100 years of religious study 

By Karen Herland

Laurie Lamoureux-Scholes Magnifying glass

Laurie Lamoureux-Scholes

The American Academy of Religion is celebrating its centennial at its annual meeting in Montreal next week and PhD student and lecturer Laurie Lamoureux-Scholes has worked hard to make the most of what she sees as an entirely appropriate location for the milestone.

With several related departments in four institutions, “we’re the second-largest centre for religious studies in North America, after Chicago,” said Lamoureux-Scholes.

She began organizing in 2007 with the support of religion professor Donald Boisvert and department chair Lynda Clarke to coordinate an extremely active Montreal venue committee to showcase the work done here. The committee brought together 30 researchers from across six institutions.

“We created interesting ties between different departments,” said Lamoureux-Scholes, adding the committee met at least once at each institution. The experience has led to great opportunities for networking amongst scholars, and a strong local presence at the Nov. 7 to 10 conference with over 5 500 anticipated delegates.

A key element of the conference this year will be a special series on Religion in Quebec, with 17 special panels featuring Quebec and Ontario researchers. A major component of the series will be a presentation by Charles Taylor and Gérard Bouchard.

“It’s going to be amazing to hear what they have to say,” said Lamoureux-Scholes. “This is the first time they are going to be speaking as scholars, and they have had 16 months to reflect on the process.”

The series was just one of the proposals made by the local venue committee. They also have produced a pamphlet outlining the specific religion programs available in Montreal. The information will be included in each delegate’s package.

The venue committee will host a few films, local tours of religious sites, and has helped coordinate performances by the Sweetgrass Singers and a Southeast Asian dance troupe.

“The AAR programming committee was really impressed by our suggestions. Usually the venue committee just suggests local restaurants.”

Several Concordia grad students and professors will be presenting during the conference, both within the context of the Religion in Quebec series and in the larger conference.

For more:
The American Academy of Religion
About the local programming


Concordia University