Trudi Lynn Smith in the Portable Camera Obscura! The work Portable Camera Obscura uses proto-photographic practice to bring people together to consider the ways we constitute and experience photography. Click here to see the full poster.

Understanding Sex Work: Evidence, faith and popular perceptions

March 3, 2015


Christ Church Cathedral

Many people imagine the sex industry as a dangerous and seedy underworld, but where does this impression come from, and how accurate is it? Join a panel of scholars, clergy, and sex workers as they reflect on the industry. An open discussion on the roles scientific research and faith play in public opinion and policy regarding sex work in Canada will follow.



Witches of the West: Witch-hunts in our modernity

February 6-7, 2015

A two-day event co-organized by the Program of Medieval Studies, UVic Libraries, and the Centre for Studies in Religion and Society. Free and open to the public!




Burnt at the Stake, Medieval Studies' 28th Annual Workshop

Saturday January 31 2015


The CSRS is pleased to announce that registration is open for Medieval Studies’ 28th annual workshop, Burnt at the Stake. The day-long workshop takes place January 31, 2015 and investigates the notions of persecution and moral panic through the prism of medieval and Early Modern history.

About the workshop: To people living in medieval and early modern times in Europe, burning at the stake was more than an execution: presented as a Biblical punishment, the ritual was intended to construct and instruct the community. From heretics to witches, philosophers to scientists, the victims of the pyres changed with times and places, but the purpose was always the same: the flames would destroy not only their bodies, but also their names and memories.

The Burnt at the Stake workshop will examine some famous cases of burning at the stake—the Cathars, but also Abelard’s books, Joan of Arc, Savonarola and the witchcraft trials—and pay tribute to the legacy of those who were persecuted and silenced. It will also explore the meanings of punishing practices in Christian Europe as well as in other cultures and religions: a ritual of exclusion is often a rite for collective identity. Which flames are dancing in the mirror of our memories?

Learn more: Details about the workshop, including how to register, are located below:




Lansdowne Lecture: Benjamin Berger, Belonging to Law: Religious Difference, Secularism, and Civic Inclusion

Monday, December 1, 4:30pm

Fraser Building, Room 158


Faced with the challenges posed by religious diversity, political and legal debates in Canada (and around the world) seem consistently drawn to the assertion that to belong to the political community means, above all else, to belong to law. This talk will track and explore this shift of “obedience to the law” to the diagnostic centre of civic belonging by exploring two case studies drawn from the legal encounter with Islam in Canada: the debate over official recognition of Sharia law and controversies surrounding the niqab. The talk will show why this way of imaging the lines between law and be- longing has tremendous appeal, but also why it is deeply fraught from both a theoretical and political perspective, leading us into the kinds of ironies and paradoxes that seem to be the very character of modern liberal secularism.

Benjamin L. Berger is an Associate Professor at Osgoode Hall Law School at York University. Professor Berger is a graduate of UVic Law, served as law clerk to the Rt. Hon. Beverley McLachlin, Chief Justice of Canada, and earned his masters and doctorate in law from Yale University, where he studied as a Fulbright Scholar. He writes and teaches in the areas of law and religion, constitutional and criminal law and theory, and the law of evidence, and is the Editor-in-Chief of the Canadian Journal of Law and Society.



NORMS Workshop

November 27 - December 1, 2014

Norms of Minority Religious Participation is an international conference led by Avigail Eisenberg (UVic), Paul Bramadat (UVic), Pamela Klassen (University of Toronto) and Patti Lenard (University of Ottawa) about the place of religious minorities in four ‘fields of practice’ – healthcare, security, education and environmental assessments. The conference brings together scholars working in the areas of Political Science, Religious Studies, Sociology, and Law, with people with personal and professional experience in developing policy and implementing strategies for minority accommodation and participation. Participants will ask: How is religious/spiritual diversity managed in different institutional settings and associated fields of practice? Are strategies for managing diversity site-specific? Are there apparent best practices either within a field of practice or across fields? Do some fields have more proactive policies than others and
why? How do governing institutions (either legislatures or courts) help or hinder good policy development within fields of practice?



Secular Futures by Eminent Philospher Charles Taylor

Thursday November 27 2014

David Lam Auditorium, MacLaurin Building



EUCE Lecture: Monique Scheer, New Centers of Islamic Theology at Universities in the EU: The German Case

Thursday, November 27, 2014, 5:00- 6:00pm

David Turpin Building, Room 158




20-20 Vision: On the Cusp of the Next Twenty Years in Research

CSRS 20th Anniversary Celebration

Thursday, October 30, 2014, 4:30pm

University Club, Fireside Lounge



This afternoon is a chance to celebrate the accomplishments of the CSRS over the last 20 years. After identifying some of the most interesting milestones in our last twenty years, Paul Bramadat will address the big questions that might captivate the imaginations of scholars of religion and society in the next two decades. In fact, some of the concepts and techniques we have used to analyze religion will be of limited use to those interested in the emerging forms of religious life. What are these new forms about, and how might we better understand them?

Paul Bramadat is the Director of the Centre for Studies in Religion and Society at UVic. He has published widely on religion in contemporary Canadian society. Religious Radicalization in Canada and Beyond (U of T Press), which he co-edited with Lorne Dawson, was published this past July. At present, he is co-editing a special issue of Studies in Religion which is devoted to the way Canadian, Indian and Chinese states respond to or manage religious diversity. As well, Dr. Bramadat is co-editing The Religious and Cultural Roots of Vaccine Refusal in Canada which is expected in early 2015.


Charting Imperial Itineraries, 1914-2014: Unmooring the Komagata Maru
Academic Workshop

Thursday, May 15th, 2014 – Friday, May 16th, 2014

2014 marks the centennial anniversary of the arrival and subsequent forcible return of the Komagata Maru and the ship’s 376 Sikh, Muslim, and Hindu migrants. This workshop is guided by themes of ‘charting imperial itineraries’ and ‘unmooring the Komagata Maru’.

Framed by three overarching academic focuses – global imperial histories, local and global encounters of imperialism, and transnational legacies of the Komagata Maru across time – this workshop aims to explore a number of interdisciplinary and trans-disciplinary narratives that relate to the Komagata Maru’s history and experience.


REGISTER - Registration is currently OPEN. The deadline to register is: Wednesday, April 30th, 2014.

Workshop poster

Lecture poster

CSRS Summer Lecture Series -

Wednesday, June 11

Narrating the Meaning of Life: Ira Progoff's Intensive Personal Journal (IPJ) Method
Bill Israel, Dialogue House, Ohio; 2013/14 CSRS Community Sabbatical Fellow

The IPJ method is a distinctive journaling process for those in challenging life circumstances, refreshing a life path or seeking spiritual consonance. In this lecture, I provide an overview of Progoff's journal method, process theory, workshop structure and applied practice. Included will be some reflections on IPJ applications for life transition and personal spiritual replenishment.

Bill Israel is a recent Community Sabbaticant at CSRS. Formerly a United Methodist minister and group and family therapist, Bill has undertaken a comprehensive study of Progoff's complete literary oeuvre, including his Personal Journal workshop process.

Wednesday, June 18

From Tekke to Cemevi: The Conversion of Sufi Lodges into Alevi Meeting Places in Istanbul
Angela Andersen, The Ohio State University, PhD Candidate; CSRS Visiting Graduate Research Fellow

In the last twenty years, the Muslim minority community of Alevis in Turkey has adapted a number of defunct Sufi lodges for religious, social and educational uses. This modern conversion of Islamic architecture by another Islamic community is the product of religious, architectural, social, and political concerns that extend back to the Ottoman Empire. In this lecture, I trace and explain some of these changes and the implications they have for our present understanding of religion.

Angela Andersen is a PhD Candidate at The Ohio State University in the History of Art Department. Her work examines the intra-religious interactions that take place via the architecture of the Islamic world.

Wednesday, June 25

Becoming Indigenous and Baha'i in Global North America
Chelsea Horton, University of British Columbia, CSRS Associate Research Fellow

This talk explores the little-known history of how and why some Indigenous people in North America joined the Baha'i religion (a mid-nineteenth-century religion of Iranian origin) during the second half of the twentieth-century. The process of becoming Baha'i, Horton argues, was at once a process of becoming Indigenous.

Chelsea Horton has a PhD in history from the University of British Columbia. She has taught and published on the history of Indigenous religious encounters in Canada and is currently an Associate Fellow at the CSRS.

All lectures are at 10:30 a.m. in the Harry Hickman Building, Room 116
These lectures are free and open to the public.
Web: www.csrs.uvic.ca Tel: 250-721-6325 Email: csrs@uvic.ca


Past Events

Why Aśoka (and Therefore the Buddha and Mahāvīra) Should Be Older Than We Take Him (/Them) To Be

Wednesday, March 19, 10:30 am - 12:20 pm
MacLaurin, Room D105, University of Victoria

Most historians have placed Aśoka well-known as the patron and propagator of Buddhism, in third century B.C. and assigned him a reign period of 269/268-233/232 B.C. They have done this, mainly or ultimately, on the basis of two rock edicts ascribed to Aśoka which refer to five rulers to the west of Aśoka’s domain: Antiochus II Theos, ruler of Syria and Western Asia, 261-246 B.C., Ptolemy II Philadelphus, ruler of Egypt, 285-247 B.C., Antigonus Gonates, ruler of Macedonia, 278-239 B.C., Magas, ruler of Cyrene, 300-258/250 B.C., and Alexander, ruler of Epirus, 275-255 B.C. (or Alexander, ruler of Corinth, 252-247 B.C.). However, I will point out that it is not certain that the edicts meant Aśoka as a contemporary of Antiochus et al. When the evidence is objectively
and collectively analyzed, it seems more justifiable to proceed on the assumption that Aśoka ruled much earlier than is commonly stated at present. This conclusion affects the dating of the Buddha, usually accepted to be 100 or 218 years earlier than Aśoka, and the dating of Mahāvīra, usually taken to be a pre-Buddha founder of historical Jainism.

Ashok Aklujkar is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Asian Studies at the University of British Columbia. There he taught courses in Sanskrit language and in the related mythological and philosophical literatures (occasionally also in Indian belles lettres in general) from 1969 to 2006. Advanced students have worked under his guidance in the areas of Buddhist and Brahmanical philosophy, religion, and mythology. His published research is mostly in the areas of Sanskrit linguistic tradition and poetics. He has been a visiting professor at Hamburg, Harvard, Rome, Kyoto, Paris, Oxford and Marburg.

Supported by: UVic's Religious Studies, Centre for Studies in Religion and Society, Greek and Roman Studies and Pacific and Asian Studies.


Middle East and Islamic Consortium of BC
MEICON-BC 2014 Conference

Sixth Annual Student Conference
Saturday, March 15, 2014
Kwantlen Polytechnic University
Surrey, British Columbia, Canada

Middle Eastern and Islamic Communities across Disciplines

The annual MEICON-BC Student Conference provides a space for graduate and senior undergraduate students to examine and explore diverse issues and factors affecting Middle Eastern and Islamic societies and communities from multi- and inter-disciplinary perspectives. DETAILS

Learn more about MEICON HERE

The Ottoman Front: The Great War in the Middle East
Eugene Rogan, University of Oxford

Wednesday, March 12, 7:00 pm.
Bob Wright Building, Room B150.


Tuesday, March 4
IdeaFest 2014 - Democracy, Religion & Toleration:
Lessons from the Charter of Quebec Values
The proposed Charter of Quebec values has generated controversy about the place of religion in a democratic community. Is the integrity of the public service threatened by expressions of religious identity by public employees? Are some religious traditions hostile to democratic values? Is freedom of religion in Canada threatened? What are the limits of religious toleration?

As part of IdeaFest 2014, this forum will explore the lessons that can be learned for Canadian democracy from the Quebec case. Join Colin Macleod (Philosophy & Law) as he facilitates a lively panel discussion with four of UVic’s leading researchers on issues of religion, human rights, democracy and law. Students, scholars and community members are invited to engage with experts Paul Bramadat (CSRS), Avigail Eisenberg (Political Science), Cindy Holder (Philosophy) and Jeremy Webber (Law) in a Q&A session following the panel discussion. UVic, Fraser Building, Room 152, 7:00 pm



Thursday, March 6
IdeaFest 2014 – The Politics of Memory: Bones, Stones and the Ownership of Everything

Who has the right to own the human remains, songs, stories and ancient artwork of people who lived hundreds or thousands of years ago? How important is it for people today to be genetically linked to the people who produced these items?  When we make claims about these ancient items, what contemporary political forces might inspire our claims? Why are religion and spirituality so often used in the arguments groups use to lay claim to such artifacts?  Whether debates about these questions occur in museums, universities, legislatures, courtrooms or the media, and whether they involve ancient Greece or pre-contact First Nations, they always teach us a great deal about our present predicaments. Join BC scholars for a spirited public discussion of these fascinating lessons. UVic, Harry Hickman Building, Room 105, 7:00 - 9:00 pm.


This lecture is also part of The John Albert Hall Lecture Series and features expert perspectives on the changing role of religion in contemporary society. Please see HERE for more information

St John's Bible

The Saint John’s Bible - Heritage Edition

Found in translation Collection - Inaugural text

Three talks:

Saturday, February 22, 2:00 - 4:00 pm
Bethlehem Retreat Centre
2371 Arbot Road, Nanaimo, BC

Wednesday, February 26, 12:00 - 1:30 pm
Greater Victoria Public Library - Central Branch
735 Broughton Street, Victoria, BC

Wednesday, February 26, 7:00 pm
University Centre, Room A180 (Senate Chambers)
University of Victoria

The Saint John’s Bible is the first handwritten illuminated Bible to be commissioned since the advent of the printing press. Commissioned in 1998 by the Benedictine monks of Saint John’s Abbey in Minnesota, the bible took fifteen years to complete and involved a team of scribes, artists and craftspeople in a scriptorium in Wales. The Heritage Edition is a full-size fine art edition of this modern masterpiece and provides an opportunity to investigate the ways communities build bridges between ancient texts and contemporary societies.

Jim Triggs is the Executive Director of the Heritage Program, Saint John’s University. Since 2008, Triggs has worked closely with institutions that have acquired the Bible, including Yale University and the Vatican. During this talk, Triggs will display two of the seven Heritage Edition volumes. The Saint John’s Bible Heritage Edition is being donated to the CSRS by the friends of Bishop De Roo. This generous gift will inaugurate the Found in Translation collection of modern renderings of sacred texts from around the world. Join us for a presentation of the Saint John’s Bible and a celebration of the Bishop’s 90th birthday.

The City Talks

A distinguished lecture series co-sponsored by the University of Victoria’s Committee for Urban Studies and the Centre for Studies in Religion and Society.

Religion and the City

Join scholars for public presentations and discussions of the conflicts, pleasures, and politics of city life.

Starting Thursday, September 26.
See POSTER for more details.
Learn more about The City Talks HERE.

October is Islamic History Month

MEICON - Annual Middle East Film Festival at Cinecenta .

Inch'Allah (Canada, 2012, 101 mins.) November 19, 7:00 & 9:10pm  
The Attack (Lebanon, 2012, 105 mins.) November 26, 7:00 & 9:10pm 
Wadjda (Saudi Arabia, 2012, 98 mins.) December 1, 3:00 & 7:00 & 9:00pm; December 2, 3 & 4, 7:00 & 9:00pm

Learn more about MEICON HERE.
Cinecenta's SCHEDULE.

Bishop's Distinguished Lecture 2013

Free to Believe: Rethinking Freedom of Conscience and Religion in Canada
Mary Anne Waldron, QC

An Initiative of the UVic Catholic Chaplain & Sponsored by the Diocese of Victoria.

Tuesday, October 29 at 7pm.
Fraser Law Building, Room 159 POSTER.
Find more information on the Bishop's Distinguished Lecture HERE.

Friends, Foes or Fools? Muslim Views of the Crusaders
Niall Christie, Langara College

Sponsored by MEICON

Wednesday, October 16 at 7pm.
David Turpin Building, room A104 (formerly the Social Science and Math Building) POSTER.
Learn more about MEICON HERE.

The Writing on the Walls: The Importance of Epigraphy in Medieval Cairo
Bernard O’Kane, American University of Cairo

Sponsored by UVic's History in Art, Medieval Studies, the Centre for Studies in Religion and Society and MEICON

Wednesday, October 9 at 12:30 pm.
Cornett Building, room A125.

CSRS Summer Lectures

Wednesday, June 26
The Verbal Exchange between Noah and his People in the Qur’an
Abdelmadjid Benhabib, University of Tlemcen, Algeria, CSRS Visiting Research Fellow

Wednesday, July 10
On the Concept of the Face: Regarding the Son of God - Contemporary Theatre and the Secular Moment
Megan Macdonald, University of London, CSRS Visiting Research Fellow

Wednesday, July 24
Offering Origins, Abdicating Analysis: A Response to the Scholarly Discourse on “Slave Religion”
K. Merinda Simmons, University of Alabama, CSRS Visiting Research Fellow

All lectures are at 10:30 a.m. in the Harry Hickman Building, Room 110.
These lectures are free and open to the public.

South of Heaven: Religion and Heavy Metal

June 7-8, 2013, UVic Student Union Building / Fine Arts 103

2013 Community Seminar: Catholic Legacies in Victoria

Tue-Wed, May 28-29, 2013
UVic Mearns Centre for Learning, St Ann’s Academy, Royal BC Museum Details

MEICON 5th Annual Student Conference - On the Middle East and the Islamic World

Saturday, March 23, 2013. 8:00 am - 6:00 pm. Engineering/Computer Science Building, room 125. Details

Religion, Rights and Political Upheaval: Global Currents

Tuesday, March 05, 2013, 7:00-9:00 pm
Harry Hickman Building, Room 105
IdeaFest 2013

The jailing of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot, the resurgence of religious protests in Northern Ireland, and demonstrations sparked by an American pastor’s burning of the Qur’an remind us of the religion tensions that exist between in liberal societies. A panel of UVic scholars will examine current global contexts in which religion, rights and politics create often explosive controversies.

Moderator: Paul Bramadat, Centre for Studies in Religion and Society

Sikata Banerjee, Department of Women’s Studies: India
Avigail Eisenberg, Department of Political Science: Canada
Oliver Schmidtke, Centre for Global Studies: European Union
Megan Swift, Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies: Russia
Andrew Wender, Depts. of History and Political Science: Israel

Sponsored by the UVic Centre for Global Studies and Centre for Studies in Religion and Society.
www.csrs.uvic.ca www.globalcentres.org

Free and open to the public.

A $2.25 evening parking fee is in effect.

Café Scientifique - If Spirituality Matters to the Dying, Shouldn't it also Matter to Their Health Care Providers?

Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Sticky Wicket Pub - Maple Room

What does it mean to be “spiritual but not religious", especially at the end of life? UVic researchers Paul Bramadat (Centre for Studies in Religion and Society) and Kelli Stajduhar (Centre on Aging) invite the public to bring their questions and ideas to
this café-style conversation on “matters of the spirit” in hospice palliative care. Poster
Presented by Paul Bramadat, PhD & Kelli Stajduhar, PhD.

This is a free event and seating is limited. Please reserve your seat by emailing senage@uvic.ca or call 250-721-6369.
Light refreshments are provided & food may be ordered from the Sticky Wicket menu. Full bar available.

Speaking our Loss, Sharing Our Journeys: Second-Generation Writers on the Holocaust
Wednesday, November 28, 2012, 7:30 pm
Legacy Art Gallery, 630 Yates St., Victoria
Admission: $10/ $5 students and seniors

milman family to america, 1950

Join Canadian authors Jacquie Buncel and Isa Milman as they share reflections on the artistic process and its role in helping to create meaning and value from the experience of growing up in the shadow of the Holocaust.

An evening of stories, poetry and discussion moderated by UVic professor of Germanic studies Charlotte Schallié.


Photo: Milman family to America, 1950


Toronto writer Jacquie Buncel is the author of the 2010 poetry collection Turning the Corner at Dusk (Wolsak and Wynn). Her poetry and short fiction have appeared in Fireweed, Atlantis: A Women's Studies Journal, Kalaidescope: An International Journal of Poetry, and numerous anthologies.

"...a searing collection of poetry."


Isa Milman, a Victoria-based poet and visual artist, is a two-time winner of the Canadian Jewish Book Award for Between the Doorposts (Ekstasis, 2005) and Prairie Kaddish (Coteau, 2008). Her most recent book is Something Small to Carry Home (Quattro, 2012).

"Milman’s images 'glimpse the stars' despite the darkness..."

schallie Charlotte Schallié, from the UVic Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies, specializes in the study of post-1945 German, Swiss and Austrian literature and film, and theories of diasporic and postcolonial writing. She is co-director of the I-Witness Holocaust Field School.

We gratefully acknowledge funding support for this event from the League of Canadian Poets, the Canada Council for the Arts, and the I-Witness Holocaust Field School Project.

University of Victoria Keynote Lecture in Religious Diversity:

Religious Communities as Legal and Political Orders

Jeremy Webber, UVic Faculty of Law
Thursday, November 22, 2012, 7:00 pm

David Lam Auditorium (MacLaurin A144)

All of the Victoria community is invited to this keynote lecture by UVic law professor Jeremy Webber as the opening event for the Governance of Religious Diversity in China, India and Canada International Symposium.

jeremy webberReligion in liberal societies is generally conceived to be an individual affair. But religions also unite believers in communities that have their own normative languages and means of settling disputes – in effect, their own law. In accommodating religion, governments are often being asked to make room for a rival source of authority. Some states – indeed some citizens – find this challenge to be deeply troubling, while for others such accommodations are easier to make.  These reactions explain much of the variation in the governance of religious diversity worldwide.

Professor Jeremy Webber holds the Canada Research Chair in Law and Society at the UVic Faculty of Law, where he is director of the Consortium on Democratic Constitutionalism (Demcon). He has published widely in the fields of legal and political theory, comparative law and Indigenous rights. Professor Webber’s recent publications include Storied Communities: Narratives of Contact and Arrival in Constituting Political Community (with Hester Lessard and Rebecca Johnson, UBC Press, 2011) and Between Consenting Peoples: Political Community and the Meaning of Consent (with Colin McLeod, UBC Press, 2010). He holds degrees from the University of British Columbia, McGill University and Osgoode Hall Law School, and from 1998-2002 served as Dean of Law at the University of Sydney.

Free and open to the public. A $2.25 evening parking fee is in effect. Visit the UVic Events Calendar for more details.