Photo of Melanie Adrian

Melanie Adrian

Associate Professor, Carleton Chair in Teaching Innovation

Degrees:B.A. (Waterloo), M.A. (Essex), M.A. (Harvard), Ph.D. (Harvard)
Phone:613-520-2600 x 2085
Office:D593 Loeb

On sabbatical for the 2023/2024 academic year

Dr. Melanie Adrian’s research focuses on the question of rights of minorities in religiously, ethnically and culturally diverse societies. She is examining how states integrate or accommodate culturally distinct peoples while maintaining a healthy balance between international and national rights and respect for national values. Most recently, she has looked at these questions in light of the debate around religious symbols in public schools in France. Her forthcoming book Risking Religious Freedom: France, the Veil and the Right to Act on Faith argues that France, and Europe more generally, are heading down a dangerous path in their reluctance to live up to the spirit of international human rights conventions. Dr. Adrian says, “These conventions have historically been interpreted to protect a wide range of manifestations of religious belief – and this stands in direct opposition to the current trend favouring a more narrow interpretation of this same right.”

Information about the Chair in Teaching Innovation

Areas of Interest

  • Religious rights of minorities in Europe and the Americas
    (Art. 18 & Art. 9)
  • Identity and self-expression among Muslim minority communities in Europe and the Americas
  • Intersections of multiculturalism, nationalism, religion and the law
  • Social Theory
  • Human Rights Law


The Art & Science of Learning (April 21, 2021) Podcast episode “Innovative Teaching in High Education

CAUT (Sept. 2019) Profile Interview

University Affairs (March 2015) Profile Piece – “Make Way for Melanie Adrian”

Selected Publications



  • Adrian, M. (2017) “The Principled Slope: Religious Freedom and the European Court of Human Rights.” Religion, State and Society. Vol. 45, no. 3-4. P. 174-185.
  • Adrian, M. (2019) “The principled slope: religious freedom and the EuropeanbCourt of Human Rights” in The European Court of Human Rights and Minority Religions: Messages Generated and Messages Received. Effie Fokas and James T. Richardson eds. New York: Routledge. P.9-20.

Book Chapters

  • Adrian, M. (2016) “Freedom of Religion: A Change in Perspective?” HumanRights: Political and Legal Perspectives. Ed. DiGiacomo, Gord. Toronto:University of Toronto Press. (Voted best 100 books in 2016 by The Hill Times)


Media Appearances

CPAC (Oct. 17, 2017) “Views from Canadian Muslims

Globe and Mail (Apr. 23, 2019) quoted in “Canada Playing Major Role as safe haven for at-risk academics from strife-torn countries.”

Toronto Star (Apr. 5, 2019) Quoted in “How Secularism became Quebec’s Religion: the Distinct Path to Bill 21.

CBC (Oct. 10, 2017) Ottawa Morning – “A new Scholar at Risk in Ottawa

CBC (Sept. 26, 2016) All in a Day – “Electronics in the Classroom.”