The Center aims to foster the study of religion, broadly defined, across disciplines and to facilitate intellectual exchange among students and faculty in the humanities and social sciences. The sponsorship of new courses is part of our commitment to scholarly research and teaching that examines religion theoretically, comparatively, and empirically in its diverse historical and contemporary manifestations.
The Center gives particular priority to funding freshman seminars, which provide a unique opportunity for students to work in a small setting with a professor and a few other students on a topic of special interest. Such seminars are in high demand by students and often result in new regular courses being added to the curriculum. Prior to the Center’s efforts in this area, very few freshman seminars were offered on religion. This gap is now being filled, as the Center provides incentives for faculty to teach in this area. The Center also sponsors occasional advanced undergraduate courses.
Examples of past Freshman Seminars funded by CSR include “Body and Spirit: A Comparative Approach to Sacred Dance”; “Is It Rational to Believe in God?”; “Reconciling Unity and Diversity: Islamic Art and Islamic Culture”; “The Religious Right in Modern America”; and “What Makes for a Meaningful Life? A Search.” Current undergraduate course offerings can be viewed by selecting “Advanced Courses” or “Freshman Seminars” from the menu at the left.
In addition to courses offered by the Center and by the Department of Religion, the University offers many courses treating the study of religion. Faculty serving on our Executive Committee and Faculty Associates hail from a dozen different departments across the humanities and social sciences. Their courses often reflect their wide-ranging interests in the study of religion.