Judith Ellen Brunton

Judith Ellen Brunton

PhD Candidate, Department for the Study of Religion


“I have been a consistent user of many campus resources, most notably the library system, which is incredible.”

I am an anthropologist of religion in North America based at the Department for the Study of Religion. So, I am interested in religion, spirituality, and meaning making in people’s everyday lives. In my dissertation project, I used ethnographic and archival methods to explore how oil culture in Alberta shapes how people imagine what a good life is and how to live it. This current project focuses on the power of place, and how land plays a part in people’s lifeworlds, so I also work within the environmental humanities. 

I chose U of T for the opportunity to work with the specific anthropologists and historians of religion based at the Department for the Study of Religion (DSR). I was also invested in being a part of an interdisciplinary department like the DSR, one that encouraged interdisciplinary intellectual engagement within the study of religion and that connected me to other disciplines at the University of Toronto.  

My time at the University of Toronto has been remarkable because of the mentorship I have received from accomplished and generous faculty members, who have engaged me and my work and have invited me to participate with them in a diversity of academic endeavors. In addition, my time has also been enriched by a number of interdisciplinary communities, most notably the Jackman Humanities Institute where I was a 2019-2020  graduate fellow and Victoria College where I am a junior fellow. I have also been a junior fellow at Massey College for most of my graduate career and it has been an invaluable community for maintaining my intellectual curiosity and keeping my spirits high.