Paul Bramadat

Paul Bramadat
Director and Professor

MA (McGill), PhD (McMaster)

Office: Sedgewick Vandekerkhove Wing B102e

About our Director

I received my PhD in religious studies from McMaster University (1998), my MA in religion and culture from McGill University (1993), and my BA in religious studies from the University of Winnipeg (1990). I taught in the Religious Studies Department at the University of Winnipeg from 1998 until 2008. In addition to directing the CSRS since 2008, I hold teaching appointments in the Department of History and the Religious Studies Program at the University of Victoria.

I am interested in the intersections between secularism, religious radicalization, securitization, post-colonialism, and religious identity in contemporary Canada. Many of my research interests revolve around emerging understandings of religious, political, and ethnic identities in rapidly evolving liberal democratic societies. Recently, my interests have grown to include the confluence of religion, environmentalism and bio-regionalism in North America. 

My first book, The Church on the World’s Turf (Oxford 2000), examined the ways religious sub-cultures can thrive in largely secular environments. Other books include Religion and Ethnicity in Canada (Pearson 2005), and Christianity and Ethnicity in Canada (University of Toronto 2008), both co-edited with David Seljak; International Migration and the Governance of Religious Diversity (McGill-Queen’s University Press 2009), co-edited with German sociologist Matthias Koenig; Spirituality and Hospice Palliative Care (SUNY 2013), co-edited with Kelli Stajduhar and Harold Coward; and Religious Radicalization in Canada and Beyond (University of Toronto Press 2014), co-edited with Lorne Dawson. My most recent book is Public Health in the Age of Anxiety: Religious and Cultural Roots of Vaccine Hesitancy in Canada (with Canadian scholars and scientists, Maryse Guay, Real Roy, and Julie Bettinger), in which authors examine the various cultural, psychological and religious forces at work in our society leading to anxieties about the safety and value of vaccinations for themselves and their families.

My articles have appeared in the Journal of the American Academy of Religion, Ethnicities, Canadian Ethnic Studies, Studies in Religion, Ethnologies, and the Journal of International Migration and Integration, as well as magazines such as Canadian Diversity, The Ecumenist and Canadian Issues. I recently co-edited (with Indian political theorist, Rinku Lamba) a special issue of a journal devoted to the way Canadian, Indian and Chinese states respond to or manage religious diversity. I am also an Associate Editor at the Journal of the American Academy of Religion.  

I have been commissioned by federal government departments and agencies such as Citizenship and Immigration, Canadian Heritage, the Metropolis Project and Public Safety Canada to lecture and write about the implications of religious diversity for Canadian policy makers interested in immigration, inclusion and security. As well, I have spoken about secularism and religion in the Breakfast on the Hill series on Parliament Hill and about religious minorities and social inclusion at the Senate Standing Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology. An important dimension of my work is my involvement in national and international networks of scholars and policy makers interested in policy relevant research and the management of major research projects.

Over the last 16 years, I acted as the Principal Investigator, co-PI, or co-investigator on projects that have received over $6 million in national and federal grant funding from agencies such as the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR), and Citizenship and Immigration Canada. My current project is a four-year research study titled "Religion, Spirituality, Secularity, and Society in the Pacific Northwest" which is funded by the SSHRC Insight Grant. As the Principal Investigator on ths project, I will lead a team of 15 Canadian and American faculty members and graduate students addressing the distinctive features of religion, spirituality, and secularity in the Pacific Northwest (also called “Cascadia”) region. 

Major publications