The Center for Culture, Society and Religion encourages intellectual exchange and interdisciplinarity in the study of religion across the humanities (culture) and social sciences (society). Hosted by the Department of Religion, the Center supports Princeton faculty and students in pursuing research, teaching and scholarly exchange on religion. The Center is committed to the study of religion through diverse methods across historical and contemporary manifestations, and to the dissemination of the fruits of religion scholarship to the Princeton campus and broader public. It aims to facilitate understanding of religion through an integrated program of support for Princeton faculty to pursue research, teaching, and scholarly engagement; awards for Princeton graduate students to pursue dissertation research and undergraduate students to prepare independent work; interdisciplinary seminars and colloquia; courses; the undergraduate certificate in Culture, Society and Religion; public lectures and conferences; opportunities for visiting scholars to affiliate with the Center; and a growing library of publicly-available digital media.
Religion is an interdisciplinary topic. Serious discussion of religion appears within every discipline in the humanities and social sciences, and the data for the study of religion spans the history and prehistory of humanity. Religion has been invoked to support social inclusion, economic justice, and political equity and also to justify violence, oppression, and exploitation. Religious forms have endured through history and persist in everyday life. Furthermore, expanding our understanding of the world’s many religious traditions enhances and enacts the university’s commitment to diversity, and trains students and faculty in the essential skills of identifying and circumventing biases.
Recognizing this, CCSR encourages conversation and cooperation among scholars of diverse fields, each with their distinct perspectives and expertise, to illuminate complex religious particulars. Since its inception, the Center has brought together specialists across multiple departments and programs, including: African American Studies, American Studies, Anthropology, Art and Archaeology, Architecture, Asian American Studies, Classics, Comparative Literature, Creative Writing, East Asian Studies, English, Gender and Sexuality, History, Jewish Studies, Latin American Studies, Latino Studies, Music, Near Eastern Studies, Philosophy, Politics, Romance languages, Sociology, and South Asian Studies. The Center was founded as the Center for the Study of American Religion in 1991, expanded to become the Center for the Study of Religion in 1999, and became the Center for Culture, Society and Religion in 2021.