Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Q59: Doukhobor College Courses?

What is the history of Doukhobor topics taught at the college level?

This question arose from posting news about the course in-progress by Dr. Veronika Makarova: New Doukhobor Course at the University of Saskatchewan.

I am asking myself the question and answering. If I missed anything, please contact me, or post a comment below.


Several scholars have done the most college lecturing, and two taught credited courses.

Dr. F. Mark Mealing

In 1972, F. Mark Mealing from Robson, BC, received his doctorate in Anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania, Faculty of Arts and Science in Folklore and Folklife. His 734-page thesis: 'Our People's Way: A Study in Doukhobor Hymnody and Folklife.'

In 1974, Dr. Mealing helped form the short-lived Institute for Doukhobor Studies as a cooperative venture by Selkirk College and the Kootenay Doukhobor Historical Society which built the Doukhobor village Museum in Ooteshenie, in 2007 renamed as the Doukhobor Discovery Centre.

In September 1980, Dr. Mealing taught Anthropology 202, Doukhobor Folklore (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) at Selkirk College. The course was 'a broad introduction to the history, beliefs and views, and traditional crafts and expression of Doukhobor people' (Castlegar News, Sept. 10, 1080: A8). Course credits were transferable to the University of BC, University of Victoria and Simon Fraser University. During the next two years, Mealing taught the same course Wednesday nights at David Thomson University in Nelson, BC.

Doukhobor Studies was taught at Selkirk College every other year from about 1984 to his retirement in 1999.

Eli A Popoff

Historian Eli A. Popoff of Grand Forks, BC, taught Doukhobor courses several times at the USCC community centres and Selkirk College. His lectures were based on his evolving Stories From Doukhobor History, 1992, 159 pages. His series is now being republished in Iskra.

Koozma J. Tarasoff

Since the 1970s, I guest-lectured at the University of Waterloo, U. of Ottawa, U. of Calgary, Asbury College (Ottawa), Moscow State University, and organized sessions for Learned Societies of Canada.
In October 20-22, 1997, I was a Lansdowne Lecturer (2 lectures, 1 seminar) at the University of Victoria, BC. My topics were:
  • Spirit Wrestlers: Early Canadian Pioneers
  • Doukhobors at the Threshold of the Millennium
  • Doukhobors, Citizenship and Multiculturalism
An updated version of the third lecture was published in 1998 in Spirit-Wrestlers' Voices, as Multiculturalism and the rise of a new spirit, (pages 329-345, revised online in 2006).

In 2013, I edited and posted Wisdom of the Ages: Unified Doukhobor Beliefs as an online self-study course. In 2001, the first version was published in serial form in Iskra, and revised for Spirit Wrestlers: Doukhobor Pioneers....(2002).

Dr. Veronika A. Makarova

Born in Russia and educated at the University of St. Petersburg, Dr. Makarova has been at the University of Saskatchewan since 2003. She is Head of the Department of Religion and Culture and Chair of the Linguistics Program, and focused most of her recent work on Doukhobors. She is teaching RLST 398-01, Special Topics: Doukhobor Religion and Culture beginning September 5, 2013, for 11 weeks.

More: Questions and Answers, Comments


  1. Hello all! I wanted to add my name to this list. I include Doukhobor content in my courses as a history professor at Douglas College. I have taught classes on Doukhobor history in the following courses: Canada After Confederation; Women, Gender, and Sexuality after 1920; Western Canada, British Columbia; and Global Issues in Historical Perspective. I have also guest-lectured on the subject of the Doukhobors' choral culture for Douglas College's Performing and Fine Arts Class on Canadian Culture. I will be guest lecturing on this topic again on October 22nd. If anyone is in the Greater Vancouver Area and is interested in attending this lecture, please get in touch with me at androsoffa@douglascollege.ca. All the best to all!

  2. Hello Ashleigh! Thank you for posting your name as an instructor who has (and continues to have) Doukhobor content in your university courses. I know of a several people who have done the same. Readers, if you know of someone who is presenting similar content in Doukhobor history and culture, please post it in the Comment section.

  3. April 27, 2015 I am one of 20+students enrolled in "Peace 216:The Doukobors" a new course offered for the first time at the Mir Centre, Selkirk College, Castlegar, BC. This week long course, taught by Takaia Larsen, is described thus:
    "This course offers an interdisciplinary approach to the study of the Doukhobors and their ongoing connection to issues of peace and conflict. Rooted in the religious turmoil of early modern Europe, that experience has situated this group within some of the most important political, economic, social and identity-based tensions of the past 200 years.From this perspective, we assess how the Doukhobors reflect an ongoing effort to negotiate an alternative vision of modernity, that process of transformation that is expressed in forms including secularism, liberalism, the rise of the individual, the proliferation of capitalism, the growth of the modern state and increasingly destructive technologies of war." We are having visiting Doukhobor speakers to the class, we are visiting local historically significant Doukhobour sites, and we are aware of the parallel experiences of First Nations, the Doukhobors, the Chinese and the Japanese who have all experienced racism, forced transfer, and marginalization at different times in Canadian history.