Welcome Message from Chair Pamela Klassen

Pamela Klassen Chair Department for the Study of Religion Welcome to the Department for the Study of Religion (DSR) at the University of Toronto! The largest religious studies department in Canada with an international reputation for excellence, we are a diverse community of professors, graduate students, undergraduate students, and staff focused on thinking critically and creatively about how religion is at work in the world, past and present. I became Chair this past July (2020) to find myself leading the DSR at a time of great transition and challenge for research, teaching, learning, and community engagement. Nevertheless, I am optimistic about our collective ability to revitalize our undergraduate programs and maintain and improve the excellence of our graduate programs, while fostering the pathbreaking, transformative research of our faculty and students. If you want to learn more about my research and that of my students, please visit my website.

We all have much to learn in our digital, pandemic moment, as we teach, research, and communicate almost exclusively online. Some of us are engaging in new ways with digital humanities research projects; we are all finding elements of online teaching that spark new insights. COVID-19 has also exacerbated the inequities of our society, reinforcing the need for anti-racist practices and systems that support Black and Indigenous people in the university and in our department. When we come to the other side of this pandemic, my hope is that the Department for the Study of Religion will be a renewed place of vibrant community and intellectual exchange where we meet in person in the lounge and seminar rooms, ready to welcome new students and guests. I also hope that we will emerge with renewed commitments to sharing research and teaching students in ways that demonstrate the vitality and necessity of the study of religion for understanding, critiquing, and positively transforming the world around us.