“Religion today remains deeply consequential, affecting the values, the actions, the choices, the worldview of people in every walk of life on every continent.” —Secretary of State, John Kerry
Secretary Kerry’s words recognize the need to assess religious dynamics in world affairs and engage religious actors across a wide range of foreign policies. This is a critical perspective in today’s world where nearly 80 percent of individuals identify with a religious groups and where religion is influential in public life and policymaking.
The Comparative Religion Program, grounded in the cultural and political understanding of the central importance of religion in public policymaking, counts faculty from Sociology, History, Asian Languages and Literature, Near East Languages and Civilization, Political Science, Anthropology, Classics, Comparative Literature as well as from the School of Law its core teaching and research resource. The extensive number of courses in the Program encompass a broad variety of religious traditions underscoring the distinctive nature of the Comparative Religion curriculum at the Jackson School. Course offerings introduce students to historical, textual, anthropological, philosophical, psychological, and sociological approaches to the study of religions. The curriculum is highly international and trans-cultural in character; from the start the Program was intended not to teach religion, but to teach about it.
Founded in 1974, the Program today includes faculty from Sociology, History, Asian Languages and Literature, Near East Languages and Civilization, Political Science, Anthropology, Classics, Comparative Literature as well as from the School of Law. Administratively, it is one of several interdisciplinary programs in the Jackson School of International Studies. Undergraduates may major or minor in Comparative Relgion within the BA; graduate students may pursue the MA, MAIS (MA in Applied International Studies) or PhD (Religion, Culture and Civilization).
The faculty of the Comparative Religion Program offer excellent resources for students interested in the comparative study of religion, particularly in areas represented by the various regional programs within the Jackson School of International Studies. The expertise represented on the faculty covers a wide variety of religious traditions and issues.
-James Wellman, Chair
- American Academy of Religion
- Society for the Scientific Study of Religion
- Religious Research Association
- The International Association of Buddhist Studies
- Council on America Islamic Relations
- Association for the Sociology of Religion
- Religion and Human Security Luce Foundation
- Society of Biblical Literature
- Sophia International Journal for philosophy of religion, metaphorical theology and ethics
- Wabash Center