About Religious Studies

We are a vibrant community of scholars and students exploring the deepest questions about human life through the lens of religion. One of the first religious studies programs in the country, we continue to be an interdisciplinary center for the study of religion in the twenty-first century. Religious studies as a discipline brings together researchers from fields as diverse as anthropology, literary studies, history, political science, and archaeology. Our program gives students an opportunity to learn about the wide variety of religions as well as to study past and current events with a critical but open mind.

What do our majors and minors study?

Undergraduate students can study a wide range topics through Religious Studies. Students explore religious movements and traditions in all their interdisciplinary complexity--often comparatively, sometimes thematically, and almost always in specific historical and cultural contexts. The curriculum covers subjects as diverse as U.S. politics, the Middle East, atheism, the FBI, health, eastern philosophies, and more. The diversity of topics that can be studied through Religious Studies is among the most diverse on campus.

Whether you are interested in a specific religion like Islam, an aspect of religion like ritual, or want to understand how religion has shaped past and current events, religious studies is for you.

Why Study Religion?

Whether you consider yourself a religious person or not, or whether you think religion has played a positive or negative role in history, it is an incontrovertible fact that from the beginning of time, humans have engaged in activities that we now call religion, such as worship, prayer, and rituals marking important life passages.

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What can you study in Religious Studies?

A Clear Voice on Millennia-old Mysteries

For nearly three decades, the Weltin Lecture Fund has enabled the Religious Studies Program and Assembly Series to bring renowned scholars of religion to the university. In spring 2018, Elaine Pagels delivered the lecture, sharing her riveting discoveries on art and politics in the Book of Revelation.

Islam, Immigration, and What It Means to Be French

In 2015 alone, hundreds of migrants have fled war-torn Syria and elsewhere and made their way to Europe. While many Europeans have welcomed the refugees, some countries have expressed reluctance to accept Muslim asylum seekers. When thinking about the ongoing crisis, anthropologist John Bowen sees a discouraging consistency with the larger history of Islam and immigration in Europe, particularly in France. Here he talks about that history and and how Europe, and France in particular, can best move forward.

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Former US Secretary of State John Kerry Meets With Religious Leaders in Sokoto Nigeria

I often say that if I headed back to college today, I would major in comparative religions rather than political science. That is because religious actors and institutions are playing an influential role in every region of the world and on nearly every issue central to U.S. foreign policy.

―John KerryFormer US Secretary of State

From Coffee Hours to Study Breaks and Trivia Night, we invite you to get to know the community of students and scholars working on religion.

A Vibrant Community

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