2022 Spring DSR Newsletter: New Faculty & Other Appointments


Faculty, postdocs, tenure and administrative appointments.


New Faculty

Nyasha Junior

Nyasha Junior joins us as Associate Professor on July 1, 2022. Her academic interests lie in the intersections of religion, race and gender, and her current research is on 19th-century writer and African Methodist Episcopal Church preacher Jarena Lee. 

Jeremy Schipper

We also welcome Jeremy Schipper on July 1, 2022, as Professor. Jeremy's research focuses on the Hebrew Bible and issues of disability and race. 

Faculty Appointments

Simon Coleman

As of June 30, 2022, Professor Simon Coleman will be stepping down as the DSR Associate Chair, Undergraduate, a position he has held since July 1, 2020, and taking a well-deserved sabbatical at Cambridge University. Over these past two years, Simon has accomplished a remarkable revitalization of our undergraduate programs and course offerings, while also helping faculty and students to navigate teaching and learning during the pandemic. Working collaboratively and tirelessly to create the conditions for effective teaching, student engagement, and enrolment growth, Simon has built a very strong foundation for continued success in the DSR’s undergraduate classrooms and programs.

Professor Srilata Raman has agreed to serve as the DSR’s next Associate Chair, Undergraduate, for a three-year term beginning July 1, 2022. To enable Professor Raman to take up the award of a Jackman Humanities Institute Fellowship, Professor Laura Beth Bugg has agreed to serve as the Acting Associate Chair, Undergraduate from January 1-June 30, 2023. Laura Beth has been serving as the First-Year Liaison, bringing together faculty and students involved in our first-year courses, as well as taking a leading role in re-establishing our Religion in the Public Sphere Community-Engaged Learning course.

Robert Gibbs and Pamela Klassen

Professor Robert Gibbs will serve as Acting Chair and Acting Graduate Chair of the DSR from July 1, 2022-June 30, 2023. Professor Pamela Klassen is on leave for the 2022-23 academic year from her roles as DSR Chair and Graduate Chair, to take up the William Lyon Mackenzie King Chair at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University.

Alexander Hampton

Alexander Hampton will be continuing with the DSR this coming year as Assistant Professor, in a part-time position.  

SeungJung Kim

Professor SeungJung Kim has been appointed Director of the Robert H.N. Ho Family Foundation Centre for Buddhist Studies, from January 1, 2022 to December 31, 2026. In other good news, Professor Chris Fraser, the Richard Charles and Esther Yewpick Lee Chair in Chinese Thought and Culture (Philosophy/East Asian Studies), will be the Acting Director of the Robert H.N. Ho Family Foundation for Buddhist Studies from May 1, 2022-April 30, 2023. Professor Fraser has kindly agreed to take on this role while the current Director, Professor SeungJung Kim, is on parental leave.

John Kloppenborg

University Professor John Kloppenborg has been selected as the president for the 2023 Colloquium Biblicum Lovaniense LXXII, at the KU Leuven in July 2023. The topic is Early Christianity in Civic Space and will feature papers in English, German,and French from experts in Mediterranean antiquity and cities of the ancient world.

Nada Moumtaz

Congratulations to Nada Moumtaz on being granted tenure and promoted to Associate Professor as of July 1, 2022. Earlier in the spring, Nada also received the School of Graduate Studies Early Career Supervision Award. → Read more

Srilata Raman

Congratulations go to Srilata Raman, who has been promoted to Full Professor as of July 1, 2022.

Karen Ruffle

Congratulations are also in order for Karen Ruffle, who has been promoted to Full Professor as of July 1, 2022.

Other Appointments

Kalpesh Bhatt

PhD candidate Kalpesh Bhatt has been appointed to a tenure track position as Assistant Professor in Asian Religions at the University of Mary Washington. Kalpesh is excited about the excellent teaching and research opportunities he will enjoy, including at the Leidecker Center for Asian Studies and the Khatib Program in Religion and Dialogue.

Amin Mansouri

As of September 2022, PhD candidate Amin Mansouri will become assistant professor in the History Department of Central Washington University, specializing in the pre-1500 Islamicate World. He will establish their Islamic studies program with a focus on the Middle East and North Africa. Amin says he is “grateful and thankful for the support from many amazing people in the DSR.” Amin has also become the book reviewer for the Journal of the Muhyiddin Ibn Arabi Society, monitoring new scholarship in the field. 

Postdoctoral Fellows

Judith Brunton

PhD candidate Judith Brunton will be joining Harvard University’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs as the William Lyon Mackenzie King Postdoctoral Fellow. While at Harvard, Judith will be working on a book project based on her dissertation, an ethno-historical study of how oil and religion are entangled in Alberta to create narratives about the good life. She will also begin her next project, which looks at ritual practices, hauntings, and beliefs surrounding ghost towns and abandoned extractive infrastructure in the North American West.

Isaiah Ellis

Dr. Isaiah Ellis joins us in September 2022 as an Arts & Science Postdoctoral Fellow, working with Pamela Klassen. Isaiah received his PhD in Religion and Culture from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, with a focus on religion and road-building—or the “gospel of good roads”—in the US. More broadly, his research focuses on material culture, architecture, urbanism, and theory and method in the study of American religion. While at U of T, he will be working on his first book project, which examines the religious politics of infrastructure in the American South.

Michael Ium

Michael Ium will join us as DSR/Ho Centre postdoctoral fellow in the fall. Michael was born in Toronto to immigrant parents from South Korea, with most of his upbringing in Scarborough. Along with a bachelor's degree from the University of Toronto, Michael has master's degrees from Maitripa College and the University of California, Santa Barbara, and will complete his PhD in Religious Studies at UCSB this summer. Michael is primarily a historian of religion with specialties in Tibet and South Asia. Under the guidance of his advisor José Cabezón, the focus of his dissertation is the early history of Ganden Monastery in Tibet and how that history impacted the construction of the Geluk tradition. He recently spent two years in Nepal and South India translating dozens of classical TIbetan texts related to his dissertation. At U of T, along with refining his dissertation into a monograph, he plans to lay the seeds for a second project on prophecy in Tibet, as well as to contribute to some of the exciting content-development projects happening in the Ho Centre. As he returns to Toronto, Michael is excited to spend time with his family, and to cheer on the Maple Leafs, Raptors, and Blue Jays in person once again.     

Alana Sa Leitao Souza

From December 2022 we welcome Alana Sá Leitão Souza as an Arts & Science Postdoctoral Fellow, working with Professor Simon Coleman. Alana comes to us from the Universidade Federal de Pernambuco but is already well known to many in the DSR, as she has already been a visiting doctoral student here. Her dissertation was about the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, one of the biggest and most powerful Pentecostal churches in Brazil, and her postdoc project aims to develop a framework for the ethnographic, methodological and analytical comparison of Pentecostal activities in different parts of the world.   

Tony Scott

PhD candidate Tony Scott has been awarded a Faculty of Arts & Science postdoctoral fellowship to work on his project, “The Buddhist Battlefield for the Future of Burma: Political Struggle and Religion in Twentieth-century Southeast Asia,” supervised by Professor Matthew Walton in the Department for Political Science. The project will track vernacular debates about Buddhism and politics in Burmese newspapers and short stories from the 1930s to the 1960s to understand how Buddhism was a vector in ideological struggles between socialist, communist, and capitalist factions in the country, revealing the ways in which Theravada Buddhism became a major player in the Cold War geopolitics of the region and beyond.   

Suzanne van Geuns

PhD candidate and Schwartz Reisman Institute Fellow Suzanne van Geuns will be joining Princeton University’s Center for Culture, Society and Religion as a Postdoctoral Research Associate in Fall 2022. She plans to create a methodological toolkit to help graduate students and faculty apply their expertise to social debates about internet culture and infrastructure. This toolkit emerges from her research on the rightwing internet, from conservative Evangelical mommy bloggers to discussion boards dedicated to racist science.



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