Religious Studies

The Religious Studies curriculum approaches the history of human thought and practice while focusing on specific geographical, cultural, and philosophical areas of scholarly interest. The department offers general and comparative courses that engage more than one tradition, concept, or text, as well as survey courses that provide a broad introduction to a particular religious tradition or scripture in historical context.

Courses in Religious Studies explore when, how, and why communities forge systems of value. Faculty guide students to examine institutions, practices, texts, and ideas simultaneously: to see how texts influence institutions, how institutions prescribe habits, and how human beings resist and reiterate the given institutions and practices of their specific geographic and historical contexts.

The Religious Studies department is particularly known for its promotion of scholarly research by undergraduates. Undergraduate majors acquire the linguistic, philosophical, and historical acumen necessary for an in-depth research project during their senior year.

Most courses have no prerequisites and are open to nonmajors. Courses appropriate for first-years include:

  • RLST 015 Gods and Heroes in Indian Religions
  • RLST 018, Yoga in South Asia and Beyond
  • RLST 022, Religion & Science Fiction
  • RLST 027, Political Theology
  • RLST 030, Christians & Muslims in the Arab World
  • RLST 082, Representing Muhammad
  • RLST 124, Vocabularies of Islam
  • RLST 125, Introduction to Buddhist Thought and Practice
  • RLST 127, Visual Worlds of Himalayan Buddhism
  • RLST 147, Introduction to Judaism in the Ancient World: From Temple to Talmud
  • RLST 150, Introduction to New Testament
  • RLST 157, Biblical Interpretation in Early Christianity
  • RLST 189, Introduction to Indian Philosophy