New Prof on the block
Originally from Calgary, Alberta, Dr. W. Rory Dickson is surprisingly an Arabic speaker and UWinnipeg’s newest addition to the department of Religion and Culture. Dickson’s specialization is in Islamic Studies and his research focuses on contemporary Islam in general, and on Islamic mysticism (Sufism) in particular. Beginning graduate work in religious studies, Dickson’s interest in Islamic studies was ignited by his mentor Dr. Meena Sharify-Funk (Associate Professor, Chair Religion and Culture Department) at Wilfrid Laurier University.
“I picked a topic based on the advisor I wanted to work with,” shared Dickson. “I was really inspired by her work. It was because of her influence and inspiration that I narrowed my focus on Islamic Studies. ”
He has already written a book, Living Sufism in North America: Between Tradition and Transformation (SUNY Press 2015) and is currently preparing a manuscript with Sharify-Funk (forthcoming with Equinox in 2016) for an innovative introductory text on Sufism, entitled Unveiling Sufism: From Manhattan to Mecca. As a young scholar, he already has seven peer-reviewed articles and book chapters in his academic repertoire.
Dickson completed a Joint-PhD in Religious Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Waterloo. As a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Doctoral Fellow, Dickson attended the University of Toronto and the University of Copenhagen’s Graduate Research School in Damascus, Syria.
Dickson likes his new academic home. “As an urban, downtown campus, The University of Winnipeg has a particular vitality and dynamism,” explained Dickson. “There is a sort of activist ethos at the University, one that seeks to engage the local community in a way not all universities do and to face issues head on. The Indigenous Course Requirement is just one example of the pioneering approach I see here. It translates, I think, overall into a sense of engagement on campus.”
“UWinnipeg’s Department of Religion and Culture is delighted to welcome Dr. Dickson, a new scholar who has already accrued extensive research experience,” shared Dr. Jane Barter, Associate Professor and Chair, Religion and Culture. “Dr. Dickson’s Living Sufism in North America, was recently published with the prestigious SUNY Press. He is not only a first-rate researcher, but also an excellent teacher. His courses cover classical and contemporary themes in Islam — from teaching Arabic language courses to probing questions of fundamentalism. As a result, he contributes a wealth of knowledge and offers a great complement to our current offerings in Religion and Culture.”
Naniece Ibrahim, Communications Officer, The University of Winnipeg
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