Religious studies is an academic discipline that looks at religious phenomena worldwide from a variety of angles in order to understand the many roles that religion plays in human life. To this end, students of religion learn to use a variety of theoretical analyses and methods. These include historical methods to understand how religions develop in time; critical literary methods to understand religious ideas; aesthetic methods to understand religious art and material culture; social-scientific methods to understand the relationship between religion, society and culture. Religious studies can also engage a variety of professional disciplines in analysis of how religion functions in economic, educational or political contexts, healthcare and scientific research, to name some examples.
Some ways of studying religion emphasize understanding religions on their own terms, other ways use comparative methods to discern differences and similarities between religions. Students of religion also study ways that people use religious resources to make meaning outside the boundaries of religious institutions and identities. Above all, the field of religious studies requires a willingness to explore different ways of interpreting human life and diligent effort to develop understanding of how religious ideas, symbols, rituals and spaces serve as resources for people in a variety of contexts as they make sense of and live out their lives in the world. Thus, religious studies provides important preparation for thinking, communicating and functioning professionally and personally in a complex, multi-dimensional world.
Because religious studies is an interdisciplinary program drawing upon many departments, some courses may have prerequisites in their home departments that must be fulfilled even though the prerequisites themselves have no bearing on progress within the religious studies major. Students are responsible for ensuring that they have met all the prerequisites to enter a course before they enroll in it. The current list of courses can be found in the Religious Studies course list page in the Guide.
Students who wish to declare their intention to major or earn a certificate in religious studies must meet with the undergraduate advisor during regular office hours or by making an appointment. Students are encouraged to do this early in their academic careers in order to plan for successful completion and take advantage of opportunities such as Honors, special research, internship, service learning, or study abroad opportunities in associate with the major or certificate.
Dr. Corrie Norman is the undergraduate advisor and Honors in the Major advisor. Contact her by email at email@example.com.
Requirements for the Certificate in Religious Studies
A certificate in religious studies is available to all undergraduates and special students studying at UW–Madison. To earn the certificate, students must complete:
|Gateway Courses, Select one of the following:||3|
|Religion in Global Perspective|
|Exploring Religion in Sickness and Health|
|RELIG ST 600||Religion in Critical Perspective||3|
|Additional Courses, see course list below:||12|
Select an additional 12 credits in RELIG ST courses to bring total credits to at least 18 credits. See course list below.
- 2.000 GPA in all RELIG ST and certificate courses.
- At least 9 credits for the certificate must be earned in residence.
Additional Courses Course List
|RELIG ST/HISTORY/MEDIEVAL 112||The World of Late Antiquity (200-900 C.E.)||4|
|RELIG ST/HISTORY 131||Introduction to Christianity: Jesus to the Present||4|
|RELIG ST/CNSR SCI 173||Consuming Happiness||3|
|RELIG ST 200||Introductory Topics in Religious Studies (Humanities)||3-4|
|RELIG ST/HISTORY/LCA 205||The Making of the Islamic World: The Middle East, 500-1500||3-4|
|RELIG ST/LCA 206||Introduction to the Qur'an||4|
|RELIG ST/HISTORY 208||Western Intellectual and Religious History to 1500||3-4|
|RELIG ST/HISTORY 209||Western Intellectual and Religious History since 1500||3-4|
|RELIG ST/JEWISH 211||Introduction to Judaism||4|
|RELIG ST/HISTORY 212||The History of Western Christianity to 1750||4|
|RELIG ST/CLASSICS/JEWISH/LITTRANS 227||Introduction to Biblical Literature (in English)||4|
|RELIG ST/HISTORY 230||Judaism, Christianity, and Islam: Braided Histories||3|
|RELIG ST/ILS 234||Genres of Western Religious Writing||3|
|RELIG ST/E ASIAN/LCA 235||Genres of Asian Religious Writing||3|
|RELIG ST/CLASSICS/JEWISH/LITTRANS 237||Biblical Poetry in Translation||3|
|RELIG ST/LITTRANS/MEDIEVAL 253||Literature in Translation: Dante's Divine Comedy||3|
|RELIG ST/LITTRANS 257||Literatures of Muslim Societies in Translation||3|
|RELIG ST/PHILOS 261||Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion||3-4|
|RELIG ST/E ASIAN/HISTORY 267||Asian Religions in Global Perspective||3|
|RELIG ST/ENVIR ST 270||Environment and Religion||3-4|
|RELIG ST 271||Religion in History and Culture: The West||3|
|RELIG ST/LCA 274||Religion in South Asia||3|
|RELIG ST/JEWISH 278||Food in Rabbinic Judaism||3-4|
|RELIG ST/E ASIAN/HISTORY/LCA 308||Introduction to Buddhism||3-4|
|RELIG ST/HISTORY/MEDIEVAL 309||The Crusades: Christianity and Islam||3-4|
|RELIG ST 311||Sects and Cults||3|
|RELIG ST/HISTORY/MEDIEVAL 312||The Medieval Church||3-4|
|RELIG ST/HISTORY/MEDIEVAL 318||Medieval Social and Intellectual History, 1200-1450||3-4|
|RELIG ST/SLAVIC 325||Eastern Christianity/Russian Orthodoxy in a Global Context||3|
|RELIG ST 327||Christianity and the Almighty Dollar||3|
|RELIG ST/JEWISH/LITTRANS 328||Classical Rabbinic Literature in Translation||3-4|
|RELIG ST/HIST SCI/MED HIST 331||Science, Medicine and Religion||3-4|
|RELIG ST/CLASSICS/HEBR-BIB/JEWISH/LITTRANS 332||Prophets of the Bible||4|
|RELIG ST 333||Early Christian Literature: Matthew-Revelation||3|
|RELIG ST/HISTORY 334||The Reformation||3-4|
|RELIG ST/CLASSICS/JEWISH 335||King David in History and Tradition||3|
|RELIG ST/FOLKLORE/LITTRANS/MEDIEVAL 342||In Translation: Mythology of Scandinavia||3-4|
|RELIG ST/ANTHRO 343||Anthropology of Religion||3-4|
|RELIG ST/CLASSICS/JEWISH 346||Jewish Literature of the Greco-Roman Period||3|
|RELIG ST/E ASIAN 350||Introduction to Taoism||3-4|
|RELIG ST/FOLKLORE 352||Shamanism||3|
|RELIG ST/LCA 355||Hinduism||4|
|RELIG ST/ENVIR ST/HIST SCI/LCA 356||Islam, Science & Technology, and the Environment||3-4|
|RELIG ST/LCA 357||Literatures of Muslim Societies||3|
|RELIG ST/FOLKLORE 359||Myth||3|
|RELIG ST/ENGL/HISTORY 360||The Anglo-Saxons||3|
|RELIG ST 361||Early Christian Literature: Pauline Christianity||3|
|RELIG ST/E ASIAN 363||Introduction to Confucianism||3|
|RELIG ST/LCA 367||Jainism: Religion of Non-Violence||3|
|RELIG ST/HISTORY/JEWISH/MEDIEVAL 368||The Bible in the Middle Ages||3|
|RELIG ST/AFRICAN/LCA 370||Islam: Religion and Culture||3-4|
|RELIG ST/ANTHRO/JEWISH 372||Jews of Central and Eastern Europe||3-4|
|RELIG ST/ART HIST 373||Great Cities of Islam||3|
|RELIG ST/COM ARTS 374||The Rhetoric of Religion||3|
|RELIG ST/JEWISH 377||Jewish Cultural History (in English)||4|
|RELIG ST/HISTORY 379||Islam in Iran||3|
|RELIG ST 400||Topics in Religious Studies - Humanities||3-4|
|RELIG ST 401||Topics in Religious Studies - Social Studies||3-4|
|RELIG ST/LCA 402||Thought of Gandhi||3|
|RELIG ST 403||Topics in Religious Studies-US Ethnic Studies||3-5|
|RELIG ST/LCA 421||A Survey of Tibetan Buddhism||3|
|RELIG ST/POLI SCI 433||Religion and Politics||3-4|
|RELIG ST/ENGL 434||Milton||3|
|RELIG ST/JEWISH/PHILOS 435||Jewish Philosophy from Antiquity to the Seventeenth Century||3|
|RELIG ST/HISTORY 437||Western Christianity from Augustine to Darwin||4|
|RELIG ST/HISTORY/LCA 438||Buddhism and Society in Southeast Asian History||3-4|
|RELIG ST/HISTORY 439||Islamic History From the Origin of Islam to the Ottoman Empire||3-4|
|RELIG ST/MEDIEVAL 440||Francis of Assisi: Literature and the Arts||3|
|RELIG ST/LCA 444||Introduction to Sufism (Islamic Mysticism)||3|
|RELIG ST/JEWISH 448||Classical Rabbinic Texts||3|
|RELIG ST/E ASIAN/LCA 466||Buddhist Thought||3|
|RELIG ST/HISTORY 470||Religious Thought in Modern Europe||3-4|
|RELIG ST 472||Christian Literature: The Gospels||3|
|RELIG ST/ART HIST 478||Art and Religious Practice in Medieval Japan||3|
|RELIG ST 500||Advanced Topics in Religious Studies||2-4|
|RELIG ST/PHILOS 501||Philosophy of Religion||3-4|
|RELIG ST/PHILOS 502||Special Topics in Philosophy of Religion||3|
|RELIG ST/CURRIC/ED POL 516||Religion and Public Education||3|
|RELIG ST/CLASSICS/HISTORY 517||Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean||3|
|RELIG ST/HISTORY/JEWISH 529||Intellectual and Religious History of European Jewry, 1648-1939||4|
|RELIG ST/HISTORY/LCA 547||Religion, Colonialism & Modernity in Southeast Asia||3|
|RELIG ST/LCA/SOC 614||Social Structures of Muslim Societies||3|
|RELIG ST/POLI SCI 618||Political Islam||3-4|
|RELIG ST/LCA 620||Proseminar: Studies in Religions of Asia||3|
|RELIG ST/LCA 623||Yoga: Methods and Goals||3|
|RELIG ST/LCA 624||Meditation in Indian Buddhism and Hinduism||3|
|RELIG ST/LCA 626||Gods and Goddesses of South Asia||3|
|RELIG ST/LCA/LEGAL ST 628||Hindu Law||3|
|RELIG ST/LCA/SOC 634||Social Structure of India||3|
|RELIG ST/LCA 650||Proseminar in Buddhist Thought||2-3|
|RELIG ST/ANTHRO 666||The Anthropology of Shamanism and Occult Experience||3|
The Religious Studies curriculum is designed so that, by the time of graduation, students will have developed the following attributes:
- Proficiency in close reading, interpretation, and written and oral analysis.
- Proficiency in accessing, appraising, and utilizing a variety of resources and methods for research across disciplinary lines.
- Proficiency in categorizing, analyzing and comparing diverse systems of value and belief in a variety of contexts.
- Global and local religious literacy; identifying, evaluating, and interpreting the interrelationships and impact of religious worldviews and communities in Wisconsin, the United States and globally.
Dr. Corrie Norman is the undergraduate advisor and Honors in the Major advisor. Contact her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org to meet with her. Students are encouraged to meet with Dr. Norman early in their academic careers in order to plan for successful completion and take advantage of opportunities such as Honors, special research, internship, service learning or study abroad opportunities in associate with the major or certificate.
Religious studies engages a variety of professional disciplines and provides important preparation for thinking, communicating and functioning professionally in a complex, multi-dimensional world.
Religious studies sponsors workshops and other career exploration vehicles, often in collaboration with Career Services, to aid students in articulating the value of religious studies for their career preparation. Student-developed capstone projects in religious studies often make specific connections to experiential learning and career preparation in a range of fields. Talk with Dr. Norman about possibilities for combining internships and other forms of pre-professional training with the major and certificate.
Professors: Bell, Bowie, Brenner, Bühnemann, Chamberlain, Cohen, Dale, DuBois, Dunne, Gade, Hansen, Hardin, Hildner, Howard, Hsia, Koshar, Langer, Livorni, Louden, Nadler, Ohnuki-Tierney, Phillips, Schamiloglu, Schenck, Schweber, Stanford Friedman, Thompson, Wandel, Wink, Wolf, Zaeske
Associate Professors: Beneker, Hutton, Livanos, Meulenbeld, Rosenblum, Shelef, Shoemaker, Thal, Todorovic
Assistant Professors: Al-Mohammad, Chamedes, Hollander, Mandell, Pruitt
Visiting Assistant Professors: Cerulli, Ridgely
Distinguished Faculty Associate: Brown
Faculty Associates: Mellor, Norman
Associate Faculty Associates: Rosenhagen, Whelan
Faculty Diversity Liaison: Program Director Rosenblum