Past projects

Harold Coward and Kelli Stajduhar
Researchers Harold Coward and Kelli Stajduhar. Photo by Robbyn Lanning.

Religious and Cultural Roots of Vaccine Hesitancy

Religious & Cultural Roots of Vaccine Hesitancy

  • Duration: 2013 - 2015 
  • Aim: Experts from the health disciplines, humanities, and social sciences work together to understand the growing anxieties related to vaccines.
  • Investigators: Paul Bramadat (UVic), Maryse Guay (University of Sherbrooke), Julie Bettinger (UBC), Réal Roy (UVic), eds.
  • Sponsor/Funder: Réseau de recherche en santé des populations du Québec (RSPQ), Université de Sherbrooke, UVic CSRS.
  • Big Question: What do we know about why members of some religious and cultural groups are reluctant to vaccinate themselves and their children? How might physicians, nurses, scholars, and public health specialists better relate to these concerns about vaccine safety in order to prevent serious outbreaks of diseases?
  • Status: Published by University of Toronto Press, 2017. Purchase here

The Governance of Religious Diversity in China, India, and Canada

The Governance of Religious Diversity in China, India, & Canada

  • Duration: 2012 - 2015 
  • Aim: To prepare a scholarly manuscript resulting from an international workshop held at UVic in the Fall of 2012.
  • Investigators: Paul Bramadat (UVic), Rinku Lamba (Jawaharlal Nehru University), eds.
  • Sponsor/Funder: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), University of Victoria (CSRS, Centre for Asia-Pacific Initiatives, Faculty of Law).
  • Big Question: How do India, China, and Canada respond to or “manage” the challenges and opportunities of religious diversity?
  • Status: published in Special Issue, Studies in Religion, 2016. Read here

Spirituality in Hospice Palliative Care

Spirituality in Hospice Palliative Care

  • Investigators: Paul Bramadat (UVic CSRS), Harold Coward (UVic, CSRS), and Kelli Stajduhar (UVic School of Nursing/Centre on Aging)
  • Sponsor/Funder: Canadian Institutes of Health Research
  • Big Questions: This groundbreaking book addresses the spiritual aspect of hospice care for those who do not fit easily within traditional religious beliefs and categories. A companion volume to Religious Understandings of a Good Death in Hospice Palliative Care, this work also advocates for renewed attention to the spiritual, the often overlooked element of hospice care. Drawing on data from clinical case studies, new sociological research, and the perspectives of agnostics, atheists, those who emphasize the spiritual rather than institutional dimensions of a traditional religion, and the rapidly growing cohort of those who describe themselves as spiritual-but-not-religious, the contributors to this volume interpret the shift from predominantly Christian-based pastoral services to a new approach to “the spiritual” shaped by the increasing diversity of Western societies and new understandings of the nature of secular society.
  • Status: Book published by SUNY Press, 2013. Purchase here.

Designer Animals: Mapping the Issues in Animal Biotechnology

Designer Animals: Mapping the Issues in Animal Biotechnology

  • Investigator: Conrad Brunk (UVic CSRS) and Sarah Hartley (Simon Fraser University)
  • Sponsor/Funder: Advanced Foods and Materials Network
  • Big Questions: Designer Animals is an in-depth study of the debates surrounding the development of animal biotechnology, which is quickly emerging out of the laboratory and into the commercial marketplace. This book innovatively combines expert analysis on the technology's economic, professional, ethical, and religious implications while remaining firmly grounded in the 'real world' political environment in which the issue is played out. By investigating the interests of major stakeholders, including researchers on the cutting edge of science; mainstream and 'alternative' agriculture organizations; the animal welfare movement; and health care providers, patients, and researchers, the contributors illuminate the most important points of agreement and disagreement on this hotly contested topic.
  • Status: Book published by University of Toronto Press, 2012. Purchase here.

Religious Understandings of a “Good Death” in Hospice Palliative Care

Religious Understandings of a “Good Death” in Hospice Palliative Care

  • Investigators: Harold Coward (UVic, CSRS), and Kelli Stajduhar (UVic School of Nursing/Centre on Aging)
  • Sponsor/Funder: Canadian Institutes of Health Research
  • Big Questions: This book explores how religious understandings of death are experienced in hospice care. Aspects of the early hospice model that stressed attention to the religious dimensions of death and dying, while still recognized and practiced, have developed outside the purview of academic inquiry and consideration. Meanwhile, global migration and multicultural diversification in the West have dramatically altered the profile of contemporary hospice care. In response to these developments, this volume is the first to critically explore how religious understandings of death are manifested and experienced in palliative care settings. Contributors discuss how a “good death” is conceived within the major religious traditions of Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Chinese religion, and Aboriginal spirituality. This book won the 2012 AJN (American Journal of Nursing) Book of the Year Award in the Hospice and Palliative Care category.
  • Status: Book published by SUNY Press, 2012. Purchase here.

Faith and Citizenship

Faith and Citizenship

  • Investigator: Paul Bramadat (UVic CSRS)
  • Sponsor/Funder: Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Citizenship and Multiculturalism Branch
  • Big Questions: In this project we explore the relationship between Canadian citizenship and the four religious traditions most commonly involved in public and political debates: Islam, Christianity, Sikhism and Judaism. In the popular, political and even academic literature, assertions about these four traditions (or religion in general) often conform to one of two approaches: either religions are framed as ahistorical bastions of truth, beauty and goodness (with all errors, ugliness and evil attributed to “hijacked” or inauthentic versions), or they are framed as solely historical, manipulative and intransigent obstacles to the full maturation of western societies (with all truth, beauty, and goodness treated as accidental expressions of universal cultural values). As the four chapters of this project demonstrate, the situation is far more complicated – and interesting – than these two dominant and equally inadequate approaches to religion would lead one to think.
  • Status: A collection of original reports (word count: 70,000) on definitions of and debates about citizenship in four major Canadian traditions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Sikhism), featuring four scholars; edited and introduced by Paul Bramadat; final report submitted to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, 2011