I am a Professor and Graduate Coordinator in the Department of Religious Studies, cross-appointed to the Department of Political Science, as well as an affiliate member of the Department of Gender Studies at Memorial University.

My research and teaching engage the politics of secularism, with attention to how they play out in the lives of everyday people. Secularism is most often understood as a separation of religion from politics, and often assumed as a key guarantor of  liberalism, democracy, rationality, and gender equality.

The core argument of my research is that secularism(s) in the North Atlantic world are intimately related to the regulation of religion and sexuality. More empirically, my research is ethnographic and examines secularism in contemporary France and Canada.

I currently serve as co-chair of the Anthropology of Religion section for the American Academy of Religion, as well as on the executive of the Canadian Corporation for the Study of Religion.

Fields Of Research

  • Secularism Studies
  • Islam in the North Atlantic world (France, Canada)
  • Method and Theory
  • Islam, Interpretations of Sharia
  • Women and Islam, Gender Studies
  • Religion and Public Policy in Canada


BA Honours (U Winnipeg), MA (Queen's University), PhD (McMaster University), Postdoctoral Fellowship (Harvard University)

Teaching Schedule

Fall 2024

LWPP/POSC/RELS 3385, Religion and Law in Canada

POSC/RELS 4385/6385, Religion and Politics

Office Hours

By appointment

Office: 5029 Arts and Administration | Telephone: (709) 864-4046 | Email: jselby@mun.ca