Social & Political Sciences

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Derry Ken

Associate Professor, Teaching Stream Religious Studies
University of Toronto


As an undergraduate student Ken Derry wandered a few different paths. He spent two years immersed in biophysics, and then turned to English and Japanese literature before finally discovering his true calling: the study of religion. He completed his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. all at the University of Toronto. Dr. Derry’s academic focus is on the ways in which modern cultural products relate to more “traditional” religious beliefs and practices. What might the Bible tell us about Iron Man, for example – and vice versa? He has examined a range of topics including Christian symbolism, ghosts, Hong Kong film, superheroes, and Disney stories, and has drawn on research in such areas as colonialism, gender, hermeneutics, history, myth, narrative, politics, and ritual studies. Dr. Derry’s Ph.D. thesis examines issues of religion and violence in modern Canadian Native writings, and is the first full Religion and Literature monograph to consider the works of North American Indigenous authors. He currently serves on the editorial board of the Journal of the American Academy of Religion.

Research Interest

Comparative Religion, Indigenous Traditions, Method and Theory, Religion and Literature/Film, Religion and Violence

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