What is Religious Studies?
Religious Studies is an interdisciplinary field; we explore and analyze religion critically. Critically – in the sense of figuring out how something works, and why – not in the sense of “what is wrong with it”. Examining religious traditions critically provides insights that we could not otherwise have into historical events, contemporary constitutional issues around individual freedom and freedom of religion, day-to-day politics as well as political ideologies, art, literature, and the philosophies of many influential figures and movements. Scholars of religion use historical, sociological, demographic, anthropological, philosophical, literary, cultural, political, and other methods and approaches to try to understand religious phenomena. Religious Studies is not theology and welcomes anyone who wishes to study various religions with a disciplined and critical intellectual wonder. We do not expect students to become any more or less religious as a result of studying religion. Instead, we expect that everyone who studies religion will attain a better understanding of how our world works – as well as how it has worked in the past, and will no doubt continue to function in the foreseeable future.
About the Program
Religious Studies offers both Undergraduate (Major, Minor, Honours, and Combined Honours) and Graduate (M.A. and Ph.D.) programs.
Areas of Strength:
- History of Christianity
- Islamic Studies
- "World" religions
- East Asian Religions (especially Buddhism)
- South Asian Religions (especially Hinduism)
- New religions