Tuesday, 10 September 2013

New Doukhobor Course
at the University of Saskatchewan

Doukhobor Religion and Culture is a one semester, undergraduate course now being taught in the Department of Religion and Culture, University of Saskatchewan, by professor Dr. Veronika A. Makarova from Russia.

Dr. Makarova is the Head of the Department of Religion and Culture and Linguistics Program Chair. She has been at the University of Saskatchewan since 2003, and has focused most of her recent work on Doukhobors. Her research will be presented in lectures, and her publications are among the required readings.

Special Topics - 89847 - RLST 398 - 01
Mondays, 5:00 pm - 7:30 pm
September 5, 2013 - December 4, 2013 (11 weeks))
Arts Building, room 108

This course provides an overview of the history, beliefs, music, language and the way of life of Canadian Doukhobors (Spirit Wrestlers). The course introduces the early history of the Doukhobor spiritual views, the settlement of Doukhobors in Saskatchewan and BC, and the subsequent development of Doukhobor communities in the 20th-21st century Canada. The dynamics of conflict between Doukhobors and Canadian state are explained via the challenges of multiculturalism. The course examines Doukhobor beliefs, spiritual practice and the way of life; surveys Doukhobor crafts and arts and explores the unique genres of Doukhobor choral music. The course provides a sociolinguistic analysis of ancestral language maintenance in the Doukhobor communities in Canada. Attention is given to the role of women in the Doukhobor communities and the descriptions of women in Doukhobor spiritual texts.

The textbook is Koozma J. Tarasoff's Plakun Trava: The Doukhobors, 1982 (CD-ROM) available for purchase at the University Bookstore. All required readings are online:
Of the 13 non-required information sources, 7 are online.
  1. Doukhobor archives in the Canadian Museum of Civilization 
  2. Union of Spiritual Communities of Christ
  3. Kalmakoff, J. Doukhobor Genealogy Website
  4. Androsoff, R. Thoughts on the future of the Doukhobors in Canada 
  5. Betke, C. (1974). The Mounted police and the Doukhobors in Saskatchewan, 1899-1909. Saskatchewan History, 27, 1-14. 
  6. Mealing, F. Mark. 1989. On Doukhobor Psalms. Canadian Literature 120: 117-32. 
  7. Tarasoff, Koozma J. Spirit Wrestlers Website and Blog
It took nearly two years for Dr. Makarova to arrange for this special course. 20 students enrolled for credit. Doukhobors are invited to audit the course without credit, and they may post comments here.

Besides studying Doukhobors, Dr. Makarova really enjoyed meeting and socializing with the locals. She joined the local Saskatoon Doukhobor Society (SDS), regularly attended meetings (sobranie), sang in the choir, toured Saskatchewan Doukhobor historic sites, and attended a USCC Union of Youth Festival in Castlegar, British Columbia.

In addition, Dr. Makarova utilized a variety of Doukhobor materials for her course. For example, with Jon Kalmakoff’s generous permission, she has used historical maps from his website Doukhobor.org, and includes resources from other Doukhobor researchers and writers.

Dr. Markova adds: 'I did not join the SDS in order to prepare for the course, I just joined them because … I liked them. However, as the result of my growing fascination with Doukhobor culture, I decided to develop a course on Doukhoborism.'

Also see: Q59: Doukhobor College Courses? What is the history of Doukhobor topics taught at the college level?


  1. Dr. Markova's course sounds fascinating. Lucky are the 20 students who will learn about the Doukhobor culture and religion - I am sure this credit will be a pleasure to obtain.

    Best wishes

  2. Wow! Doing some research on my religion and I find this. I would love to be in this class. More so to learn the Russian language.
    My grandparents are of direct descendants of the Doukhobor tribe in Verigin, Saskatchewan. Elma Sherstabitoff amd Michael Derhousoff.