Sociology

Dr. Germain McKenzie

Germain McKenzie is a Peruvian-Canadian theologian and sociologist who earned a Ph.D. in Religion and Culture from the Catholic University of America (Washington, D.C.). His academic interests focus on the intersection of Catholic theology and sociology in both a theoretical and applied manner. In regard to the former, he is currently studying the pre-conditions for a dialogue between theology and the social sciences that would respect the nature and method of each of those disciplines. As per the latter, Dr. McKenzie is studying new evangelization initiatives in Canada through the use of quantitative and qualitative sociological approaches, in the light of secular and post-secular studies.

Dr. McKenzie interests include issues related to moral theology, in particular those belonging to Catholic social ethics as applied to refugees and immigrants into Canada. He has been an activist for Catholic-inspired social change in Latin America and has served poor communities in the shanty towns of Lima, his city of birth, for more than 10 years. In this connection he has published peer-reviewed articles on social ethics: “Medellin: 30 Years After” and “John Paul II’s Reconciliation Proposal for Latin America.”

Dr. McKenzie is also interested in the social dynamics of religious minorities, having done studies on different Buddhist lineages in Peru, and also in Catholic revivalist groups. He is keen of exploring the origin, development and integration into the life of the Church of lay associations and ecclesial movements, as well as in the evolution of the theological understanding of the relationships between the charismatic and institutional dimension of the Church.

He has worked at various Peruvian universities and has also taught at Niagara University, in Lewiston, New York. While conducting his doctoral studies, Dr. McKenzie was awarded by his alma mater with the Hubbard Dissertation Fellowship, and by the Canadian Consortium for the Study of Religion with the Travel Scholarship for Doctoral Students. He also worked as Research Assistant for the Hispanic Ministry Organizational Culture Project, carried out by the Institute for Public Research and Catholic Studies (Washington, D.C.)

He currently lives in Surrey with his wife, Giuliana.

Discipline

Sociology and Religious Studies

Books

  • Interpreting Charles Taylor’s Social Theory on Secularization and Religion: A Comparative Study. New York: Springer, 2016.
  • Lay Associations and Ecclesial Movements. St. Catharines, ON: Office of Evangelization, 2010. (Edited)
  • Contemporary Cultural Trends in Peru. Lima: Universidad Catolica Sedes Sapientiae, 2010.

Entries in Edited Books

  • “Atheism and Religious Nones in Latin America,” in Michael Ruse and Stephen Bullivant, eds., The Cambridge Handbook of Atheism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (Forthcoming)
  • “Buddhism in Peru,” in Henri Gooren, ed., Encyclopedia of Latin American Religions. New York: Springer, 2019.

Selected Peer-Reviewed Articles

  • “Exploring Soto Zen in Peru,” Revista de Estudios de Religião, 16. 3 (2016): 174-196.
  • “John Paul II’s View on Faith and Culture: What Does it Say to Us in Canada Today?” Fidelitas (Summer-Fall 2014): 38-55.
  • “A Glance to the Medellin Document, After Thirty Years,” Revista VE 40 (May-August 1998): 45-71.
  • “Doctrinal Insights of the Reconciliation Proposal of John Paul II for Latin America,” Revista VE 36 (January-April 1997): 65-90.

Education

  • Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C., USA – Ph.D. in Religion and Culture
  • Pontifical School of Theology of Lima, Peru – M.T.S. & M. Div. in * Practical Theology (Distinction)
  • Pontifical School of Theology of Lima, Peru – B. Th.

Professional Societies

  • College Theological Society
  • Society of Catholic Social Scientists
  • Canadian Consortium for the Study of Religion

SOCI 100: Introduction to Sociology: The Human Person, Society and Power

Introduction to problems in the analysis of social structures and processes. Basic sociological concepts will be introduced and their application demonstrated in various areas of sociology.

SOCI 101: Introduction to Sociology: Power, Institutions and Social Change

Introduction to problems in the analysis of social structures and processes. Basic sociological concepts will be introduced and their application demonstrated in various areas of sociology.

SOCI 110: Homelessness & Downtown Eastside

This is an interdisciplinary course that examines issues such as mental illness, addiction, social housing, policing and health care policy in such neighbourhoods as Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Students will be required to complete ten hours of volunteer work with agencies that minister to persons who are marginalized.

SOCI 203: Social Issues Communication

Through this course, students will sociologically examine selected global social issues and how they are communicated in a religious and moral context: religious freedom and plurality; the divide between the secular and religion; women’s issues; abortion and euthanasia; just war doctrine; and globalization. Students will start by examining different sociological accounts on these matters, and will enter in dialogue with the teachings of the Catholic Church as well as that from other religious perspectives including Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam. In-class debates will allow to grasp the many arguments on each side of the debates, with their strong and weak points. Concluding remarks will be made from the standpoint of sociology of knowledge.

SOCI 211: Religion and Society in Canada

A historical and sociological introduction to religious behaviour and the organization of religion in Canada.

SOCI 240: Social Issues in Education

This course introduces students to a number of socioeconomic factors that influence the performance of educational institutions. The social factors to be studied will be family economic issues, educational policies, crime, and allocation of resources. The assumption of this course is that before considering a career in education one needs to examine the social issues which inform educational practices. One of the goals of this course is to provide an opportunity for students to make comparisons between different societies and how they respond to various social challenges. This course is intended to engage students by providing a direct immersion experience where they are forced to examine the social issues which influence how schools can function.