Dr. Michel Desjardins
Associate Dean, Research and Curriculum, Faculty of Arts
Professor, Department of Religion and Culture
Contact InformationEmail: email@example.com
Phone: 519-884-0710 ext.3323
Office Location: DAWB 2-112
B. A. (University of Alberta); M.A. (University of British Columbia); Ph.D. (University of Toronto)
I’ve taught and published in the areas of comparative religions, early Christianity, the academic study of religion, and the scholarship on teaching and learning. I’ve served on boards and executive committees of several academic societies, including the Canadian Society for the Study of Religion, the American Academy of Religion, the Canadian Corporation for Studies in Religion, and the Canadian Federation of the Humanities and Social Sciences. I’m passionate about undergraduate teaching, and honoured to be advising and supervising several graduate student research projects.
Current research interests
Two areas of research now captivate me most: the role that food plays in people’s spiritual lives, and university programs that foster learning by sending students abroad.
I’ve conducted much of my food and spirituality research with my wife Ellen (a nutritionist and geographer), and over the last seven years our field work has taken us to countries and communities around the world, and across this country. This past year we spent two months in the SW mountains of China learning about food culture in aboriginal communities there. We’re in the process of writing a major study on this topic.
Over the last three years I’ve also worked closely with Joanne Benham Rennick (Contemporary Studies, Brantford) on a teaching-related issue: what values are embedded in academic programs that encourage learning outside the country, e.g., through volunteering or taking courses abroad? We’ve facilitated conversations on this topic with faculty and staff from across Canada, and we’re about to publish an edited book that will break new ground in Canada.
Recent publications (selected)
The World is my Classroom: Priorities for Globalizing Canadian Higher Education, with Joanne Benham Rennick. (forthcoming)
Tradition and Formation: Claiming an Inheritance. Essays in Honour of Peter Erb, with Harold Remus. Kitchener: Pandora Press, 2008
“The Role of Food in Canadian Forms of Christianity: Continuity and Change,” with Ellen Desjardins, in Edible Histories, Cultural Politics: Towards a Canadian Food History, eds. Franca Iacovetta, Valerie Korinek, and Marlene Epp, [pp. 116-132]. Toronto: University of Toronto Press (forthcoming)
“Imagining Jesus, with Food,” in Ambiguities, Complexities and Half-Forgotten Adversaries: Crossing Boundaries in Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity, eds. Kimberley Stratton and Andrea Lieber. Leiden: Brill (forthcoming)
“Religious Studies that Really Schmecks: Introducing Food to the Academic Study of Religion,” in Failure and Nerve in the Study of Religion, eds. William Arnal, Willi Braun and Russell McCutcheon. London: Equinox, 2012
“Training the Next Generation of Teachers of Religious Studies: A Canadian Case Study,” Religion 41/2: (2011): 159-168
“Studies in Religion/Sciences religieuses: A Forty-year Retrospective,” in Studies in Religion/Sciences religieuses 40/1 (2011): 7-19
“Food that Builds Community: The Sikh Langar in Canada,” with Ellen Desjardins, in Cuizine: The Journal of Canadian Food Cultures / Revue des cultures culinaires au Canada 1/2 (2009): http://www.erudit.org/revue/cuizine/2009/v1/n2/037851ar.html
3M Teaching Fellow (one of ten Canada-wide teaching awards, selected by the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education), 2001
Wilfrid Laurier University’s Award for Teaching Excellence, 2001
University of Toronto Undergraduate Teaching Award, 1991