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Experts in: Religion

DESLANDRES, Dominique

Professeure titulaire

My research concerns the comparative history of identity construction in 16th-18th century Europe and the Americas, with a number of complementary aspects: the vision of the Other and the question of self (episteme and mentalities; objectives and methods of persuasion); the role of the two sexes in the individual and collective construction of identity; historical evidence and the memory of self. With regard to this first theme, I published Croire et faire croire. Les missions françaises au 17e siècle(Paris, Fayard, 2003), showing the far-reaching connections between the perception of otherness and the representations of modern identity in the context of the first globalization, i.e. missionary imperialism, at a time when France was undergoing true domestic colonization. A second theme developed from this research, and allowed me to embark on two parallel publications: the first, Les autobiographies spirituelles et l'émergence du sujet moderne, is aimed at understanding how men and women in France and its colonies learned to see themselves as acting subjects. The second publication, the third of my research themes, is entitled Memoire de soi, mémoire des autres, and compares the annals of various religious congregations in France and New France to determine the traces that small communities wished to leave for posterity, sometimes at the cost of a certain distortion of the historical record. On the basis of this work, I was invited to edit a scientific history of the Sulpicians of Canada in which the chapters I wrote concern the duty of memory, identity markers, and relations between others and the Sulpicians, who were key figures in Montreal history (D. Deslandres, John A. Dickinson and Ollivier Hubert, eds. Les Sulpiciens de Montréal. Une histoire de pouvoir et de discrétion (Montreal, Fides, 2007). Along the same lines, I co-edited, with Raymond Brodeur and Thérèse Nadeau-Lacour, Lecture inédite de la modernité aux origines de la Nouvelle France. Marie Guyart de l'Incarnation et les autres fondateurs religieux (Quebec City, Les Presses de l'Université Laval, 2010) to mark the 400th anniversary of Quebec City. I am currently writing a biography of Marie Guyart de l'Incarnation, founder of the very first school for women in America, while continuing my work on the roles of the sexes, religion and politics in the history of modern-day French expansion.

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HAMZAH, Dyala

Professeure adjointe

My research interests concern the processes of reform and centralization in the Arab provinces of the Ottoman Empire throughout the 19th century (Egypt, Syria, Iraq, North Africa), from a cultural and social perspective. The central role of the press and associations in the emergence of a public space during the Arab Renaissance and the issues of education and citizenship in the colonial and post-colonial periods are central to my research.

At the same time, my work bears on the symmetrical processes of professionalization and the popularization of Islamic expertise in the 20th century. More specifically, I am interested in the institutional and curricular development of mosque-universities such as al-Azhar, Zaytuna and Qarawiyyin, from the 18th century until their nationalization in the 1960s, and also in the legacies and uses of Islamic historiography, philosophy and law in the contemporary period, particularly in nationalism and Islamism.

My current research aims to contribute to the cultural history of Arab nationalism and to define its key institutions: volunteer associations and secret societies; scouting movements; school textbooks.

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OWNBY, David

Professeur titulaire

My main research interests have to do with the history of religion in modern and contemporary China. I have worked mainly on popular groups, having conducted field research in China, Taiwan and North America. The development of the religious fact in China since the latter 19th century is extremely complex, and we cannot study popular religion without considering the aims of the Chinese government and the posture of institutionalized religions. Given the religious rebirth in China since the end of the Maoist era, even historical research on this subject is important from a contemporary point of view.

With colleagues from York University and UBC, I have also launched a new research program on contemporary intellectual life in China. The project explores the complex relations between the growing freedom of expression for intellectuals, the cultural search for an identity that will be both modern and Chinese, and the pressing need for Chinese political authorities to find a new ideological legitimacy. This program is now funded through an SSHRC Insight grant.

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Rabkin, Yakov

RABKIN, Yakov

Professeur titulaire

My research interests are as follows:

  1. The history of the Soviet Union and the consequences of its dismantlement, in particular the history of science and intellectuals, the transformation of research systems and the de-modernization of post-Soviet societies and socio-economic polarization and other effects on societies outside the post-Soviet space. 
     
  2. The contemporary history of Jews and the history of Zionism and the state of Israel, in particular the connections between the Zionist movement and the political right in the West, Jewish opposition to Zionism, the development of the Jewish identity since the turn of the 20th century and the origins and spread of Christian Zionism.
     
  3. Science and higher education as factors in international relations, in particular scientific exchanges, the internationalization of education and the role of scientists in international politics.

The themes of some recently completed and current theses and dissertations:

  • History textbooks in three post-Soviet states
  • The historiography of some Cold War conflicts
  • Franco-Romanian relations: between tradition and necessity (1949-1974)
  • Pro-Israeli activities in Canada
  • Jewish political and religious opposition to Zionism
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