Laura Morlock

PhD Religious Studies

Laura Morlock“I’m very interested in what happens when you bring religion into public space,” says Laura Morlock of her PhD dissertation.  Examining how religious minorities have played a role in the development of hate speech legislation, Laura hopes to articulate how the legislation intersects with the larger conversation about Canada as a secular nation.

Given her research area covers human rights, religion, history, gender, and culture and policy in Canada, the Laurier-Waterloo joint PhD Religious Studies program is the perfect fit for Laura’s range of interests. “While there are limitations in other programs, Religious Studies combines history and the present in equal parts. The program allows me to go where I want with the topics.” With an undergraduate degree in History from UWaterloo and a Master’s of Theological Studies (MTS) from Conrad Grebel University College, Laura wanted to combine the fields in her doctoral studies.

“I have always been interested in intercultural balance, so for me Waterloo region is a great place to be as one of the largest centers for immigration in Canada.” She became interested in the issue of religious diversity from the multicultural residence she lived in during her undergraduate years. “I became good friends with several Saudi women who only reveal their eyes and hands in public. I learned so much about perception and preconceived ideas, and we had so many questions for each other. I came out of that thinking that we needed to have further conversation. And if I wanted to be engaged in dialogue, I needed to be able to hold up my side of the conversation.” From there, Laura began her MTS in interfaith dialogue, ultimately leading her to her dissertation research today.

“The program is the only one in Canada that focuses on religious diversity in North America – this application is extremely unusual,” says Laura. As a joint program with Wilfred Laurier University, students have access to faculty members at both schools, as well as course offerings, libraries, and on-campus programs. “When I searched for my Master’s and PhD programs, I looked extensively at other programs and other campuses, but I always came back to Waterloo. I always found that they offer the best balance between academic excellence and student experience.” 

December 2013 Megan Scarborough

University of Waterloo

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