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Mission Statement

Religions are among the most important, controversial forces in global human society, both past and present. They are central to the lives of billions of people. They inspire radical quests across the boundaries of time, space, and place, even as they are assemblages of the everyday – rituals, texts, beliefs, codes of conduct, and bodily practices. Religions shape and are shaped by everything from personal identity to cosmic imagination, from community relationships to transnational politics. World events continually expose its complicated dynamics and challenge its thorny definitions. A rigorous and interdisciplinary study of religion is, therefore, an essential part of being an educated and ethical citizen in the global community. To this end, the Department of Religion seeks to shape students who can think critically about religions; recognize religious elements in various dimensions of human experience; appreciate the inseparability of religions from the rest of human experience; compare different forms of human religious expression from antiquity to postmodernity; and are able to migrate between their own worldviews and those of others.