AGIC 2016 Organizing Committee
Joseph E. Brito, President: Joseph is a PhD student in the Department of Religion. His current research interest focuses on textual variants found in the duplicate tractates of the Nag Hammadi library, applying theories from the fields of Cognitive Neurolinguistics and Scribal Practices in Northern Egypt from the Late Antiquity period. He has a BTh and MA from the Université de Montréal in the field of Theology, as well as partial studies in English literature and Humanities. Other fields of interest include Early Christian Apocryphal literature, as well as Pre-Nicean Christianities on matters of “identity”, martyrdom, as well as scriptures and authority.
Elyse MacLeod, Communications Officer: Elyse holds a BA in English Literature and Religious Studies from Concordia University, and is currently pursuing her MA in the History and Philosophy of Religion. Her areas of study include Continental Philosophy, Critical Theory and Post-Structuralist thought; in particular, with a view to how these ways of thinking can aid in inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue. Her MA thesis, “Accommodation via Understanding”, seeks to apply the philosophical hermeneutics of Hans Georg Gadamer to the Québec accommodation crisis. As communications officer, Elyse will be handling communications and correspondence related to the conference.
Georgia Carter, Communications Officer: Georgia holds a BA in Honours Asian Religions from McGill University, and is currently pursuing her MA in the History and Philosophy of Religion programme at Concordia University. Focusing her current research on performance and religious identity in contemporary Islam, Georgia’s research interests include gender and sexuality in religion, material culture, performativity practices and ritual, diaspora studies, identity formation, and inter-religious dialogue and relationship building. Georgia also works as the Executive Book Review Editor for the Journal of Religion and Culture (JRC) at Concordia University. Applying her experience as an analytical reader to her editing and proof-reading, Georgia works jointly with Elyse MacLeod as a Communications Officer for the AGIC.
Alexander Nachaj, Financial Officer: Alexander is a second-year PhD student studying at Concordia’s Department of Religion. This is his second year attached to the AGIC organizing committee, and is currently acting financial officer. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of Concordia’s Journal of Religion and Culture (JRC).
Lindsey Jackson, Secretary: Lindsey is an MA student in the Department of Religion at Concordia University. Lindsey’s research interests revolve around contemporary Jewish ritual. Lindsey is interested in the evolution and invention of ritual, the tension between tradition and innovation, and differences in ritual practice within the Montréal Jewish community. Lindsey is also interested in material culture, collective memory and group identity, and Holocaust studies. As secretary for the AGIC organizing committee, Lindsey is responsible for taking the minutes during meetings and following-up with committee members with regards to their specific tasks.
Amanda Mormina, Secretary: Amanda completed a BA in Religion at Concordia University with a minor in Arabic Language and Culture. She is currently pursuing a MA in the History and Philosophy of Religion with a concentration in the Islamic tradition. Amanda is interested particularly in the ways Islam continues to be practiced in contemporary society, as well as the role of women within the tradition. Amanda is also interested in the interplay of politics and gender in a religious context. For her research, Amanda would like to reflect upon the ways individuals view themselves within the Islamic tradition. Amanda’s responsibilities for the AGIC include taking the minutes of small meetings, and presenting the agenda at larger meetings in conjunction with the Lindsey Jackson (AGIC Secretary).
Jesse Toufexis, Media and Advertising: Jesse holds a BA in Anthropology from Concordia University. His research looks to the influence that ancient religious texts have had on modern literature and North American religious thought, with a particular focus on the Jewish and Christian traditions. He is also interested in the cultures of the various peoples who created these works. Naturally, he is also extremely interested in Archeology, and hopes to incorporate it into his work. Jesse is in charge of Media and Advertising for AGIC 2016.
Marion Achoulias, Catering Coordinator & Essay Contest Advisory Board Member: Marion is passionate about all aspects of food, including health, ethics and environmental impact. Accordingly, she combines her academic, activist and personal interests in her PhD research focus on vegan politics and identities in the Israeli animal rights movement. In the context of this project, her goal is the application of critical theory, Jewish ethics and ethnographic data to the question of the role of religious thought in cultural critique and social change.
Purna Roy, Event Coordinator & Administrative Support: Purna is a second-year PhD student at Concordia’s Department of Religion. She holds an MA in Folklore Studies, and is currently researching women’s devotion, asceticism and ritual studies in South Asian traditions. This is her first year involved with the AGIC organization, whereby she is assisting with administrative support including venue set ups and catering arrangement duties.
Tiawentí:non Canadian, Volunteer & Event Coordinator: Tiawentí:non holds a BA in Religion from Concordia University, and is currently pursuing her MA in the History and Philosophy of Religion. Her area of research is focused on the religiosity of marginalized peoples, with a particular interest in the religious identity of First Nations peoples in Canada. Her secondary interests include Jewish literature and Ancient Judaism. Tiawentí:non is the Vice President of the Graduate Religion Student’s Association. Though she has been volunteering for AGIC since 2013, this is her first year as Volunteer Coordinator and Event Coordinator.
Yosef Robinson, Communication Assistant & Essay Contest Advisory Board Member: Yosef has a BA in Geography from Rutgers University, a MA in City and Regional Planning from Ohio State University, and a MA in Environment from Concordia University. He is now in his third year at Concordia University pursuing a MA in the Judaic Studies program within the Religion Department. He is interested in the history of early 20th-century Jewish life in Montréal, including especially its spatial, demographic, and sociological aspects. At the same time, he is a research assistant for an academic group, consisting of MA students from Montréal-area universities, examining the history of interwar Montréal. For that group, he is studying the Keneder Odler, a Montréal Yiddish daily newspaper. As the Communication Assistant, Yosef applies his critical reading and proofreading skills to aid with certain communications on behalf of the AGIC committee, while also serving as a reader for entries for the essay contest.
Alex Enescu, Program Chair: Alex graduated with a first class honours degree in Western Society & Culture from the Liberal Arts College at Concordia University. During his undergraduate degree, he studied the relationship between dreams, wakefulness, altered states of consciousness and phenomenology. His research has been presented at over a dozen international academic conferences, including The Association for The Scientific Study of Consciousness in 2013 and The International Association for The Study of Dreams in 2013 and 2014 respectively. During his undergraduate years, he won numerous research awards, including the prestigious Concordia Undergraduate Student Research Award (CUSRA) in 2014, as well as a number of all all-inclusive travel scholarships, such as the The Steven Humphrey Student Philosophy Colloquium scholarship (awarded by the University of Louisville) in 2013. Alex was also involved in a number of theatre productions during his undergraduate degree. In 2014 he directed the student production Play Without Title, which became ranked as the best play of the year by Cult(ure) Montréal. As Program Chair for the AGIC, Alex is responsible for the supervision of the abstract submission process.