The Religious Studies Department
The Bachelor of Arts with a major in Religious Studies encourages students to explore and examine a variety of religious traditions as they relate to larger social structures, political institutions, and cultural patterns. In an increasingly interconnected world, this program is designed to help students to recognize and interpret ethical approaches to urgent personal, local, and global issues. In focusing on “Religion and Society,” the department fosters strong relationships with a number of other departments and programs, including Global Studies, Peace and Justice Studies, and Environmental Studies. We encourage students to think and conduct research across disciplines.
Our goals are to give students the tools to:
- Recognize the basic phenomenology of religions (i.e. sacred texts, religious authorities and institutions, ritual practices, categories of the sacred, the varieties of religious experience, etc.).
- Describe the distinctive features of these components as they are expressed within and across particular religious traditions.
- Analyze the particular ways in which these phenomena are expressed within and affected by both time and cultures.
- Integrate critical thinking and personal experience.
- Empathize with individuals and communities whose experiences of religion and religiosity may or may not be similar to one’s own perspectives and experiences.
The program offers a major and a minor and encourages students to consider double majoring. The program is particularly suited to meet the aims of several components of the college’s mission and long range plans: the need to understand a variety of cultures and common human and environmental concerns; the appreciation of diversity; opportunities for cross-cultural experience and understanding; promotion of skills for purposeful and effective contribution to society; and the integration of service with study and reflection on underlying causes of social problems and potential solutions.