Professor and Chair, Department of Religious Studies
Research Associate, Centre for the Study of Sport and Health
Faculty of Arts
Office: McNally North 505
Pronoun preference: he,him,his
As an anthropologist of religion, Dr. Alec Soucy's research has primarily looked at Vietnamese Buddhist practice. His first book, The Buddha Side, examined issues related to how gender structures lead men and women to engage in Buddhist practices and understand those practices in very different ways. Starting with the observation that the rate of participation of women is substantially higher, the study examined the ways that gender is constructed in Vietnam in such a way that makes it symbolically profitable for men to engage in performances of scepticism, while for women the opposite is true.
Since then, Dr. Soucy has gone on to look at how globalization and transnationalism has been restructuring Buddhist orthodoxies and practices in Vietnam and around the world. His most recent work, Zen Conquests, explores how globalized discourses of Buddhism are changing the way that Buddhism is practiced, in particular, through a case study of an expanding Zen temple on the outskirts of Hanoi. The work explores themes of globalization, individualism, secularization, nationalism and internationalism, neo-liberalism, gender and age. Research on Buddhism and globalization is leading him to now look at re-enchantment and the breakdown of dominant Modernist discourses and increasing religiosity in places like Vietnam.
In recent years, Dr. Soucy has also used his anthropological skills to study and advocate for changing transportation paradigms in Halifax to more sustainable modes, particularly utilitarian cycling. He has formed the Halifax Bike Lab in partnership with Dr. Sara Kirk (Dalhousie U.) to collaborate with local organizations, like the Ecology Action Centre and the Halifax Cycling Coalition, conducting projects that examine the ties between improvements in safe and connected bicycle infrastructure and the development of a bicycle culture in Halifax.
(2000) Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Anthropology. Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies (RSPAS), The Australian National University (ANU), Canberra, Australia
(1994) Master of Arts (MA), History and Philosophy of Religion. Concordia University, Montréal, Canada
(1991) Bachelor of Arts (BA), Honours Religion with distinction. Concordia University, Montréal, Canada