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Robert Dennis

PhD, MA, BA
Assistant Professor
Phone: 
(902) 566-0774
Department: 
Religious Studies
Office: 
SDU Main Building, 417
Education: 
PhD (Queen's)
MA (History, UNB)
MA (Political Science, Memorial)
BA (Honours, Queen's)

Robert Dennis is an intellectual and religious historian with a specialization in Roman Catholicism; who is currently writing a history of St. Dunstan’s University from 1955 to 1969.  Dr. Dennis has recently completed a manuscript on how transatlantic developments in Catholic social thought influenced the formation of social Catholicism in English Canada during the Depression and Second World War years.  This study focused on how Catholic intellectuals across the country engaged normative assumptions in classic liberalism and social democracy, reframing them, often with great radicalism, within frameworks of neo-Thomist/personalist and distributist philosophies.  This project situated the experience of the Canadian Church within the broader context European Catholicism and international Catholic social thought as the Church restructures in the decades before the Second Vatican Council.  Dr. Dennis is happy to speak to the academy, community, or media on any aspect of Roman Catholicism and invites interested parties to be in contact with him. 

Roman Catholicism; the Modern Vatican; History of Religion; Modern Canada

All courses in the Catholic Studies, including its core programme:

  • RS 171, “Introduction to Catholic Christianity”
  • RS 276, “Catholic Moral Thought”
  • RS 277, “Social Ethics: Free and Faithful”

Other Courses (previously taught at Queen’s University):

  • Hist 121 “Intellectual Origins of the Contemporary West”
  • Hist 279, “20th Century Canada”
  • Hist 312, “Canadian Social History, 1760–1939”
  • Hist 437, “Religion in North American Society, 1800–1960”
  • Theo 545, “The Church in Canada”
  • Theo 742, “Reformation and Revival”

TEACHING AWARDS

  • W.J. Barnes Teaching Excellence Award, Arts and Science Undergraduate Society, Queen’s University, 2010.
  • Frank Knox Award [Honourable Mention], Alma Mater Society, Queen’s University, 2010.
  • Departmental Award for Teaching Excellence, Department of History, Queen’s University, 2009.
     

Selected list

Articles

  • Dennis, Robert H. "Beginning to Restructure the Institutional Church: Canadian Social Catholics and the CCF, 1931-1944," Historical Studies, 74 (2008): 51-71.

Book Chapters

  • Dennis, Robert H.  "Forever Proud? From Public to Private Space: the Montreal Canadiens Transition from the Forum to the Molson Centre," in Andrew Holman (ed), Canada's Game? Critical Perspectives on Hockey and Identity (Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2009).
  • Dennis, Robert H. and Gregory S. Kealey et al., "Knowledge Movement in Response to Coastal BC Oil and Gas Development: Past, Present and Future," in John Lutz and Barbara Neis (eds), Making and Moving Knowledge: Interdisciplinary and Community-based Research in a World on the Edge (Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2008).
  • -----. "Social-Ecological Health and the History of Non-Renewable Resources on the East and West Coasts," in Rosemary Ommer (ed), Coasts Under Stress: Restructuring and Social-Ecological Health in Coastal Communities (Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2008).

Non-Refereed Publications

  • Donald Harmon Akenson with Robert H. Dennis, “The Douglas Chair in Canadian and Colonial History: Past, Present, and Future,” 2010.
  • Franca Iacovetta, Molly Ladd-Taylor with Robert H. Dennis et al., Becoming a Historian: A Canadian Manuel (Ottawa: Canadian Historical Association, 2008 [second edition]). Available online, http://www.cha-shc.ca/becoming%20a%20historian/index.shtml.
  • Dennis, Robert H. "Findings of the Access to Government Information Task Force," Canadian Historical Association Bulletin, vol. 32, no. 1 (2006): 21.
  • -----. "Report from the Grad Rep on the CHA," Canadian Historical Association Bulletin vol. 31, no. 1 (2005): 33-34.
  • -----. "New Grad Student Liaison with CHA," Canadian Historical Association Bulletin vol. 30, no. 3 (2004): 13.

PRESENTATIONS (SELECTED)

Invited Lectures

  • Dennis, Robert H. "Social Catholicism as Canadian Leftism: Lived Religion and Living Otherwise in Toronto during the Depression," McGill Institute for the Study of Canada series on "The Left in Canada," 8 October 2008.

Conference Papers

  • Dennis, Robert H.  “‘Sending Light over the Continent: the Rural and Industrial Conferences of the Antigonish Movement, 1930–1939” paper presented at the Canadian Catholic Historical Annual Meeting, Victoria, BC, 2013.
  • -----.  “The Douglas Chair in Canadian and Colonial History: Philanthropy, Secularization, and Restructuring Queen’s University in the Early Twentieth Century,” paper presented at the Canadian Society of Church History Annual Meeting, Fredericton, NB, 2011.
  • -----.  Dennis, Robert H.  “Faith on the Prairies: Roman Catholic Engagement with the CCF during the 1930s and 1940s,” paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Canadian Historical Association, Fredericton, NB, 2011. 
  • -----.  “Going ‘Back to the Land’ in the 1930s: Lived Religion and Living Otherwise in Toronto,” paper presented at the American Society of Church History Spring Meeting, Montreal, PQ, 2009.
  • -----.  "Depression-Era Roman Catholicism in Toronto: the Case of Catherine de Hueck and Friendship House," paper presented at the Association for Canadian Studies in the United States Biennial Conference, Toronto, ON, 2007.
  • -----. "Canadian Social Catholics Begin to Restructure the Institutional Church: Reassessing the Relationship between the Roman Catholic Church and the CCF, 1931-1944" paper presented at the American Society of Church History, Salt Lake City, UT, 2007.
  • -----. "Amidst Offshore Oil and Gas Development and Disaster: Addressing Jurisdictional and Regulatory Issues on the East and West Coasts of Canada, 1979-1994," Annual Meeting of Canadian Historical Association, London, ON, 2005.
  • -----. "Forever Proud? From Public to Private Space: the Invention of Tradition during the Montreal Canadiens Transition from the Forum to the Molson Centre," Canada's Game? Critical Perspectives on Hockey & Identity Conference, Plymouth, MA, 2005.
  • -----. "Lessons from the Meech Lake Accord: Executive Federalism and the Future of Canada's Constitutional Debate," paper presented at "Constitutionalism and Cultural Pluralism: Lessons from Canada Conference," University of Edinburgh, 2004.
  • -----. "Bi-Coastal Lessons: Offshore Oil and Gas Development in British Columbia and Newfoundland & Labrador," paper presented at the Association for Canadian Studies in United States Biennial Conference, Portland, OR, 2003.
  • -----. "Remembering Early Connections: the Politics of Public Memory in Saint John, New Brunswick's Tercentennial Celebrations, June 1904" paper presented at "Northern Coasts and Islands: Early Connections" Conference, University of Edinburgh, 2003.
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