Rachel Brown

Rachel Brown
Program and Research Coordinator
Religion, Culture and Society Program
Office: Sedgewick Vandekerkhove Wing B102d

M.A. (McMaster), PhD (Wilfrid Laurier University)

More about our Program and Research Coordinator

I received my PhD in religion and cultural studies from Wilfrid Laurier University (2016), my MA in religious studies from McMaster University (2009) and my BA (Honours) in religious studies from the University of Waterloo (2007). I taught as a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religion at the University of Evansville in 2017-2018, and am currently a part-time contract Assistant Teaching Professor here at the University of Victoria in the Religion, Culture and Society Program and the Department of Anthropology.

My primary research interests lie at the intersection of studies in food, religion and migration. I am especially interested in how members of minority communities create, maintain and present their religious, cultural and ethnic identities through food and food practices in secular contexts. This interest extends into questioning how minority communities add to, change, and/or are transformed by the diverse cultural landscapes of North America and Europe. 

My PhD dissertation was an ethnographic case study of North African Muslim immigrants in Paris, France and Montreal, Canada. In this work, I look at how Muslim migrants relate to their homeland, hostland, and to the very concepts of religion and culture themselves, through their food practice. I have also written multiple journal articles, and book chapters on subjects such as Muslim integration and French Society, Theorizing Food and Religion, Muslim Food and Identity, Food and Pop Culture, Research Positionality and Knowledge Production, and the experience of Religious Minorities in the Pacific Northwest.

Select Publications

2023. Brown, Rachel and Aldea Mulhern. "Muslim Foodways and Pop Culture: Beyond Halal, Boundary Maintenance and SAME Cuisine." Co-authored with Aldea Mulhern. In Bloomsbury Handbook of Muslims and Pop Culture, edited by Kristian Peterson and Hussein Rashid, 113-128. London: Bloomsbury Academic.

2022. Brown, Rachel. "'To Be or Not to Be' Religious: Minority Religion in a Region of Nones." In Religion at the Edge: Nature, Spirituality and Secularity in the Pacific Northwest, edited by Paul Bramadat, Patricia O'Connell Killen, and Sarah Wilkins-Laflamme, 203-221. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press.

2021. Brown, Rachel. "Cooking up Research: Positionality and the Knowledge Production of Islam(s)." In Producing Islam(s) in Canada: On Knowledge, Positionality, and Politics, edited by Amélie Barras, Jennifer Selby and Melanie Adrian, 223-240. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

2019. Brown, Rachel. Muslim integration and french societyOxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics. Oxford University Press. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780190228637.013.798

2017. Brown, Rachel. Bread Beyond Borders: Food as Evidence for Thomas Tweed’s Theory of Religion. Bulletin for the Study of Religion, 46 (2): 9-18. doi: 10.1558/bsor.32260.

2016. Brown, Rachel. How Gelatin Becomes a Symbol of Muslim Identity: Food Practice as a Lens into the Study of Religion and MigrationReligious Studies and Theology, 35 (2): 185-205. doi: 10.1558/rsth.32558.

2015. Brown, Rachel. Tell me what you eat and I’ll tell you what you are. The literal consumption of identity for North African Muslims in Paris, France. In Everyday Life Practices of Muslims in Europe: Consumptions and Aesthetics. Erkan Toguslu, ed. Leuven: Leuven University Press. Pp. 41-56.