Photo of Angela Sumegi

Angela Sumegi

Associate Professor

Degrees:Ph.D. Religious Studies
Phone:613-520-2600 x 2107
Email:angela.sumegi@carleton.ca
Office:2A53 Paterson Hall, Office hours: Thursday 2:30-3:30 or by appt

Biography

Angela Sumegi, Associate Professor of Humanities and Religion, was born and raised in Jamaica, West Indies, immigrating to Canada with her family in 1962. She completed a B.A. degree in Art History (1976) and an M.A. in Religion (1984) at Carleton. Her area of academic expertise is in Indo-Tibetan Buddhism and the interface between Buddhism and Shamanism. She lived and studied in south India for five years (1981-86), two of which were devoted to Sanskrit Language study as a Fellow with the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute.

During that time she completed the work for her Master’s degree and was introduced to traditional Tibetan styles of scriptural study and meditation at Namdroling monastery. On returning to Canada, she combined the duties of raising three children with work in the corporate world as a film producer and sessional teaching at Carleton, the University of Ottawa, and St. Paul’s University. Sumegi’s doctoral thesis on the relationship between Tibetan Buddhism and Shamanism was completed at the University of Ottawa in 2003 and published in 2008 by SUNY Press under the title “Dream Worlds of Shamanism and Tibetan Buddhism.” Her current research interests focus on religious approaches to death as well as Indo-Tibetan Buddhism and its interface with indigenous shamanic practices and beliefs. Outside of academia, she teaches Buddhist meditation and is the founder and director of a Canadian charity that supports Tibetan refugee children in India.

Research Interests

  • The interface between Buddhism and shamanism. In studying the relationship between Buddhism and shamanism or indigenous folk religions, my research focuses on the ambiguities and tensions that arise in the encounter between the pragmatic, this-worldly orientation of shamanic religious systems and the extra-worldly, soteriological orientation represented by normative Buddhism. Specifically, I am interested in the way in which such tensions are mediated in situations where the shamanic/folk orientation coexists with ideas of individual salvation.
  • Religious Responses to Death. I am currently preparing a textbook provisionally entitled Understanding Death: Identity and the Afterlife in World Religions. This textbook, dealing with the beliefs and rituals surrounding death and life after death in world religions, is based on my years of teaching such a course and is targeted to undergraduate students. I aim to redress the problems of current textbooks on the subject by taking the question of religious identity as a common theme linking the various traditions. This work is currently under contract by Wiley-Blackwell Publishing and scheduled for completion over my sabbatical in 2008-09.

2015-16 Courses

  • RELI 2732B/V/BOD/VOD Death and Afterlife (W)
  • RELI 5801 F Seminar in the Discipline
  • RELI 5908 T Research Essay (F/W)

Publications

Books

Dream Worlds of Shamanism and Tibetan Buddhism: The Third Place. New York: State University of New York Press, 2008.

In Progress

Understanding Death: Identity and the Afterlife in World Religions. Wiley-Blackwell Publishing.

Major Encyclopedia or Dictionary Articles

Irons, Edward A. (ed.) “China-Tibet”; “Padmasambhava”;”Tsong Khapa” in Encyclopedia of Buddhism.New York: Facts on File, Inc. 2008, 107-110; 380-381; 523-24.

Creative Writing

Tanka poetry in The Tanka Journal, No. 29, 2006; No. 30, 2007. The Japan Tanka Poets’ Society, Tokyo, Japan.

Haiku poetry in Haiku Canada, vol. XV #2February, 2002; Vol. XV #3 June, 2002; June, 2006.

Book Reviews

“The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep” by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoché,” in The Tibet Journal , Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, vol. XXV, No.3, 2000, 78-80.

Awards

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), July 2006

Co-applicant – Cultural Tourism in Indigenous Contexts: A Sino-Canadian Perspective.

Carleton Publication Assistance Award, 2005

Carleton GR6 grant, 2003. Religion in Bhutan’s Phobjika Valley

Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute Fellowship – advanced Sanskrit language study in India 1981-83