The faculty and students involved in the Initiative in Globalization and the World's Religions are engaged in a wide range of research projects, transforming the way religion can be studied and discussed across the university and the globe.  McGill’s own world-renowned scholars, doctoral candidates, and undergraduates alike are defining what will be the best practices and approaches to this emerging discipline as religion becomes a more important player and influence in world affairs.

Topics covered within the RELG 331 have included human rights, the environment, bioethics and international development. 

Professors Ellen Aitken and Daniel Cere lead the Initiative's course offerings and oversee related teaching opportunities.  Graduate students involved in the Initiative have come from diverse disciplines at McGill, including Islamic Studies, Education, and Law.  Their doctoral dissertations have discussed religion and bioethics, women’s equality in Islam, Hindu nationalism, and the human rights of children.  For more information on completed M.A. and Ph.D. theses, click here.  For theses in progress, click here.

Graduate Student Conferences:

2012 McGill-CREOR Graduate Students' Conference, 19 October at 5:00 p.m., Birks Heritage Chapel  
20 October, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Thompson House
Personhood, Practice, and Transformation: Classical and Contemporary Perspectives

2010 McGill-CREOR Graduate Students' Conference, 26-27 March
Sites of Transformation: New Perspectives on Religion as Revolution

2009 McGill-CREOR Graduate Students' Conference, 13-14 March
Performing Self and Community: New Perspectives on Ritual Practice

2008 McGill-CREOR Graduate Students' Conference, 7 March
Breaking Out of Subjectivity: Contemporary Challenges in the Study of Religion


Graduate Student Profiles:

The Religion and Globalization undergraduate course (RELG 331) offers doctoral students in a variety of fields the opportunity to participate as Teaching Fellows.  Below are a few of our outstanding Fellows from the first three years of the course.



Roxanne Desforges is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Education. She has a Masters degree in Educational Studies and an undergraduate degree in Philosophy. Professionally, she has taught at the secondary school level in Quebec, Canada. Roxanne’s educational and professional backgrounds heavily guide her research interests, as they are primarily focused on questions relating to the philosophy of education. What is the role of education for society and, more specifically, what role can education play in facilitating contemporary public life are two of the broad questions that underlie her work. Her current research uses the notion of ‘civic virtue’ to evaluate citizenship education practices related to Quebec’s Ethics and Religious Culture program. Civic virtues such as respect for others, openness and a propensity for dialogue are among those that are believed to enable an individual to make positive contributions to civic life in pluralistic societies. Whether or not Quebec civic education actually succeeds in facilitating the cultivation of these civic virtues in students is the question at the heart of her investigation. As the Education module leader for the Religion and Globalization course, Roxanne explored the Ethics and Religious Culture program initiated in 2008 in response to the increasingly globalized nature of Quebec society.

Sarah J DesRoches


Sarah J. DesRoches is a Ph.D candidate specializing in Philosophy of Education in the Department of Integrated Studies in Education at McGill University; she facilitated the Education module of the Religion and Globalization course for two consecutive years.  Her research uses philosophical and qualitative inquiry to examine the issues that arise at the intersection of Québec’s Intercultural policy, the Québec Education Programme and history teachers’ practice. In particular, her research examines the impact of Québec’s intercultural approach to cultural diversity and how it shapes history education in this province.

Interculturalism was also a touchstone in the Education Module. In this module, students considered specific educational responses to religious diversity in a globalized world. The module provided an overview of the issues associated with teaching religion from interfaith and intercultural perspectives. Students examined specific case studies that illustrate how various educational theorists and curriculum developers approach the reality of religious diversity, particularly from the perspective of secular liberal democracies. The module also focused on the newly implemented Ethics and Religious Cultures program (ERC) in Québec. Specifically, it touched on how Québec’s entrenched historical relationship with Roman Catholicism contributed to the conception and implementation of the ERC.



Juli L. Gittinger is a PhD student in the Faculty of Religious Studies at McGill University and has participated in the Faith and Globalization Initiative since 2011. Her research is in the area of modern Hinduism, with particular attention to Hindu nationalism, religious extremism, communal tensions, and secularism in India. She led the ‘Religion and Conflict’ module in the Religion and Globalization course, which examined the (then) burgeoning Arab Spring and the role of social media in mitigation and/or acceleration of religious violence in Egypt. The module also examined the role of ‘saffron terror’ in India, which discussed the conflation of Hinduism with non-violence in globalized discourses and why religious violence seems contrary to these discourses.

Juli also was a member of the teaching team for an intensive 2-week course on Human Rights and Religious Minorities. The seminar was hosted at McGill and had students from FGI partner universities around the world. Working alongside members of the Faculty and distinguished guests connected to the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, the course dealt with themes of intolerance, religious jurisprudence, women’s rights, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 


Narcedalia Garza


Narcedalia Lozano Garza is a graduate from TEC de Monterrey (2003) in Monterrey, Mexico where she obtained her BA in International Relations.  She is currently a Vanier Canada Scholar and a Ph.D. candidate at McGill University in the Department of Political Science.  Her thesis title is Education for Peace and Social Change.

She is also the Founder of La Paz Comienza con los Ninos A.C./Peace Begins with Children Foundation.  Since 2000, this non-profit has aimed at creating alliances, research and practices to build a culture of peace through the arts, science and sports. In partnership with the International Education for Peace Institute, it has helped 12,854 children with the support of 4,021 volunteers in Mexico and plans to further expand into schools in all states in Mexico in March 2013. (

Narcedalia is a member of the Canadian Peace Research Association. She has recently presented papers for CALACS in 2012, for the Congress of Humanities and Social Science in 2011 and 2012 and for the Centre for International Peace and Security Studies CIPSS in 2011 and 2012.

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