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Prof. PhD Barbara Thériault

Prof. PhD Barbara Thériault
Barbara Thériault is an expert in the field of sociology and anthropology. She has conducted extensive field work and published widely on issues related to diversity within the police forces in Germany, including a book manuscript submitted at Indiana University Press (The Police Officer and the Sociologist: Investigating Diversity in the German Police Forces). In this book she investigates the ways diversity is dealt with in Germany, a country often described as hostile to difference. She does so from the standpoint of police officers who contribute through their work in recruiting, counseling, and educating to bringing about change within the forces. Drawing on interviews and participant observation, she outlines four ideal types of “carriers of diversity” (an empathetic, a principled, an opportunist one as well as a specialist). While lending the book its structure, each portrait is also linked to a central theme—a Christian heritage, a particular shade of liberalism, a Kantian tradition, and the “spirit” of new social movements—that grounds the types’ motives in a cultural and historical context. Put together, the four ideal types depict the treatment of difference in the police forces and, in turn, in Germany.

She has received two SSHRC grants on the topic (Les "porteurs de la diversité": Islam, diversité et tolération en Allemagne [2006-2010] and Le représentant (Stellvertreter): Portée empirique et théorique d’un concept [2011-2014]) as well as a fellowship from the Humboldt-Stiftung (2006-2007) combined with a research stay at the Chair of Social and Cultural Anthropology in Frankfurt/Oder. In 2003, she received the FQRSC research price (205 000 $) for her project "Enjeux de l’islam et débats publics. Dynamique et mécanismes des identités européennes". Among numerous Master’s theses, she has supervised is Danya Lavoie’s work on the inter-ethnic relationships within the Montreal Police Force: « Les dirigeants du SPVM, les chercheurs et les policiers arabo-musulmans: une étude sur l'institutionnalisation de la 'diversité' ».

Barbara Thériault recently completed her habilitation under the supervision of Werner Schiffauer, Professor of Comparative Cultural and Social Anthropology at the Europa-Universität Viadrina in Frankfurt/Oder, and maintains active collaboration with that institution. In addition, she has just begun a collaborative research project with Dr. Ines Michalowski at the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin on how public institutions deal with ethnic and religious diversity. As current director of the CCEAE, she belongs to a world-wide network of DAAD-funded centers within which the IRTG will constitute a pole of attraction for students interested in questions of diversity.

Academic Career


Political Sciences, Université Laval (Québec)

Graduation / Academic Degrees

Dr. habil : Kultursoziologie / Europa-Universität Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder)
PhD in sociology, Université libre de Bruxelles and Universität Erfurt
DEA, social sciences (option sociology), Université Libre de Bruxelles
Masters in political sciences, Université Laval (with semesters at Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg and Universität Konstanz)

Current Position(s)

Full Professor of Sociology, Department of Sociology, Université de Montréal

Position(s) Held

Assistant Professor of Sociology, Department of Sociology, Université de Montréal

Relevant (International) Research Experience

Research Fellow, Université Libre de Bruxelles
Humboldt Fellow, Viadrina Universität, Frankfurt an der Oder

Major Research Grants, Scholarships and Awards

SSHRC Grant, Religious Diversity and its Limits: Moving beyond tolerance and accommodation, in cooperation with Lori Beaman
DAAD, Étiquette, civilité et démocratie: une étude comparée
DAAD, Border Crossers: Islam and European national identities
FQRSC Grant, La gouvernance en question: action collective et redéfinition des rapports État-société civile
DAAD, Le passeur de frontières
SSHRC Grant, Apprendre la démocratie. Éducation politique et diversité en République fédérale allemande
SSHRC Grant, Les Porteurs de la diversité. Islam, diversité et tolérance en Allemagne

Memberships and other relevant Activities

  • Membre du Centre canadien d’études allemandes et européennes (CCEAE)
  • Responsable de la rubrique « Feuilleton » de la revue Sociologie et sociétés
  • Rédactrice en chef de la revue Eurostudia
  • Chercheure au Centre d'études et de recherches internationales de l'UdeM (CERIUM)

List of Publications

a) Publications in refereed journals and book publications
"A Book, a Securitate File, and a Research Project. On Gossiping and Ethnography", Eurostudia 10:1, 1-10.
"La sociologie mise en abîme. Essai avec la participation non autorisée de Milan Kundera", Eurostudia 9:1, 41-50.
"Porter le chapelet. Formes religieuses dans une prison de femmes", Studies in Religion / Sciences religieuses 43:1, 172-180.
The Cop and the Sociologist: Investigating Diversity in German Police Forces (Bielefeld: transcript).
"Le bourgeois ressuscité" [translation "Der Aufgestandene Bourgeois", by Joseph Roth], Sociologie et sociétés 45:2, 333-335.
"Jewgraf ou l’héroïsme liquidé" [translation "Jewgraf oder der liquidierte Heroismus", by Joseph Roth], Sociologie et sociétés 45:2, 337-340.
"Enquêter sur la "diversité" à Berlin. Le cas de l'inspecteur Bobkowski", SociologieS (http://sociologies.revues.org/index3476.html )
"Le sociologue, l’homme pieux et le pluralisme religieux. Dialogue avec Max Weber", Social Compass 57:2, 206-216.
(co-authored with Sirma Bilge) "Des passeurs aux frontières", Sociologie et société 42:1, 9-15.
"Inquiring into Diversity. The Case of Berlin Police Inspector Bobkowski", German Politics and Society 27:4, 72-91.
(co-authored with Jean Duhaime) "Le charisme comme énigme", Théologiques 17:2, 5-14.

b) Other publications
"Die (V)ermittler. Anwerben von Polizisten mit Migrationshintergrund in Deutschland", in: Karlhans Liebl (ed.), Polizei und Fremde - Fremde in der Polizei (Wiesbaden: VS Verlag), 203-225.

Training of Young Researchers

Dissertations Currently Supervised

Alex Perreault: La musique et ses modes de rationalisation par les technologies de diffusion: une perspective sociohistorique (since September 2010)

Rosa Maria Tagliente: La laïcité et la gestion du multiculturalisme en Italie et au Canada (since 2012, date of enrolment in the PhD program, since 2013 Doctoral Researcher IRTG Diversity, Université de Montréal/Sociology, Co-Supervision with Valérie Amiraux)

Finished Dissertations

Kavin Hébert: Karl Mannheim et la question des intellectuels sous la République de Weimar, troisième cycle, (2001-2006, special mention: among the best 5% dissertations. professor of sociology, college of Sherbrooke)

Monica Grigore: Les pèlerines, la religion vécue et la Roumanie postcommuniste, 2015

Gabriela Marcoci (co-direction avec Laurence McFalls): La transition postcommuniste en Roumanie (entre 1989-2004), 2015

Dave Poitras: Nationhood at Work. An Ethnography of Workplaces in Montreal & Brussels (2016, Co-Supervision with Martin Endreß, time to degree: 3 years; current position: IRTG Diversity start-up funding for postdoctoral project)

Xymena Wieczorek: Making Sense of Movements. Investigating the Patterns of (Im)Mobility among Young Adults of Polish Heritage in Germany and Canada (2016, Co-Supervision with Martin Endreß, time to degree: 3 years; current position: IRTG Diversity start-up funding for postdoctoral project)
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