What You’ll Study

Undaunted by hard questions and ready to challenge your own ideas and positions? Our religious studies minor will introduce you to diverse cultures and provide you with the critical and academic tools to come to a new understanding of our world. The reflection and thought that the program requires will leave you with a deeper understanding of the role religion plays in relationship to ethics, power, and group dynamics — lessons that will serve you well within a range of communities, from groups of friends to workplace culture.

The Religious Studies program will allow you to:

  • recognize the basic kinds of shared experiences that define religion as a category of inquiry (i.e. sacred texts, religious authorities, ritual practices, ethical standards, concepts of the sacred, etc.).
  • examine the distinctive features of these components as expressed by communities in relation to power, difference, and change.
  • learn a variety of theoretical and methodological tools within disciplines like Sociology, Anthropology, and Psychology.
  • integrate critical thinking and personal experience.
  • empathize with individuals and communities whose experiences of religion may differ from your own.

Explore Classes in This Program

REL 111

Exploring Religions

Exploring Religions is a survey course that will introduce you to major religions of the world and to the academic study of religion. We will carefully examine a wide variety of sources to help you understand and appreciate the diversity of ways that people have considered questions of life and death, values and ethics, power and danger. You’ll learn how to employ research methods in the study of religion through textual research and fieldwork experiences.

REL 238

History and Literature of Buddhism

Learn the history, doctrines, and practices of Buddhist traditions. We will ask how this religion influenced the collective histories and personal lives of the people who identify themselves as “Buddhists” across the expanse of time and space. You’ll read translations of Sanskrit, Pali, Chinese, and Tibetan primary texts complemented by biographies, ethnographies, and documentary films. Special attention will be given to Thai, East Asian, and Tibetan Buddhism.

REL 321

Religion, Peace, and Social Justice: Seminar

This advanced seminar focuses on cultures where religions have contributed significantly to the making and sustaining of peace. We will examine key religious values and practices, sacred and classic writings, and case studies of religious leaders. Movements include the 19th-century abolitionist movement, the 20th-century Social Gospel movement, and the movement for civil rights.

Meet Our Faculty

I love teaching students who are committed to learning theory and working for social justice. This kind of engaged scholarship will move the world forward.

Rima Vesely-Flad, Ph.D.
Rima Vesely-Flad
Rima Vesely-Flad, Ph.D.
Ben Feinberg

At Warren Wilson, we have the time we need to know our students as real, complete, complicated human beings, not just a butt in a seat and a name on a paper.

Ben Feinberg, Ph.D.
Ben Feinberg
Ben Feinberg, Ph.D.
Rima Vesely-Flad