Humanities, Philosophy and Religion (HPR)

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

HPR is a department composed of interdisciplinary scholars who would like to introduce you to the world, to the past, and to yourself.  Humanities forms part of the General Education core which all students are required to complete, together with English, French and Physical Education.  We also offer first and second level courses in Philosophy and Religion for Social Science and the Arts, Literature & Communication program, as well as courses in the Arts & Sciences program.  Our Humanities course offerings come in three forms.

The first kind of Humanities class (World Views) focuses primarily upon the present.  In these classes, we will introduce you to the arts, media and politics of our world, and we will encourage you to learn about a foreign culture or look at your own culture more critically.

The second kind of Humanities class (Knowledge) focuses primarily upon the past.  In these classes, we will introduce you to some of the key texts, ideas, visions, and dilemmas that lie at the foundations of world civilizations.

The third kind of Humanities class (Ethics) focuses primarily upon the care of the self. In these classes, we will introduce you to practical and theoretical exercises which promote introspection, self-knowledge, and wellness.  In addition, the Ethics courses examine representation, ideology, racism, bioethics, the media, and the relationship between science, technology and society.

Though the study of the past, the present and the personal are naturally connected, we believe that our department’s strength lies in the diversity of our approaches to the human condition.

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
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 literatures 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

514-457-6610 ext. 5155

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

514-457-6610 ext. 5175

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