Projects Underway

FOCAL AREA: EDUCATION

How do we teach religion in post-Christian, diverse societies?

This project examines how religious education in schools is changing within highly diverse and nonreligion majority countries, including the United Kingdom, Canada, and Brazil. Some of the guiding research questions in this project are: how schools, teachers, and religious education curricula imagine the “good citizen” and “common ground” through shared values; whether nonreligion is taken into account in religious education; what is considered acceptable as nonreligion or religion/spirituality; and how religion, nonreligion, and values intersect in these contexts.

The Education team currently has 5 subprojects underway, which involve analyzing school websites in Canada and Great Britain and conducting a case study of innovative teaching training curricula in Paraná, Brazil.

Led by: Linda Woodhead, Paula Montero, Solange Lefebvre

Working Group: Henrique Antunes (post-doc), Charlotte Hobson (research assistant), Guilherme Borges (research assistant),  Joseph Mikhael (research assistant), Mathieu Colin (contributor)

Project Proposal

Literature Review

Project Design

Data Collection

Data Analysis

Completed Project

FOCAL AREA: ENVIRONMENT

Community Gardens

Community gardens are often the product of intentional communities creating spaces and relationships that aim to create changed or new ways of relating to each other and to nature. This project examines the nature of these relationships and considers how nonreligion and religion play out in their formation. The project also uses ‘community gardens’ in the broadest possible sense in order to think about issues like food security, food sovereignty and urban agriculture and more complex relationships like negotiating cultural difference, zoning and land use policies, community ownership, and the connection between land and racial justice.

This year, the Community Gardens team has been conducting interviews at community gardens in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Finland, Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The Community Gardens team is developing a shared coding frame and will begin coding and analysing the interview data in the next couple of weeks.

Led by: Douglas Ezzy, Lori Beaman

Working Group: Ryan Cragun (co-investigator), Rebecca Banham (post-doc), Mathilde Vanesse Pelletier (post-doc), Alex McArthur (research assistant), Emma Corbett (research assistant), Giovanna Paccillo (research assistant), Guadalupe Allione Riba (research assistant), Hugo Martinez (research assistant), Iriana Sartor (research assistant), Kendall Stephenson (research assistant), Lauren Strumos (research assistant), Zach Munro (research assistant), Anna Salonen (contributor)

Project Proposal

Literature Review

Project Design

Data Collection

Data Analysis

Completed Project

FOCAL AREA: ENVIRONMENT

Experiencing Nature During Physical Activities

This project takes hiking (trekking, walking, rambling) as its entry point with the purpose of examining how people understand their relationship to each other, nature and non-human animals. The project explores the experiences people have when they are hiking, how they make sense of them, whether or not these experiences prompt changes in their worldviews, and what this tells us about the constructions and boundaries of religious and nonreligious identities.

This year, the Trekking team launched surveys in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Finland, Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Response rates were excellent (with a bit of healthy competition between our research sites to see who could recruit the most participants). Surveys have now closed in most countries, with the Trekking team preparing to interview select survey participants and analyze their survey data.

Led by: Ryan Cragun, Douglas Ezzy, Lori Beaman

Working Group: Mathilde Vanesse-Pelletier (post-doc), Rebecca Banham (post-doc), Deniz Yildiz (research assistant), Giovanna Paccillo (research assistant), Guadalupe Allione Riba (research assistant), Lauren Strumos (research assistant), Misha Hoo (research assistant), Netta Ronnigen (research assistant), Sohini Ganguly (research assistant), Wendy Wang (research assistant), Kati Tervo-Niemelä (collaborator)

Project Proposal

Literature Review

Project Design

Data Collection

Data Analysis

Completed Project

FOCAL AREA: HEALTH

Death and Dying

Religion has been an important force in shaping understandings of the meaning of death, narratives and practices around dying, and legal approaches to issues such as assisted dying. The new (non)religious landscape has the potential to reshape these understandings and prompt the reconceptualization of life and death. This series of projects aims to examine the changing social practices related to five areas: palliative care, death cafés, medically assisted dying, obituaries/funerals and national narratives of dying. The NCF currently has two subprojects under way in this focal area: Death Cafés and Obituaries.

Death Cafés: The Death and Dying team completed a preliminary analysis of death café websites, and is preparing to interview death café facilitators and to conduct focus groups with people who have participated in death cafés.

Obituaries: The Death and Dying team is conducting a comparative discourse analysis of obituaries from 1900-present across different regions of Canada, exploring how narratives of death change over time. Data collection is currently underway.

Led by: Lori Beaman

Working Group: Juan Marco Vaggione (co-investigator), Ryan Cragun (co-investigator), Aashikaa Srinivasan (research assistant), Achintya Shree Vijay Sai (research assistant), Hannah McKillop (research assistant), Muhammedh Jabir Ali (research assistant), Sohini Ganguly (research assistant), Wendy Wang (research assistant), Zach Munro (research assistant), Brian Clarke (collaborator), Margit Warburg (contributor)

Project Proposal

Literature Review

Project Design

Data Collection

Data Analysis

Completed Project

FOCAL AREA: LAW

Legal Constructions of Religion and Nonreligion

This projects explores how religion and nonreligion appear in the context of law and legal debates, including how they are constructed (defined, represented, and applied) through the lens of public and legal controversies including same sex marriage, reproductive rights, medical assistance in dying, and covid-19 restrictions.

This year, the Law team chose the legalization of same sex marriage as their research focus, gathering documents and conducting a discourse analysis on parliamentary debates and legal cases in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, the Nordic countries, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The Law team is now analyzing their data and comparing their findings across countries.

Led by: Paula Montero, Juan Marco Vaggione, Lori Beaman

Working Group: Rebecca Banham (post-doc), Maximiliano Campana (post-doc), Cory Steele (research assistant), Emily Kohn (research assistant), Guadalupe Allione Riba (research assistant), Guilherme Borges (research assistant), Stian Alexander Skandsen (research assistant), Vanessa Warren (research assistant), Camila Nicácio (contributor), Helge Årsheim (contributor), Hugo Rabbia (contributor), Karoline Marie Donskov Dige (contributor), Lene Kühle (contributor)

Project Proposal

Literature Review

Project Design

Data Collection

Data Analysis

Completed Project

FOCAL AREA: MIGRATION

Cultural and Social Values in Canada

This project is constructing a survey instrument to better identify nonreligion positively – that is, examining what nonreligion is rather than what it is not. With this aim, the survey instrument explores peoples’ personal cultural and social values, including attitudes and behaviours on ethical questions and orientations towards politics, science, law, education, and life’s meaning. It also examines people’s involvement with religion, spirituality, and their identification with nonreligious labels such as atheism, agnosticism, humanism, etc.

This year, the Cultural and Social Values Survey team successfully completed a pilot survey in Canada and is in the process of data analysis. The team has developed surveys for Argentina and the United States, with surveys for Norway and Australia currently under development.

Led by: Peter Beyer, Inger Furseth

Working Group: Alyshea Cummins (post-doc), Maximiliano Campana (post-doc), Emily Kohn (research assistant), Guilherme Borges (research assistant), Helena Manfrinato (research assistant), Iriana Sartor (research assistant), Mehmet Basak (research assistant), Muhammedh Jabir Ali (research assistant), Sana Patel (research assistant), Stian Alexander Skandsen (research assistant), Geraldine Smith (research assistant), Amelie Barras (collaborator), Hugo Rabbia (contributor), Jenn Selby (contributor), Karoline Marie Donskov Dige (contributor)

Project Proposal

Literature Review

Project Design

Data Collection

Data Analysis

Completed Project

FOCAL AREA: MIGRATION

Framing of Migrants’ Nonreligious Identities

This project explores how nonreligion is constructed in the context of migrants’ settlement, including how the religious and nonreligious identies of migrants are framed in public policies and debates and how nonreligious migrants navigate nonreligous identities. The project examines how factors such as public assumptions about the religiosity of migrants, religious contexts in countries of origin and host countries, and ideas of community and belonging play a role in this construction.

This year, the Migration team turned their attention to refugee receiving organizations, exploring how religion can shape and even obscure nonreligion and nonreligious identities in these contexts. The team completed their literature review and project plan, developed interview guides, and is preparing to launch interviews with administrative staff at refugee receiving organizations in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, the Nordic countries, and the United States.

Led by: Peter Beyer, Inger Furseth

Working Group: Alyshea Cummins (post-doc), Maximiliano Campana (post-doc), Emily Kohn (research assistant), Guilherme Borges (research assistant), Helena Manfrinato (research assistant), Iriana Sartor (research assistant), Mehmet Basak (research assistant), Muhammedh Jabir Ali (research assistant), Sana Patel (research assistant), Stian Alexander Skandsen (research assistant), Geraldine Smith (research assistant), Amelie Barras (collaborator), Hugo Rabbia (contributor), Jenn Selby (contributor), Karoline Marie Donskov Dige (contributor)

Project Proposal

Literature Review

Project Design

Data Collection

Data Analysis

Completed Project

For more information on the projects, contact Emma Robinson (Project Manager) at erobins3@uottawa.ca.