The Religion Department seeks to provide:
- specialized courses for students majoring in the discipline, and
- general courses for students interested in religion, but who are pursuing other majors
The department offers courses in a variety of areas in the study of religion, clustered around the particular interests and expertise of the faculty. We have courses that fulfill the requirements for Cultural Diversity, Perspectives on the non-Western World, Writing Intensive, as well as Arts and Humanities. In addition, we offer a Jewish Studies minor, and the Asian Studies major draws a significant number of its courses from our department.
Successful religion majors come out of the program with three skills central to a sound liberal arts education:
- the ability to recognize and communicate to others the diversity of human cultural expressions
- the ability to interpret one's own and others' different cultural perspectives as systems - as coherent, integrated world views
- and the ability to articulate the significant connection between religion and ethical behavior - why we and others do what do.
It is not the goal of our program to convince students to "be religious," but rather to think critically and reflectively about the religious dimension of their own and other people's experience. A comparative approach is essential for critical reflection, so students will study not one but several religions, namely, Western Biblical traditions, Islam, East Asian and native traditions, and contemporary religious movements like eco-feminism. Recognizing in addition the importance of experiential learning for understanding "religion-in-action," we encourage students with interests in social activism and/or particular religious traditions to pursue them in service learning or other extra-curricular activities and will provide students with opportunities to reflect on the religious dimensions of such experiences.