Member of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies and thereby authorized to supervise theses and Associate Professor, Department of Classics and Religious Studies

1999 - PhD, University of Toronto
1994 - MA, University of Toronto
1990 - BA, McGill University

DMS 10105

Office: 613-562-5800 ext. 1168

Work E-mail:

Anne Vallely


Member of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies and thereby authorized to supervise theses.

Fields of interest

My work falls within the broad field of the Anthropology of Religion, with a focus on South Asian religion, especially that of Jainism.  My research interests include ecology, animals, human/non-human boundaries, gender, death rituals and mourning, asceticism and the body, spirit possession and women’s religious lives.  As a secondary research area, I am interested in the field of contemporary Judaism.

Methodologically, I approach these fields with a particular interest in the aesthetics of religious experience and phenomenology. 

Courses taught

Poster for the Jainism summer course in India

I offer an Overseas India Summer Course with a focus on the religious and cultural tradition of Jainism. It is unique course that provide students (undergraduate and graduate) an opportunity to participate in a cultural and educational immersion in India. In India, the programme is based at the University of Mumbai with students residing on the UoM campus. Students will also spend several days in Varanasi, as well as visit the Ajanta-Ellora caves. For more information, contact me.






  • SRS2112/2113 World Religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam /Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism)
  • SRS3312 Hinduism 
  • SRS3712 L’hindouisme
  • SRS3314 Judaism 
  • SRS5115/ 8115 Methods in the Study of Religion through a study of Death and Transcendence 
  • SRS4107 Selected Topics in Religion and Culture: Anthropology of Religion 
  • SRS2194 Anthropology of Religion 
  • SRS2172 Religion & Nature

Selected publications

"Jainism" in S. Bullivant and M. Ruse (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Atheism. Oxford University Press, London: 2013

Animal and the Human Imagination, (co-edited with Aaron Gross). Columbia University Press.2012

“Ancestors, Demons & the Goddess: Negotiating the Animate Cosmos of Jainism,” in F. Ferrari (ed.), Disease, Possession and Healing. Routledge Press.2011.

New Age Judaism (co-edited with Celia Rothenberg). Valentine-Mitchell Publishers, 2008.

Guardians of the Transcendent: An Ethnography of a Jain Acetic Community. University of Toronto Press, 2002.

“Bodies of Veneration, Renunciation and Desire,” in P. Flugel (ed.), Jaina Law & Society. Routledge Press, forthcoming 2012.

“Jainism,” in R. Amore (ed.) Oxtoby’s World Religions, pp 144-174. Oxford University Press, 2009.

“Jainism” in Peter Beyer (ed.), The World's Religions: Continuities and Transformations, pp 325-327. Taylor & Francis, 2008.

“These Hands Are Not for Henna: Jain Women Renouncers,” in Meena Khandelwal, Sondra L. Hausner, and Ann Grodzins Gold (eds.), Women on Their Own: Female Renunciation in South Asian Religions, pp. 223-245. Palgrave Press, 2006.

“Jainism,” in Rosemary Skinner Keller and Rosemary Radford Ruether (eds.),Encyclopedia of Women and Religion in North America, pp. 688-692. Indiana University Press, 2005.

“Jaina Dharma,” in Gene Thursby and Sushil Mittal (eds.),Religions of South Asia,pp. 87-102.Routledge Press, 2005.

“The Politics of Embeddedness and the Quest for Transcendence: Teaching South Asian Religions,” inMethods in the Teaching and Study of Religion, 17.3 (2005): pp 242-248.

“Jain Epistemology & the Question of Pluralism,” in Tara Sethia (ed.), Ahimsa and Anekant, pp. 99-112. Motilal Banarsidass, 2004.

“The Jain Plate: The Semiotics of the Diaspora Diet,” in Knut Jacobsen and Pratap Kumar (eds.),South Asians in the Diaspora, pp. 3-22. EJ Brill Publishers, 2003.

“Ambiguous Symbols: Women and the Ascetic Ideal in Jainism,” in Gail Currie and Celia Rothenberg (eds.),Feminist (Re) Visions: Landscapes, Ethnoscapes and Theoryscapes, pp. 131-144. Lexington Press, 2001.

“Moral Landscapes: Ethical Discourses Among Orthodox and Diaspora Jains,” in Michael Lambek (ed.),A Reader in the Anthropology of Religion, pp. 555-569. Blackwell Press, 2001.

“From Liberation to Ecology,” in Christopher Chapple (ed.),Jainism and Ecology, Religions of the World & Ecology Series, pp. 193-216. Harvard University Press, 2001.

 An Ethnography of a Jain Ascetic Community Guardians of the Transcendent: An Ethnography of a Jain Ascetic Community
Book cover of Animals and the Human Imagination Animals and the Human Imagination

Fields of Interest

  • Anthropology of Religion
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