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UW Religious Studies Newsletter

Issue 1 | May 2015

Michael Higgins Talk

Michael Higgins
Despite record breaking cold and bedeviling parking issues nearly 100 people managed to make it to the recent lecture by Michael Higgins, world renowned expert, columnist and CBC consultant on Vatican affairs.  The talk was presented by the Joseph and Wolf Lebovic Chair of Jewish Studies at UW and was entitled "Pope Francis and the Jews: A Friendship Revisited".  
Questions raised and answered by Michael Higgins included: what is the attitude of the current Pope Francis toward the Jews? Where does he stand in relation to his immediate predecessors on both theological and political grounds regarding such existentially crucial issues as the State of Israel, rising anti-semitism, and the Vatican's own relationship with Jews and Judaism?  
You can watch the talk on the University of Waterloo's Youtube channel.   
We have also recently uploaded many of the previous Jewish Studies talks so check them out as well.

Recent Talks

What is ISIS?  Why do Canadians Join? - Lorne Dawson and Amarnath Amarasingam

Thursday March 19 in AL 211 at 3:30.  

Animals as peers, as persons, as peacebuilders - Trevor Bechtel Thursday March 26 in AL 211 at 3:30


Student Awards 

Each year the Religious Studies Department honours its outstanding students with a lunch at the University Club.  This year the award winners are:

Highest Second Year Average Award: Rebecca Chapeskie

Highest Third Year Average Award: Maddy Prevost

Highest Fourth Year Average Award: Douglas Wilson

Outstanding Contribution to the RS Department Award: Madlyn Prevost

Pictured: Maddy Prevost, Mavis Fenn, Ricardo Gouvea, Rebecca Chapeskie and Doug Cowan (seated).Religious Studies Award Winners


What's new with you?

It's always great to hear from alumni. We'd love to know what you are up to, so please send an email to Fiona McAlister.


Student Profile - Maddy Prevost

Maddy Prevost is a third-year student in the Religious Studies Department.  She is the President of the RS Student Society which organizes academic and social events to bring together students and faculty interested in religious studies such as movie nights and an recent field trip to the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto.  

Maddy first became interested in Religious Studies in high school when she took a World Religions course. Her favourite RS course (so far) has been RS 271 - Religion in Film which focused on horror movies the term she took it.

She recently participated in the Beyond Borders program, travelling to Uganda to work with a Catholic HIV/AIDS organization.  This experience sparked an interest in studying how religion and health care intersect, a topic Maddy hopes to pursue at graduate school in the future.  

RS Student Society

For up-to-date information on events and issues you can follow the RS Student Society on Facebook.

Research in the RS Department

Brooke Brassard - Ph.D. Student in Religious StudiesBrooke Brassard is a Ph.D. Candidate in our Religious Diversity in North America program. She was recently awarded an Ontario Graduate Scholarship for her research on Mormonism in western Canada.  Mormon architecture, specifically the temple at Cardston, Alberta, was what first attracted Brooke to the study of Mormonism but her research has since expanded to cover other aspects of Mormonism.   Brooke chose the University of Waterloo's program because of its unique focus on North America.  Brooke has an article coming out in the summer in the Journal of Mormon History and she recently had an article published on a blog devoted to Mormon research.  

Faculty News 

Trevor Bechtel speaking at his book launch

Trevor Bechtel who recently joined the Religious Studies Department and is the Dean of Conrad Grebel University College published a book, The Gift of Ethics in February.  His research areas include The human-animal relationship, creation, Biblical Theology, 20th century Anabaptist thought, theological and the ethical implications of technology. Trevor recently gave a talk called "Animals as peers, persons and peacebuilders" on March 26.