Dr. Jennifer Selby


Associate Professor
Affiliate member of the Department of Gender Studies, Memorial University.


Postdoctoral Fellowship (Harvard University), 2008
Ph.D. McMaster University, 2007
M.A. Queen's University, 2002
B.A. (Hons.) University of Winnipeg, 1999


On sabbatical 09/15 - 05/16 [Visiting Researcher, Laboratoire d'Anthropologie Sociale, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris].

Office: Arts and Administration, 5029
Office hours: By appointment
Telephone: 001 (709) 864-4046
Email: jselby@mun.ca
Personal website

Research Interests

Islam in the West (France, Canada); Method and Theory, Secularization Theory; Islam, Interpretations of Sharia; Women and Islam, Gender Studies; Religion and Public Policy in Canada.

Current Research

My current research is centered upon two broad ethnographic-based projects: In the first place, I continue to conduct research on gender politics, Islam and secularism in contemporary France. I have broadened this area with new transnational fieldwork in Montréal, Algeria and in a Parisian suburb for a project examining Islam and marriage (see this information brochure [PDF]).

In the second place, I am continuing research in Canada begun during my postdoctoral fellowship in the Islam in the West program at Harvard University. I am now examining orthodoxy and religious negotiations in a research project in St. John’s, NL, with collaborators Lori G. Beaman (U Ottawa) and Amélie Barras (York U). We held a 2-day workshop, Re-posing the 'Muslim Question' June 26-27 (PDF), 2014 in conjunction with this project.

I am also co-investigator (PI Roxanne Marcotte, UQAM) on a qualitative SSHRC-funded program, New Muslim Public Spheres in the Digital Age: Identity, Community, Diversity and Authority in Canada.

Courses taught

RELS 1000 - The Religions of the World
RELS 2340 - Islam
ANTH/SOC/RELS 2350 - Religious Institutions
RELS 2800 - Gender and Sexualities in Western Religions
RELS 2850 - Religion and the Law: The Secular in Contemporary Canada
ANTH/RELS 3053 - Anthropology of Religion
RELS 3058 - Religion and Politics
RELS 3800 - Re/presentations of Muslim Women: Gender, Colonialism, Islam
RELS 3810 - Religion, Society and Culture
RELS 6100 - Method and Theory in Religious Studies
RELS 6110 - The Thesis

Summer Field School 2016: French Religion and Culture in Context(Bordeaux, France. July 1-29, 2016).

Student Supervision

Dube, Dr. Siphiwe (2011). Connected (Mis)Understanding: Masculinity-Masculinities-Muscular Religion in Canada.

Ph.D. Dissertations (Committee member)

Al-Harahsheh, Entessar (in progress). Interdiciplinary Ph.D. Research topic: Emotive Language in Arab Political Discourse.
Jackson, Stephen (in progress). Interdiciplinary Ph.D. Research topic: Educating for Global Citizenship.

M.A. Theses

Funk, Cory (in progress). Research topic: Examining Islam Online in Canada.
Etkin, Prudence (in progress). Research topic: Comparing Laïcité in France and Quebec.
Cauz, Emily (in progress). Anthropology. (Co-supervised with Dr. Lincoln Addision, Department of Anthropology, MUN).
Harvey-Cromwel, Liam (2015). Rebooting Islam: An Exploration of the Internet and Muslim Communities in St. John’s Newfoundland.
Williams, Jennifer (2015). Religion in the Newfoundland and Labrador Multiculturalism Policy: An Examination of Muslim Experiences and Policy Objectives.
White, Megan (2011). The Post-Conversion Social Experience of New Muslims in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador.
Akter, Nasrin (2010). The Religious Lives of Muslim Bangladeshi Women in St. John’s, Canada. (Co-supervised with Dr. Elizabeth Yeoman, Department of Education, MUN)

B.A. Honours Essays

Shannon, Jamie (2011). New Muslims in St. John’s, Canada.
Lobel, Rachel (2010). The Category of Islam in media representations of Hamas.

Recent Publications


  • "Muslimness and Multiplicity in Qualitative Research and in Governmental Reports in Canada" for Critical Research on Religion (27 pgs).


  • "'The Diamond Ring Now is the Thing': Young Muslim Torontonian Women Negotiating Mahr on the Web." In Muslim Youth and the 9/11 Generation. Eds. Adeline Masquelier and Benjamin F. Soares. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 189-212.






Recent Non-refereed Contributions


  • Review of Islamic Divorce in North America: A Shari’a Path in a Secular Society (Oxford: Oxford University Press) for Contemporary Islam: Dynamics of Muslim Life 9:1 (January): 127-129.


  • (with Mayanthi Fernando). Short skirts and niqab bans: On sexuality and the secular body. The Immanent Frame.
  • Review of On the Muslim Question (Princeton: Princeton UP). Studies in Religion/Sciences Religieuses. 43:3 (September): 540-542.
  • Review of The Republic and the Riots: Exploring Urban Violence in French Suburbs, 2005- 2007 (Oxford: Peter Lang). Contemporary Sociology: A Journal of Reviews. 43:1 (January): 107-108.



  • Review of Racialized Bodies, Disabling Worlds: Storied Lives of Immigrant Muslim Women (Toronto: University of Toronto Press). American Anthropologist 113:2 (June): 359-360.


  • Banning Full-Face Coverings in France. Euro-Islam Website.
  • Review of Defining Harm: Religious Freedom and the Limits of the Law (Vancouver: UBC Press). Studies in Religion/Sciences Religieuses 39:3 (September): 455-456.
  • Islam in Canada. Euro-Islam Website.

Recent Funding and Awards

  • 2015-2019 Principal and Sole Investigator on “Algerian Transnational Marriage Migration to and from France and Québec,” Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Insight Grant.
  • 2013 – 2016 Co-Investigator on “New Muslim Public Spheres in the Digital Age: Identity Community, Diversity and Authority in Canada,” Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Insight Grant (PI, R. Marcotte; with collaborators R. Ramji, B. Anderson).
  • 2012 – 2014 Principal Investigator on “Religion in the Everyday: Negotiating Islam in St. John’s, NL,” Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Insight Development Grant (with co-investigators L.G. Beaman and A. Kazemipur).
  • 2011 Collaborator on Community Leadership Program Award, “Make it Better on the Rock” (PI Ailsa Craig, MUN) Fulbright Canada.



Department of Religious Studies

230 Elizabeth Ave, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1B 3X9

Postal Address: P.O. Box 4200, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1C 5S7

Tel: (709) 864-8000