2015 is once again behind us, and, despite my excellent intention to update this activity blog much earlier on in the year, it remained simply that, a good intention.  But as always, the Religious Studies department is a highly productive member of the UW community and a great deal of activity took place, both in terms of publications and presentations.

My name is Dr. Doris Jakobsh and as I noted in my first installment last year, I volunteered to set up this info-blog to chart some of the goings on in the RS department.   As was the case last year, I am here giving a wrap-up of the scholarly activities of our department, including publications, conference presentations and public talks, as well as some of the scholarly work of a number of RS PhDs.   And again, if one of your favourite RS professors isn’t mentioned too often or not at all, it is likely that they are carrying a heavy administrative load alongside their teaching. In this case, their primary focus in RS is teaching those wonderful courses that the department offers! Also, it does occur occasionally that one or more of us have projects ‘in press’ – hence their publications are not yet showing up. You’ll have to wait until 2016’s installment to see what those might include.  You can connect with Religious Studies faculty and staff here.


Administratively, Religious Studies is still being guided most ably by our Chair, Dr. Mavis Fenn (  Professor Jim Diamond ( is at the helm of Undergraduate Studies (Associate Chair, Undergraduate) and I’ve taken on the position of Associate Chair, Graduate Studies ( for our department.  Fiona McAlister ( is our most able administrator.   

Here are some of Religious Studies’ activities, both at the University of Waterloo and affiliated university colleges.


Main Campus:


Research Grants:

Co-PI for SSHRC Partnership Grant awarded to Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security and Society (TSAS) (, $2.15 million.

Conference Presentations:

“Religion, Violence, and the Islamic State: Insights from Canadian Foreign Fighters” (with Amarnath Amarasingam), Society for Terrorism Research, Birmingham City University, Birmingham U.K., Sept. 10-11.

“Trying to Talk to Terrorists: Ethical Hurdles in Canada” (with Amarnath Amarasingam), Society for Terrorism Research, Birmingham City University, Birmingham U.K., Sept. 10-11.

“The Canadian Situation and Experience,” Plenary #1 – Setting the Stage: Violent Extremism in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom, Radicalization and Violent Extremism: Lessons Learned from Canada, the UK and the US, Washington D.C., July 28-30.

“A Few Key Conceptual Lessons Learned,” Breakout #3: Mobilization to Violence: How Radicalization Shifts to Violent Extremism, Radicalization and Violent Extremism: Lessons Learned from Canada, the UK and the US, Washington D.C., July 28-30.

Invited Talks:

Three Lectures on Religion and Violence for 123rd Queen’s Annual Theology Conference, Kingston ON, Oct.19-21.

“Global Issues: Radicalization,” Canadian Security Studies Program, Canadian Forces College, Toronto, Oct. 8.

“The Social Ecology of Homegrown Terrorism & Foreign Fighters,” TSAS Summer Academy, University of British Columbia, July 22.

TSAS Counter-Narrative Workshop participant, sponsored by Public Safety Canada, Ottawa, June 15.

“Panel #3: The Role of ISIS,” Current Politics of the Middle East, Balsillie School of International Affairs, May 27.

“The Social Ecology of Homegrown Terrorist Radicalization,” day long symposium: “The Islamic State and the Middle East: The Abuse of History and Religion,” Memorial University, April 27.

“Canadian Foreign Fighters,” Public Talk at the Rocket Bakery, St. John’s, Newfoundland, April 26.

 “The Social Ecology of Homegrown Terrorist Radicalization,” RCMP 2015 National Security Interviewing Workshop, Calgary, Alberta, April 24.

“What is ISIS? Why do Canadians Join?” Department of Religious Studies Public Lecture Series, University of Waterloo, Mar. 19.

Testimony before the Canadian Senate Standing Committee on National Security and Defense, re: homegrown terrorist radicalization and its prevention, Feb. 23.

 Presenter (“The Social Ecology of Becoming a Homegrown Terrorist in Canada [hour long version]”) and participant in RCMP E Division INSET, National Security Interviewing Workshop, Jan. 29 & 30




“Menachem Kellner: An Intellectual Portrait,” in Menachem Kellner: Jewish Universalism, eds., Hava Tirosh-Samuelson and Aaron Hughes, Leiden: Brill, 1-33,

“Genocide,” Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception, vol. 10, Berlin: De Gruyter,


“Zionism: Essential Normatively for Jewishness, Philosophically for Humanness,” Session: Is Jewishness Whole Without Zionism?, Association for Jewish Studies Annual Conference, Baltimore, USA.

“The Epistemological Value of Suffering: Rupture in the Warsaw Ghetto,” International Workshop, How do Jews Know: Epistemologies of Jewish Knowledge, Freie Universität, Berlin, Germany, June.


Canadian Jewish Literary Award for the best book (2014-2015) in the category of Scholarship for Maimonides and the Shaping of the Jewish Canon (Cambridge University Press),

Templeton Foundation/ Herzl Institute fellowship in Jewish Philosophical Theology,

Community Lectures:

Beit HaMinyan Congregation, Toronto, “Do We all Serve the Same God? The Subject of the ‘First Commandment,” February.

West Side Institutional Synagogue New York, Scholar in Residence, April.

            Lecture #1 ”Why Moses Maimonides Matters”

Lecture#2 “Was Aaron Silent?: The First Debate Over Dying for God”

Congregation Shearith Israel, New York, “Maimonides and the Shaping of the Jewish Canon,” April.

Alpha Omega Dental fraternity, “Maimonides: Philosopher, Scientist, Doctor- What Does He have to Say to Us Today?,” May.


DORIS JAKOBSH (on sabbatical January to July):


Feminizing the Khalsa.  Text, narrative and image within the virtual realm,” Sikh Formations 11:1-2, 190-209

“Seeking the Image of ‘Unmarked’ Sikh Women: Text, Sacred Stitches, Turban,” Religion & Gender. Special issue: The Normative Power of Images 5:1, 35-51, see article at file://artsfileu/artshome$/djakobsh/Downloads/10085-21535-1-PB%20(2).pdf

“Marking the Female Sikh Body. Reformulating and Legitimating Sikh Women’s Turbaned Identity on the World Wide Web,” Young Sikhs in a Global World: Negotiating Identity, Tradition and Authority, K. Jacobsen and K. Myrvold, eds., Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate, 125-148,


With Margaret Walton-Roberts, “A century of miri piri. Securing Sikh belonging in Canada,” Memorializing a Forgotten Chapter: The Komagata Maru Episode Conference, IIT, Kharagpur, Bengal, India, February

“Sikh Women in the Diaspora,” Workshop, Post-Graduate Government College and Panjab University, Chandigarh, Punjab, India, March

“Tragic violence, hate crimes and grieving within sacred geographies of faith:   Sikhs and the Oak Creek Gurdwara Shootings, 2012,” 5th International and Interdisciplinary Conference on Emotional Geographies, Edinburgh, Scotland, June





“Regionalism Within American Buddhism,” Buddhism Beyond Borders: New Perspectives on Buddhism in the United States, eds. Scott Mitchell and Natalie Quli, Albany: State University of New York Press,

Academic book reviewsBuddhism, Unitarianism, and the Meiji Competition for Universality, by Michel Mohr, Journal of Unitarian Universalist History, vol. 38, May and Flowers on the Rock: Global and Local Buddhism in Canada, eds., John Harding, Victor Hori, and Alexander Soucy, Journal of Global Buddhism, vol. 16.


“Mindfulness, INC: Buddhist Meditation Beyond Buddhism,” Duke University, November.

“Mindfulness, INC: Buddhist Meditation Beyond Buddhism,” Smith College, December.





What are They Saying about the Letter of James? New York: Paulist Press (2009), Korean edition.

“The Letter of Jude and Graeco-Roman Invective” HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies, 70:1 (2014),

“Fishing Economy in the Sea of Galilee,” Bible Odyssey,


“Fish for Thought in the Gospels,” UW Religious Studies Lecture, October.

“Justice and Peace in the Christian Scriptures,” Renison University College Multi-Faith Dialogue Series, October,


Leadership Team Member, Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning, Workshop for Pre-Tenure Religion Faculty at Colleges and Universities,


St. Jerome’s University:



“God’s Defeat of Deceit:  The Seduction of Óscar Romero” in Robert S. Pelton (editor), Archbishop Romero and Spiritual Leadership in the Modern World,” Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 56-60,

“Hermeneutical Methodology in Christian Spirituality,” THEOFORUM 44 (2013), 317-337, Issued February 2015.


“The Experience of God: Mysticism in Everyday Life,” Galilee Mission Centre, Arnprior, ON, June 




“Fighting “the System”: The Christian Identity Movement and The Turner Diaries,” Angry Groups and Politics How They Change Society And How We Can Affect Their Behaviour, S. Cloninger and S. Leibo, eds., Westport, Connecticut: Praeger,

“Cage Fighting for Jesus” God and Popular Culture]: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Entertainment Industry’s Most Influential Figure, Volume 2, eds, Stephen Murray and Aimee Light,

Conferences Presentations:

“Christian Apocalyptic Thought, the Illuminati and the Americanist Mobilization of the John Birch Society,” AAR Eastern International Region, McGill University, Montreal, May,

Accepted presentations:

“The John Birch Society Protecting God, Country and Family in Cold War America,” IAHR – XXI World Congress, International Association for the History of Religions, Efurt, Germany   

“The Cold War, The John Birch Society – Warriors for God, Country and Family,” 7th Annual Boston University Graduate Student Political History Conference, Boston, USA  

“The John Birch Society: Improvisational Conspiracism and the Development of a Grassroots Movement,” Religion, Conflict, and Boundary Maintenance Conference, Indiana, USA  


Conference Presentations:

“Raising and Reporting a Lama: A New Buddhist Movement’s Media Representation of its Founder’s Reincarnation;” Ways of Knowing: Graduate Conference on Religion, Harvard Divinity School, October,


Conference Presentations:

“A Generation of Change: The Case of the Sikh Activist Network in Ontario,” Living and Making Sikhi in the Diaspora: The Millennial Generations Comes to Age – Sikh Studies Conference, University of California, Riverside, May,


Conference Presentations:

“Spiritual but not Religious: Catch All Category or Arbitrary Analysis,” Canadian Society for the Study of Religion, Ottawa, May,





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