Humanities, Philosophy and Religion (HPR)

Welcome to the Department of Humanities, Philosophy and Religion (HPR)

“Humanities” is one of the General Education components of all programs, which students are required to complete, together with English, French, Physical Education and, in most programs, a Complementary component of two courses. The Department of Humanities, Philosophy, and Religion also offers first and second level courses in Philosophy and Religion for Social Science and the Arts, Literature & Communication programs, as well as courses in the Arts & Sciences and Liberal Arts programs.

Humanities course offerings come in three forms: Knowledge, World Views, and Ethical Issues.

“Knowledge” and “World Views” courses together constitute the introductory or 100-level component of Humanities courses which are concerned with the most basic and general aspects of being human.  These courses provide the background to the 200-level course on “Ethical Issues.”

The focus of study in Knowledge courses may be any appropriate field of knowledge. An appropriate field can be any serious body of knowledge relating to education, law, psychology, creativity, social behaviour, or other disciplines. Humanities courses approach each from an interdisciplinary perspective.

World views are understandings of reality shared by groups or societies defined or self-defined on the basis of common geography, economic status, gender, sexual orientation, ideology, history, religion, spirituality, political values, psychology, language, culture, (dis)ability, etc.

Ethical issues are understood to be questions of social and moral significance approached from a perspective that examines questions of valuing and the notions of good and bad. “Ethical Issues” courses are not meant to be introductions to ethical codes but rather to allow students to examine important questions of human morality as they relate to their respective fields of study and to apply an authentic critical thought process to the resolution of these issues.

Department Chairs

List of Department Chairs
Violaine Arès : Chair

Violaine Arès

514-457-6610 ext. 5176

Robert Collins : Co-Chair

Robert Collins

514-457-6610 ext. 5845

Roy Fu : Co-Chair

Roy Fu

514-457-6610 ext. 5006

Eric Laferrière : Co-Chair

Eric Laferrière

514-457-6610 ext 5178

Members of the Department

List of Faculty Members
Maude Riverin :

Maude Riverin

Continuing Education - Humanities 514-457-6610 ext 5175

Rossio Motta :

Rossio Motta

514-457-6610 ext 5583

Hicham Tiflati :

Hicham Tiflati

514-457-6610 ext 5702

Violaine Arès : Chair

Violaine Arès

514-457-6610 ext. 5176

David Austin :

David Austin

514-457-6610 ext. 5181

Mario Bellemare :

Mario Bellemare

514-457-6610 ext. 5711

Meredith Browne :

Meredith Browne

514-457-6610 ext. 5140
HA-105 Humanities, Philosophy, & Religion

Jenny Cockburn :

Jenny Cockburn

514-457-6610 ext. 5486

Robert Collins : Co-Chair

Robert Collins

514-457-6610 ext. 5845

Brandon Daniel-Hughes :

Brandon Daniel-Hughes

514-457-6610 ext. 5982

Brandon teaches religion and philosophy. His courses include World Religions, New Religious Movements, Religion, Body and Myth, Biblical Literacy, Religious Ethics and Ritual and Tradition. His research focuses on the American Pragmatic tradition, especially the work of Charles Sanders Peirce and the naturalist philosophical traditions that grow out of process and pragmatic thought.

Christine Davet : Retired

Christine Davet


Paul Di Stefano : Coordinator, Peace Studies & Social Justice

Paul Di Stefano

Coordinator, Peace Studies & Social Justice
514-457-6610 ext. 5180

Sylvain Duguay RIP :

Sylvain Duguay RIP

Born in a tiny village in the Charlevoix region, Sylvain Duguay starts his academic journey by enrolling in the Canadian Navy and exploring the world of pure and applied sciences at the Royal Military College of Canada, in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu and Kingston. He quickly discovers a passion for literature and the humanities and graduates from RMC with a BA in Études françaises. He then moves to Montreal and he completes a MA in Langue et littérature françaises at McGill. His PhD in Humanities, from Concordia, presents him with the opportunity to study questions of sexuality, gender, and identity as they are represented in theatre and film. A postdoctoral grant sees him join UQAM’s École supérieure de théâtre for a 2-year research project on multimedia theatre.

At John Abbott College since 2010, Sylvain encourages students to learn about themselves and the societies in which they live. He uses philosophy, cultural theory, science fiction, cinema, short stories, and a variety of other approaches to help students develop critical tools, and become more knowledgeable and more engaged citizens.

He is tall, and he likes to swim. He is also convinced that he has the best job in the world.

Sylvain was the victim of a tragic automobile accident in the Winter semester of 2017.  He is sorely missed by his students and colleagues.

Roy Fu : Co-Chair

Roy Fu

514-457-6610 ext. 5006

Sujata Ghosh :

Sujata Ghosh

514-457-6610 ext. 5151

Grell Grant :

Grell Grant

514-457-6610 ext. 5169
HA-211 Humanities, Philosophy, & Religion

John Faithful Hamer :

John Faithful Hamer

514-457-6610 ext. 5162

Karen Kaderavek : Retired

Karen Kaderavek


Eileen Kerwin-Jones : Coordinator, Women's Studies and Gender Relations

Eileen Kerwin-Jones

Coordinator, Women's Studies and Gender Relations
514-457-6610 ext. 5420

Eric Laferrière : Co-Chair HPR; Coordinator, Liberal Arts

Eric Laferrière

Co-Chair HPR; Coordinator, Liberal Arts
514-457-6610 ext. 5178
HA-101 Humanities, Philosophy, & Religion

Avery Larose :

Avery Larose

514-457-6610 ext. 5185

Alexa Leblanc :

Alexa Leblanc

514-457-6610 ext. 5721

Grace Cheng-Ying Lin :

Grace Cheng-Ying Lin

514-457-6610 ext. 5803

Debbie Lunny :

Debbie Lunny

514-457-6610 ext. 5159

Derek Maisonville : Coordinator, Indigenous Studies (formerly Aboriginal Studies)

Derek Maisonville

Coordinator, Indigenous Studies (formerly Aboriginal Studies)
514-457-6610 ext. 5495

Natalie Malo-Fletcher :

Natalie Malo-Fletcher

514-457-6610 ext. 5462

Maria Mamfredis : Coordinator, Liberal Arts

Maria Mamfredis

Coordinator, Liberal Arts
514-457-6610 ext. 5173

Mark McGuire :

Mark McGuire

514-457-6610 ext. 5166
HA-212 Humanities, Philosophy, & Religion

I have been teaching Humanities and religious studies courses at John Abbott since 2005 and was elected to the executive committee of the faculty union (JACFA) in 2012. I greatly value the warm and supportive community of faculty, staff and students. An experience with a Québec union delegation and our Venezuelan colleagues at the 2005 World Social Forum in Caracas had a significant impact on my teaching, engagement with, and general outlook on the world.

In 2006 I co-founded the campus sustainability initiative and sought to implement collaborative and participatory decision-making. Our latest project is the creation of a campus garden to reconnect to the food cycle, improve biodiversity and provide fresh produce to the campus food bank.

I make documentary films, write, read, cycle, garden, and spend as much time with my two children and partner as possible. A documentary film co-produced in Japan with Montreal filmmaker and friend Jean-Marc Abela ( has been screened at festivals and conferences worldwide. We were honoured with the 2011 David W. Plath educational media award from the American Anthropology Association. I am currently working on a new documentary about the impacts of inherited trauma across generations.

In my classes I try to increase awareness about the far-reaching consequences of daily choices (our ways of consuming, thinking, and habits of being in the world) and inspire students to become more fully engaged citizens who take the responsibilities and rights of civic life more seriously.


Documenting Myths: film, politics, citizenship Lost in Translation: Japan's hidden diversity À Table: Knowing What to Eat World Religions Integrating Activity in Arts and Culture (CALL Program)


B.A. in English/film, Davidson College
M.A. in Asian Studies, Cornell
Ph.D. in Religious studies, Concordia

Kelly McKinney :

Kelly McKinney

514-457-6610 ext. 5183

Michael Nafi :

Michael Nafi

514-457-6610 ext. 5193

Johanna Okker :

Johanna Okker

514-457-6610 ext. 5174

Steven Randall Sych : HA-112

Steven Randall Sych

514-457-6610 ext. 5742

Azra Rashid :

Azra Rashid

514-457-6610 ext. 5722

Carla Salvati :

Carla Salvati
Carla Salvati

Alberto Sanchez :

Alberto Sanchez

514 457 6610 ext 5989

Kathleen Donahue Sherwood :

Kathleen Donahue Sherwood

514-457-6610 ext. 5186

Candis Steenbergen :

Candis Steenbergen

514-457-6610 ext. 5712

Sandra Stephenson : Retired

Sandra Stephenson


Penny Stewart :

Penny Stewart


Irini Tsakiri :

Irini Tsakiri

514-457-6610 ext. 5179

Sarwat Viqar :

Sarwat Viqar

514-457-6610 ext. 5177

Hajra Waheed :

Hajra Waheed

514-457-6610 ext. 5426
On Leave

Alan Weiss :

Alan Weiss

514-457-6610 ext. 5172

Anna Woodrow :

Anna Woodrow

514-457-6610 ext. 5137
HA-107 Humanities, Philosophy, & Religion

Tom Young :

Tom Young

514-457-6610 ext. 5750


Humanities, as part of the general education component, is intended to promote personal and social development and to give students a foundation that will help them understand their roles in contemporary society as members of the work force, citizens and individuals. The three sets of objectives and standards in humanities propose common frameworks for understanding the experiences, ideas and values of humankind and their diversity. They are aimed at developing critical thinking, reinforcing the ancillary skills involved in careful reading, organized writing, and well-developed oral presentations, and, where appropriate, improving media and computer literacy. Once students have mastered the three-stage process of analysis, synthesis and evaluation, they will be able to reflect in an informed manner and to communicate what they have learned in an organized and coherent fashion.

For a detailed course offering, please visit the General Education (Humanities) section of the Course Calendar.

Supplemental Information

All cegep-level programs aim to “educate students to live responsibly in society”, “help students integrate cultural knowledge into their studies”, and “help students master language as a tool for thought, communication and openness to the world”. This involves the development of numerous skills, or “competencies”, such as problem-solving abilities, the use of creativity, the ability to adapt to new situations, the ability to exercise a sense of responsibility, and to communicate. According to the ministerial devis, students who have achieved the general education objectives in humanities:

– will be able to demonstrate their knowledge of the following:

  • the main concepts, limits and uses of a form of knowledge including significant historical reference points
  • the main concepts, limits and uses of a world view
  • the nature and organization of the basic elements of an ethical question
  • methods for coherent integration of concepts and the formulation and synthesis of ideas
  • the importance and practice of adequately substantiated argumentation, written and oral

– will be able to demonstrate their ability to do the following:

  • describe, explain and organize the main elements, ideas, values and implications of a world view in a coherent fashion
  • compare world views
  • recognize the basic elements in a specific example of the organization, transmission, and use of knowledge
  • recognize forms of creativity and original thought
  • define the dimensions, limits and uses of knowledge in appropriate historical contexts
  • identify, organize and synthesize the salient elements of a particular example of knowledge
  • situate important ethical and social issues in their appropriate historical and intellectual contexts
  • explain, analyze and debate ethical issues in a personal and professional context
  • utilize the multiple strategies of critical thinking

– will be encouraged to develop the following attitudes:

  • openness to diversity and pluralism
  • awareness of the limits of knowledge claims, world views and ethical perspectives
  • respect for the points of view of others
  • empathy and acceptance of others
  • concern for global issues
  • determination to continue learning