Christopher Helland

Associate Professor

Phone: 902-494-6757
Mailing Address: 
Room 3124, McCain Building, 6135 University Avenue
PO Box 15000, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada B3H 4R2
Research Topics:
  • Sociology of religion
  • Anthropology of religion
  • Media/Internet studies
  • Popular culture
  • Transnationalism and diaspora
  • Social justice and inequality


  • BA Hons, MA, Concordia University
  • PhD, University of Toronto

Research interests

Christopher Helland’s research focuses upon religion in contemporary culture from a sociological perspective. His primary work examines the impact of the Internet and World Wide Web on a variety of religious traditions and practices. Helland’s research examines the role of new media in relation to issues of religious authority and power, religious information seeking behavior, ritual practices, and even changing belief systems. His most current research project is investigating the effects of computer-mediated communications on diaspora religious groups.

Helland has also done extensive research on contemporary premillennial and apocalyptic movements and studied a variety of UFO based new religious groups. His research in this field examined the Raelian Movement, Ashtar Command, and George Van Tassel.

Selected publications

  • Helland, C. (2016). Digital Religion. In: David Yamane (Ed.) Handbook of Religion and Social Institutions (pp. 177-196). Springer: Switzerland.
  • Helland, C. (2016). Ashtar Command. In: David Bromley (Ed.) World Religions and Spiritualities Project.
  • Helland, C. (2015). Virtual Religion: A Case Study of Virtual Tibet. Oxford Handbooks Online. Oxford University Press: New York. 
  • Helland, C. (2014). Virtual Tibet: Maintaining Identity through Internet Networks. In: Gregory Grieve and Danielle Veidlinger (Eds.).The Pixel in the Lotus: Buddhism, the Internet, and Digital Media. Routledge: New York.
  • Helland, C. (2012). Ritual. In: Heidi Campbell (Ed.). Digital Religion: Understanding Religious Practice in New Media Worlds (pp. 25-40). Routledge: New York.