2024 Spring Roundup DSR Newsletter

Message from the Chair and Graduate Chair, Professor Pamela Klassen, FRSC

Pamela KlassenWelcome to the Spring Roundup 2024 edition of the Department for the Study of Religion Newsletter, sharing highlights of the latest research and teaching accomplishments in the DSR. In early May, the DSR was filled with visiting researchers from around the world, as we hosted the annual conference of the Eastern International Region of the American Academy of Religion. As the first big conference we’ve hosted since the pandemic began, it was wonderful to see and hear the department buzzing with ideas and conversations. 

The revitalization of the DSR undergraduate program continues apace, with more and more students finding our courses and becoming majors and minors. The Religion Undergraduate Student Association (RUSA) has played a crucial role as partners in this revitalization—a big thank you to them! Find out more about RUSA in the Q&A with Kayla Klanreungsang. We proudly celebrated the graduations of many PhD, MA and undergraduate students in June, and you can read more about graduates and alumni throughout the newsletter. 

Looking ahead, we are making plans for celebrating the 50th anniversaries of the two institutions that combined to become the Department for the Study of Religion of today: the undergraduate Department of Religious Studies founded in 1975 and the establishment of our graduate program as the Centre for the Study of Religion in 1976. Current DSR grad students have been researching the history of the department to share in publications and exhibits, and we will have public events and a party in 2025-26. If you have memories or memorabilia to share, please let us know! 

Over 2024-25, the common spaces in DSR will be undergoing renovation so that we can better host events in our seminar rooms and lounge—including the anniversary events. This will include the building of a new undergraduate student-friendly lounge to provide a space for students to relax and gather with others. 

We are very grateful for the generosity of DSR donors who help us to move forward our mission of supporting innovative and transformative research and teaching in the study of religion—every gift, regardless of the size, goes directly to student or programming support. This year, the DSR is particularly grateful to Bryan Levman and Rosi Levman, who have now fully endowed the Bill and Belle Levman Graduate Award in support of students who are undertaking Buddhist Studies, with a focus on Pali or Theravada Buddhism. If you would like to learn more about gifts to the DSR, please be in touch. 

I wish you the best this summer, no matter where you are! 

— Pamela Klassen, FRSC
Professor, Chair & Graduate Chair, Department for the Study of Religion



Naomi Seidman / book cover

The Write Stuff
Books, articles, podcasts and more, by and about our faculty, postdocs and students.
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Kevin O'Neill

Honours, Awards & Appointments
DSR members’ prizes, accolades, and appearances.
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Rory Lindsay

Saving the Dead
Rory Lindsay in conversation about his new book, which explores religious and cultural aspects of funerary rites in Tibetan Buddhism.
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Stange-Heckman-Carawana composite portrait

Roads (to and) from the DSR
We take a look at some of our graduates’ career paths in the first chapters of a new series on life after the DSR.
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Kayla Klanreungsang

Undergraduate Spotlight
Newly-minted BA and outgoing RUSA president Kayla Klanreungsang reflects on her experiences and the study of religion. 
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In the Works
An update on various projects that we’re working on, including our special Alumni & Friends Lecture from Harvard's Cécile Fromont. 
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DSR graduates

Spring 2024 Grads & Award Winners
We are proud to celebrate the convocation of our latest graduates!
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DSR hallway

Our Community
We bring you news and updates on DSR alumni and friends. 
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