Religious Studies focuses on the academic study of religion. It aims to understand religions, religious groups, religious practices, and religious ideas, across traditions, time periods, and geographical regions. It does not promote or undermine any religious perspective.
Religious Studies is by its very nature interdisciplinary. The field, from its earliest inception, combined historical analysis of the religion and culture of specific groups with a study of their foundational texts. With the growth of the social sciences, the field later incorporated the approaches of anthropology, sociology, and psychology to study the “lived religion” of specific groups. More recently, the field has embraced a variety theoretical approaches to the study of religion.
The Religious Studies major provides a knowledge base that is essential to understanding contemporary society. Religious ideas and practices shape behavior throughout the world.
Those who have a deep understanding of religion—how its features interact with and depend upon social and cultural contexts—are in a better position to grasp the salient aspects of religiously based communication and interactions.
The Religious Studies major provides numerous opportunities to hone intellectual skills in textual analysis, direct observation, historical research, critical thinking, and cross-cultural understanding. It exposes one to the diversity of the human experience, with respect to not only ideas and beliefs but also ritual and community practices and institutional arrangements.
For more information, click here: http://www.religiousstudies.umn.edu/ugrad/wcidwami.html
All of us in the Religious Studies Program mourn the passing of our colleague, Hernan Vidal, a long-time faculty member in the department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies.
A tribute to Professor Vidal is available here:
Congratulations to our colleague Jim Laine (Macalester College) on the
publication of his new book Meta-Religion: Religion & Power in World
History, just published by the University of California Press.
Congratulations to RS Steering Committee member, Nabil Matar, on the publication of his new collection of essays, co-edited with Judy A. Hayden and titled Through the Eyes of the Beholder: The Holy Land, 1517-1713 (Brill 2012). Learn more