Director of Undergraduate Studies:
Religious Studies offers a curriculum of challenging coursework that explores and critically analyzes religious traditions and systems of value. The many diverse courses delve into the history and meaning of rituals, canonical and non-canonical texts, and theological and social categories and how they have been shaped by and construct institutions, habits, hierarchies, and collectives. The study of religion probes the organization of society, gender roles, global affairs, war, violence, terrorism, and conflicting orthodoxies. Multiple disciplinary lenses and methodological approaches inform and shape the field, including: anthropology, history, philosophy, philology, psychology, and sociology. Courses on religious practices and formations span the globe over the course of history, from antiquity until the present day. The curriculum also addresses competing value systems that circulate in pop culture and politics, with studies of fundamentalism, spirituality, secularism, atheism, and consumerism.
The Department of Religious Studies is particularly known for its promotion of scholarly research by undergraduates. The tight cohort of majors have the unique opportunity to work closely with leading scholars of the field. The curriculum enables majors to acquire the linguistic, philosophical, and historical acumen necessary for in-depth research projects during their senior year. While courses normally have no prerequisites, some advanced seminars may require the permission of the instructor. The multidisciplinary nature of Religious Studies makes it attractive both for students seeking two majors and for those seeking to delve deep into a field of study as it relates broadly to the humanities.
All students who major in Religious Studies will be required to author a Senior Essay. Students can find this year’s Senior Essay Guide here.