The Religion and Diversity Project


The Religion and Diversity Project

The Religion and Diversity Project was a $2.5 million, 7 year Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) funded Major Collaborative Research Initiative (MCRI) housed at the University of Ottawa (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada).

The project addressed the following question:

– What are the contours of religious diversity in Canada and how can we best respond to the opportunities and challenges presented by religious diversity in ways that promote a just and peaceful society?

Specifically, the project investigated the following questions:

– How are religious identities socially constructed?
– How is religious expression defined and delimited in law and public policy?
– How and why do gender and sexuality act as flashpoints in debates on religious freedom?
– What are alternative strategies for managing religious diversity?

The project’s main contribution was to identify in detail the contours of religious diversity in Canada and the potential benefits of approaches to diversity that promote substantive or deep equality and move beyond tolerance and accommodation.

Our comparative research placed Canada in the context of other Western democracies and identifies global patterns in responses to religious diversity. Our research provides new data and theoretical articulations concerning religious diversity. This research program presented diversity not primarily as a problem, but as a resource and to propose strategies for equality that will advance knowledge and enhance public policy decision-making.

In order to achieve its goals, the project brought together 37 team members from over 20 universities across the globe and also included over 100 student team members and postdoctoral fellows. It boasted a number of important partners and stakeholders and has established links with research associates.


  • Address: University of Ottawa, Department of Classics and Religious Studies, 55 Laurier Ave. East, Ottawa, ON K1N 6N5, Canada
  • Phone: +1 613 562 5800 ext. 2662
  • Website:

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