McGill’s Centre for Research on Religion/Centre de Recherche sur la Religion (CREOR) coordinates and supports research on the religions of the world, their differences and their common grounds, and how they contribute to a better understanding of past and present-day culture, ethics and politics.
CREOR also sponsors a lecture series open to the general public.
Initiative in Globalization and the World's Religions
Since October 2010, McGill’s School of Religious Studies has collaborated with the Tony Blair Faith Foundation (TBFF) to enhance worldwide understanding of the interrelationship between the world’s religions and globalization in both an academic and applied context through McGill’s Initiative in Globalization and the World's Religions. This initiative has led to the development of an interdisciplinary “Religion and Globalization” course (RELG 331), collaborated with leading international scholars for a lecture series at the Centre for Research on Religion (CREOR), and brought together professionals, public policy experts, and university students from a worldwide network of universities to study and discuss public policy issues related to religious minorities, religious freedom, religion and foreign affairs, and religion, education and security.
Montreal Religious Sites Project
Since the 1960s, when Canada changed its Immigration Laws and officially adopted a policy of multiculturalism, the visible minority population in the country has experienced extremely rapid growth. Canadian cities have become multicultural so suddenly that the public has not had a chance to develop an adequate understanding of the culture and religions of their new ethnic neighbours. The Montreal Religious Sites Project (MRSP) contributed to the public understanding of the new multicultural society in which we now live by documenting the religious sites of the ethnic and religious minorities in the city of Montreal. These included Hindu temples; Islamic mosques and centres; Buddhist temples and meditation centres; Sikh gurdwaras; Asian Christian churches; and non-Western new religious movements.
At one time, the sites of ethnic and religious minorities were considered either conservative islands which attempted to preserve ethnic culture or progressive ports which prepared immigrants to assimilate into Canadian culture. This dichotomy assumed that recently arrived immigrants were all making their way from an ethnic identity to a Canadian identity. MRSP demonstrated that, just as the world's religions adapt themselves to their new Canadian environment, Canadian society in turn is influenced by the world's religions.
The Montreal Religious Sites Project contributed to the emerging field of study of religious pluralism in Canada through documentation and analysis of religious sites in the city of Montreal. The Project began by developing and maintaining a databank of the sites of the newly arrived religions in Montreal. In addition, through ethnographic field research, the Project published a series of studies asking broader questions such as, "What constitutes Buddhism, Jainism, Islam, etc. in Canada and how is that religion being reshaped in a Canadian context?"
In an effort to balance its research interests with its responsibilities to the development of future scholars in this field of study and the religious communities themselves, the Project identified three main objectives for the Project: research of Canada’s transforming religious landscape, education for students to engage in research and administration of the Project, and outreach to encourage local religious communities to document their own histories and add their voices to the public square.