Dr. John Cappucci
The Stephen A. Jarislowsky Chair in Religion and Conflict
Dr. John Cappucci was renewed as the Stephen A. Jarislowsky Chair in Religion and Conflict for a six-year term commencing September 1, 2020. Dr. Cappucci began serving as chair in 2017 bringing considerable experience and knowledge to the role. Dr. Cappucci earned a Ph.D. in political science from Carleton University; an M.A. from Queen’s University in Kingston; and an Honours B.A. from the University of Windsor. He focuses on the intersections between religion and politics. His research has been discussed in The Windsor Star, The Catholic Register, Messenger of St. Anthony’s, The Canadian Jewish News, and The Detroit Jewish News. Dr. Cappucci has also been interviewed by the CBC on a host of topics, including antisemitism, Islamophobia, and Church closings during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Cappucci’s refereed journal articles have appeared in several national and international publications, including Contemporary Jewry, Canadian Jewish Studies, Journal of Shi’a Islamic Studies, Fieldwork in Religion, and the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs. His latest article on perceptions of antisemitism in Windsor-Essex appeared in the UK-based Journal of Contemporary Antisemitism (Vol. 5. No. 1). Dr. Cappucci recently completed a study on Catholic perceptions of Jews and Judaism called, Old Tensions or New Relations: Canadian Catholic Perceptions of Jews and Judaism. The study involved surveying Catholics living in the Diocese of London. In the Winter of 2023, Dr. Cappucci will launch a new study.
In addition to his active research agenda, Dr. Cappucci has over 14 years of post-secondary teaching experience. He has taught an array of courses across the humanities and social sciences. He has also served on graduate examination committees. In the Fall of 2022, Dr. Cappucci began teaching Assumption University’s newest course, The Holocaust (RELS 2045). For his contributions to research, teaching, and service, Dr. Cappucci was promoted to the rank of Associate Professor at the end of 2021.
About the Chair
Launched in 2004, the Chair in Religion and Conflict was established at Assumption University thanks to a generous $1-million donation from The Jarislowsky Foundation and a matching gift from the Basilian Fathers of Sandwich in Ontario. Since its establishment in 2004, there have been five holders of the chair.
Brief Summary of Results
Old Tensions or New Relations: Canadian Catholic Views on Judaism
Dr. John Cappucci
Stephen Jarislowsky Chair in Religion and Conflict
June 5, 2022
The main question of this study is whether the Catholic Church’s current position on Jews, Judaism, and Jewish-Catholic relations has been accepted by Canadian Catholics. At the outset, there are a host of variables that could influence a Catholic’s position on the subject, but two variables seem to present themselves as the most impactful, namely sense of religious orientation (nominal, progressive, moderate, or traditional) and the Canadian political party the individual most identifies.
To determine if there is an association, an online survey was conducted via Qualtrics. The survey was open to adult Catholics of any rite living in or with one residence in the Diocese of London (comprised of nine counties in Southwestern Ontario). There were 72 respondents total with 64 completing most or part of the survey questions. The respondents ranged in age from 19 to 87 years with an average of 53.30 years. About 87% of participants were of the Roman-rite of the Catholic Church, with others identifying as Chaldean, Maronite, or Ukrainian-Greek. Just over one-third of respondents possessed graduate credentials. The majority of respondents were born in Canada with nearly all respondents being born into the Catholic faith.
Over 60% of respondents had a positive perception of the Jewish community in the area. There were 17.54% who were neutral or 12.28% who were uncertain. There were respondents who noted that they did not have a Jewish community in their area. About 57% of respondents believe that Jews are not responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus with 26% believing that Jews were responsible. The respondents rejected the wandering belief and replacement theology. The respondents also strongly supported the belief that Jews and Catholics share a common religious heritage. The respondents affirmed the importance of fighting antisemitism. The respondents had mixed thoughts on the Catholic position toward the State of Israel. In reference to the hypotheses, there is a relationship between one’s religious orientation and one’s perception of Jews and Judaism. There is a less pronounced relationship between one’s political party and one’s perception of Jews and Judaism.
Fr. Paul McGill Essay Contest
This essay prize was established in 2019 to honour Fr. Paul McGill, CSB who has promoted ecumenical and interfaith dialogue throughout his priestly ministry. The essay prize seeks submissions on how religion and spirituality can be used to promote peace in the contemporary world. The selection committee invites submissions from graduating seniors at all high schools in Windsor-Essex, Chatham-Kent, and Sarnia-Lambton counties The financial support for this essay prize is generously made possible by the Stephen Jarislowsky Chair in Religion and Conflict at Assumption University. The recipient of the prize receives $300.00 along with a plaque commemorating their achievement. The 2021-2022 contest will open in the late Fall of 2021.
2021 – Miss Olivia Anne Wahby
2020 – Miss Carol Adu-Bobie
Understanding Rumi: From Islamic Roots to Universal Appeal
Rumi’s immense popularity in recent decades has at times obscured his Islamic roots. This talk will contextualize Rumi’s spirituality by considering who Rumi was, and discussing some of the main themes of his work.
William Rory Dickson is Associate Professor and Chair of the Religion and Culture Department at the University of Winnipeg. His research focuses on contemporary Islam and Sufism. Dickson’s first book, Living Sufism in North America (2015) charts the history of Sufism in North America before considering its diverse expressions. Dickson has co-authored two further books on Sufism (2017, 2018), and has published articles in Contemporary Islam, Studies in Religion, Religion Compass, and Social Compass.
Brief Summary – The Persistent Prejudice: Contemporary Antisemitism in a Canadian Region
It would have been expected that by the third decade of the twenty-first century, antisemitism, a prejudice that is nearly three millennia old would have been finally uprooted from contemporary society. Unfortunately, the reality is quite the opposite of this hopeful expectation. Given that Canada is home to the third largest Jewish community in the world, the need for serious scholarly research on antisemitism in Canada is imperative coupled with the historic significance of the Jewish community of Windsor-Essex, a study on antisemitism is in order. Beginning in 2020, Dr. Cappucci, the Stephen Jarislowsky Chair in Religion and Conflict at Assumption University conducted two online surveys on antisemitism in Windsor-Essex. The surveys were concluded in April 2021 followed by a public presentation in May. A brief summary of results will be available shortly.
Surveys on Antisemitism in Windsor-Essex
Dr. Cappucci, Stephen Jarislowsky Chair in Religion and Conflict @assumption_u is conducting two surveys, trying to determine how prevalent antisemitism is in Windsor-Essex. Dr. Cappucci spoke with Tony Doucette from the CBC about this work at 7:12 AM. Tune to 97.5 FM in Windsor or 91.9 FM in Leamington.
Believe, Pray, and Obey: Three indicators of Religiosity in a Jewish Canadian Community
The Stephen Jarislowsky Chair in Religion and Conflict, Dr. John Cappucci’s refereed article, “Believe, Pray, and Obey: Three Indicators of Religiosity in a Jewish Canadian Community” has just been published in Canadian Jewish Studies (Vol. 30).
Progressives and Purists: A Study of Religiosity in a Canadian-Jewish Community
One of the most pressing challenges facing the Jewish community of Windsor today is the struggle to maintain its religious identity in the face of an increasingly secular society. This type of environment prompts the question as to whether Jews have maintained their religious heritage or abandoned it? In order to answer this question, 50 interviews have been conducted with members of the Windsor-Essex Jewish community on their religious beliefs and practices. To measure religiosity, this project employed several indicators, such as belief in G-d, prayer life, Shabbat practices, synagogue life, holidays, and dietary laws. It is the goal of this presentation to highlight the many unique expressions of Judaism in the city.
The Stephen Jarislowsky Chair in Religion and Conflict was established in 2004 with a generous donation from the Stephen Jarislowsky Foundation and the Basilian Fathers of Sandwich. Past holders have included, Fr. Paul Rennick, CSB (2004), Fr. Mario D’Souza, CSB (2005), Dr. Martha Lee (2005-2010), and Dr. Norman King (2010-2016). In addition to an active research agenda, the chair is involved in the community providing classes on topics such as the Abrahamic faiths, women and religion, religion and politics, and Catholic-Jewish relations. Each year, the chair invites guest speakers from a variety of religious and spiritual backgrounds to speak about a topic of relevance in the contemporary world. The chair’s past speakers have included John Esposito, Andrew Bennett, and Murray Sinclair. In 2019, the chair established the Fr. Paul McGill, CSB Essay Contest for graduating high school students in the region.