The mission of the Department of Religious Studies is to be a hub of interdisciplinary inquiry into religious ideas, experiences, cultural expressions, and social movements. Religion has taken myriad forms throughout history and around the world, and it continues to change and evolve in ways that challenge human understanding.

To meet this challenge, the religious studies faculty makes use of multiple methods of study, including historical, philosophical, ethical, literary, linguistic, psychological, ethnographic, and digital approaches. We help students and the public to become better-informed, more nuanced thinkers who can successfully navigate a world of religious diversity. Through our graduate program, we prepare future scholars and teachers to extend our educational efforts in new directions and advance the critical study of religion.


The department’s faculty covers a striking array of the world’s religions. At the same time, it coheres around a central, distinguishing theme, which is the study of religion and public life–or religion's impact on world events.

We specialize in the critical analysis of religion's influences on identity-formation and the dynamics of social change, in history and in the contemporary, digital era.