Biography

IMG_1483I was born in Montréal, Québec in 1984 and completed a college degree in Liberal Arts at John Abbott College in 2004. Before beginning my degree at Concordia University, I taught drama at a small high school on the Gaspé coast. I graduated with an honours degree in religious studies from Concordia University in 2008. My undergraduate thesis, supervised by Richard Foltz, examined religious responses to consumerism in India.

After my degree, I spent six months travelling in India. Perplexed by the ways practiced religion differed from the textual accounts I had studied as an undergraduate, it was in India that I developed my ongoing interest in the lived practice of religion ‘on the ground’ as opposed to its official representations in religious texts.

Next I enrolled in the religion in modernity and postmodernity masters degree program at Queen’s School of Religion. Working under the supervision of James Miller, my masters thesis examined the ways contemporary theories of religious change depend upon 19th and 20th century characterizations of religion that exclude this-worldly ‘magical’ practices by definition.

After finishing my master’s degree I taught high school English, History, and Ethics at a small Mohawk high school in Kanehsatake, Québec, where I later served as acting principal. Between 2007 and 2015 I also taught theatre classes and wrote three original plays for children with autism spectrum disorder and other social difficulties at the Montréal Children’s Theatre.

I enrolled in the cultural studies Ph.D. program at Queen’s in 2011 and completed my PhD in 2016. Working under the supervision of James Miller, my PhD research project examined the ways contemporary discourse surrounding secularization and disenchantment in Québec obscures the presence of marginal ‘superstitious’ beliefs, behaviours, and objects. I am currently a Flora Jane Baker postdoctoral research fellow at the Queen’s School of Religion.

Ian Cuthbertson’s CV