Catholic Studies

Julie Byrne

Dr. Julie Byrne
Associate Professor of Religion and Hartman Chair in Catholic Studies

Catholic Studies at Hofstra is for everyone. In classes, programs, and events, we explore how religion works, specifically Catholicism — in the past and present, in institutions and systems, and in the everyday life of individuals, families, communities, and global citizenry.

Catholic Studies is a relatively new field that takes different forms at different institutions. At Hofstra, it involves the academic study of Catholicism, using comparative, cultural, historical, and theoretical approaches to understand Catholicism across different times and contexts. Catholics make up a full half of the global Christian population, which means that one out of every six people in the world is Catholic. In the United States, the percentage is higher, with over one in five Americans identifying as Catholic. For this reason, Catholicism can provide an ongoing and important "case study" that illumines general liberal arts inquiry into religion and culture in a global context.


The Religion Major or Minor with a Catholic Studies Emphasis

At Hofstra, majoring or minoring in Religion is very flexible. You can tailor your study to focus on a vocational area or a particular tradition, or you can just choose courses that expose you to a diversity of faiths.

If you choose to major or minor in Religion with an emphasis in Catholic Studies, you can take courses in Religion, Jewish Studies, or other departments. The main Religion courses that include Catholic Studies themes are listed below. Many other courses in the department and across the University complement these offerings. Please consult Dr. Julie Byrne, Hartman Chair in Catholic Studies, for more information.

RELI 12   Western Religious Traditions
RELI 18   What Is Catholicism?
RELI 154   American Catholicism Now
RELI 158   Religion in Everyday Life

The Hartman Chair in Catholic Studies at Hofstra University

Catholic Studies at Hofstra originated with members of the Long Island community who wished to honor Monsignor Thomas J. Hartman, a beloved and accomplished priest, media personality, and former co-host (with Rabbi Marc Gellman) of the nationally syndicated column and television series "The God Squad."

"Father Tom" is known for his lifelong commitment to educational, interfaith, charitable and social justice ventures on Long Island and beyond. He recently retired in order to devote full-time effort to raising funds for research on Parkinson's Disease. Please visit the Thomas Hartman Center for Parkinson's Research for more information.

Due to the efforts of Monsignor Hartman, the Long Island community, Hofstra University, and the Department of Religion, in 2006 Dr. Julie Byrne joined the faculty as the first Hartman Catholic Studies Chair. Dr. Byrne is a historian and ethnographer of American Catholicism who teaches a variety of topics in U.S. religion and culture. Catholic Studies at Hofstra was designed to emphasize continuity with the robust liberal arts and sciences tradition of the Department of Religion and the Hofstra faculty across disciplines. Dr. Byrne works closely with colleagues Drs. Ann Burlein, Balbinder Singh Bhogal, Santiago Slabodsky, and John Teehan to lead Catholic Studies.

Dr. Julie Byrne
Video: Installation of Dr. Julie Byrne

Contact the Program

Catholic Studies Chair

Room 104C Heger Hall



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