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Interdisciplinary Concentration in Religious Studies

Program Planner

The Religious Studies Concentration at The College of New Jersey aims to familiarize students with the beliefs and institutions of major world religions, their origins and evolution in different regions of the globe and in different historical periods, their intersection with textual and non-textual forms of expression, and their profound impact on human culture and society in the past and in the present. Through courses in World Religions, students develop understandings of belief systems and institutions of individual world religions and acquire skills in comparative analysis. Courses in Religious Culture increase students’ awareness of diverse cultural frameworks, particularly as they are expressed in literary, artistic, architectural, and other forms through which religious belief has been expressed in different historical periods and regions. Through courses in Critical Issues of Religion, students gain mastery of the basic theoretical construction of religious belief and its ethical and epistemological ramifications. Courses in Social Science and History acquaint students with the historical development of religious belief and institutions; with how, over time, beliefs and institutions have interacted in both peaceful and violent ways; and with how beliefs and institutions continue to influence, and be influenced by, contemporary social and political ideologies and institutions. Through courses in all these areas, students gain skills from analysis, criticism, and research that enhance their ability to think clearly, write well, and find, analyze, evaluate, and present facts and ideas effectively. Students pursuing a Concentration in Religious Studies learn to analyze primary documents and non-textual sources (art, music, architecture, etc.) with a critical appreciation of their history, meaning, and significance to understanding historical and contemporary religious phenomena.


Faculty Sponsors

Celia Chazelle (History), Tim Clydesdale (Sociology & Anthropology), Jean Graham (English), Jo-Ann Gross (History), Deborah Hutton (Art), Pierre Le Morvan (Philosophy & Religion), Miriam Lowi (Political Science), Lee Ann Riccardi (Art), Glenn Steinberg (English), Michele Tarter (English) Alvin Figueroa (Modern Languages)

Coordinator:Pierre Le Morvan (Philosophy & Religion)


Curriculum

Six courses as indicated below. Other relevant courses may be substituted in each of these categories only with the permission of a Faculty Sponsor

Arts and Humanities

Take one course in each area specified below

World Religions
  • AAS 201/African and Diaspora Religions*
  • REL 111/Buddhism and Buddhist Thought*
  • REL 112/Hinduism and Hindu Thought*
  • REL 113/Islam and Islamic Thought*
  • REL 120/Early Judaism*
  • REL 121/Modern Judaism*
  • REL 220/Catholicism
  • REL 305/HIS 305/Ancient Christianity
  • REL 313/HIS 313/Medieval Christianity
  • HON 220/African Diaspora religion and Culture
  • HON 230/Islam in Comparative Perspective
  • REL 370/Special Topics (when course has as topic a world religion)
Religious Culture
  • AAH 105/Art History 1: From Caves to Cathedrals
  • AAH 106/Art History 2: From Renaissance to Revolution
  • AAH 215/The Arts of South Asia*
  • AAH 216/The Arts of East Asia*
  • AAH 217/Arts of the Islamic World*
  • AAH 232/Introduction to Medieval Art
  • CLS 250/Introduction to Greek Mythology*
  • HON 351/An Odyssey in Greece
  • HON 349/Cities and Sanctuaries of Greece and Rome*
  • HON 362/Goodwives and Witches: Women in Colonial America *
  • LIT 251/British Literature to 1700
  • LIT 317/WGS 317 – The Witch in Literature*
  • LIT 340/The Bible as Literature*
  • LIT 354/Middle English Literature*
  • LIT 358/ British Literature and Religion: 1550-1700*
  • LIT 499/Seminar on Research and Theory
  • MUS 351/Music from 600 to 1750: Gregorian Chant to High Baroque* (Prerequisite: MUS 261/Musicianship 1 )
Critical Issues
  • REL 100/Basic Issues in Religion*
  • PHL 210/REL 210/ Indian Philosophy (Prerequisite: one course in philosophy or religion or permission of instructor)
  • REL 270/Special Topics
  • REL 370/Special Topics in Religion
  • REL 495/Senior Capstone (Prerequisite: permission of instructor)
  • PHL 250/HON 272 Philosophy of Religion (Prerequisite : One course in religion or philosophy or permission of the instructor)
  • PHL 370/Special Topics in Philosophy (where course has a religious studies component)
  • PHL 391/Independent Study (where course has a religious studies component)

Social Science and History

Take two of the following courses

  • SOC 375/Religion and American Culture (Prerequisite: SOC 101 or HON 216)
  • HIS 307/Jews, Christians, and Muslims in the Premodern World*
  • HIS 312/Medieval Culture and Society*
  • HIS 331/Silk and Religion
  • HIS 338/Indian Civilization*
  • HIS 339/History of Modern India
  • HIS 341/Islamic History from Muhammad to the Ottomans*
  • HIS 342/Modern Middle East*
  • HIS 455/Readings Seminars (where topic has religious studies component; with permission of instructor and Faculty Sponsor)
  • HIS 357/ Religion and Politics in Africa
  • HIS 498/Research Seminars (where topic has religious studies component; with permission of instructor and Faculty Sponsor)
  • POL 357/Middle East Politics
  • PSY 390/Collaborative Research (where course has a religious studies component)
  • PSY 393/Independent Study (where course has a religious studies component)

Additional Course

Take one additional course

  • From “Arts and Humanities”
  • From “Social Science and History,” or
  • Another relevant course with permission of the faculty sponsor.

*No listed prerequisites


In addition to courses required by this concentration, a student must complete one approved course in quantitative reasoning and one approved course in laboratory science to satisfy breadth requirements in liberal learning. Students should consult their major or open option advisors about how best to complete other liberal learning requirements.

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