About us


An independent research centre

The Centre for Studies in Religion and Society (CSRS) is the leading centre in Canada for scholarly interdisciplinary research on topics at the intersection of religion and public life. We host several national public policy research networks, sponsor visiting fellowships for senior and junior scholars and members of the community, and produce a dynamic annual program of public lectures and seminars.

Current areas of research at the centre include:

  • Religious diversity
  • The role of religious groups in the provision of social services
  • The role of illuminated or illustrated translated sacred texts in contemporary religious groups
  • Religious and cultural roots of vaccine hesitancy
  • The governance of religious diversity in China, India and Canada
  • Religious radicalization and securitization in Canada and beyond
  • Spirituality in hospice palliative care

Acknowledgement of the territories

We acknowledge and respect the lək̓ʷəŋən peoples on whose traditional territory the university stands and the Songhees, Esquimalt and W̱SÁNEĆ peoples whose historical relationships with the land continue to this day.

Our history

The centre was established in 1991 with the help of a generous gift from local philanthropists Allen and Loreen Vandekerkhove. This helped to attract further donations from individuals and religious communities, creating an endowment that today funds the majority of the centre's operations. The purpose of the centre was and is to "foster the scholarly study of religion" at the University of Victoria and to serve as a catalyst for dialogue between the university and the community.

The first director of the centre was Harold Coward, a scholar of comparative religion, who served from 1992 to 2002. Conrad Brunk, a philosopher of science and religion, served as the second director from 2002 to 2008. In July 2008, Paul Bramadat, a specialist in contemporary religion in Canada, took up leadership of the centre.

For more information about the centre's history read, The UVic Centre for Studies in Religion and Society: My Story of its Birth and Development, by founding director, Harold Coward.

Getting involved

Most of the researchers at the CSRS are the recipients of fellowships awarded through our fellowship program. Some of the fellowships, especially those for UVic faculty members and UVic graduate students, have some funding attached. The majority however are unfunded - the applicants must be able to finance their own travel and living expenses while visiting Victoria. In addition to professional academics, we also have fellowships for community researchers and working artists - check out our fellowship guidelines for more information.

If you're not an academic but are interested in our work, we invite you to join our e-distribution list to receive regular notice of all public lectures and events and access to special programs organized exclusively for our Friends. Email to sign up.

Student employment

The CSRS employs current students subject to available funding.

Work Study positions are posted in September of each year. Contact Student Awards and Financial Aid for information about the program and to determine eligibility. For more information about UVic work study jobs, visit the UVic work study program webpage.