September 29, 2017

Fall 17 Religious Studies Newsletter Published

The latest edition of the Religious Studies' newsletter is now available.


Download the latest issue here.


A Preview From the Newsletter: "A Word from the Director":


Welcome to the Religious Studies Program at Wash U! We’re delighted in your interest in our course offerings and other activities. In these pages, we will introduce you to a variety of faculty, students, as well as possibilities for study and participation in the coming year.


This is a critical moment for Religious Studies in a university setting. As our world becomes smaller and more interconnected, the fissures and challenges of cultural understanding offer us the opportunity to think critically about the role of religion in society. What is religion? How do people of various faiths and rituals interact productively and meaningfully? Where are the obstacles to understanding? How do matters of everyday life, including food, politics, dress, art, or popular music, shape religious life—and how are they shaped by it? Wash U has a tremendously talented faculty who teach and write about religion in many times and places, from northern India to Eastern Orthodox immigrants in the US, and from ancient Palestine to contemporary diasporic movements around the world. There is a course, a lecture, or a colloquium here for anyone with an interest in how and why different communities pray, vote, heal, or bury their dead. At the same time, work in Religious Studies helps students think critically and engage actively with some of the most pressing issues of the past and present. Our major and minor are practical for many different kinds of career paths, and work well in combination with other areas of concentration.


We invite you to join us in this adventure. Whether you are a faculty member incorporating religion in your research or a student considering medical school, acting, finance, or a further degree in the humanities, we have a place for you in Religious Studies. Come, explore the opportunities!


Laurie Maffly-Kipp
Archer Alexander Distinguished Professor and Director

About Religious Studies

…if I headed back to college today, I would major in comparative religions rather than political science." - John Kerry, “Religion and Diplomacy


Religion is a major source of inspiration, meaning, and controversy in human societies. Fast-moving forces of globalization, migration, and technology continue to bring diverse communities into closer proximity, often creating new religious communities in the process. The Religious Studies Program at Washington University gives students the opportunity to learn about diverse religions as well as to study past and current events with a critical but open mind.


One does not have to be religious in order to study religion! Religious Studies covers subjects as diverse as U.S. politics, Beyoncé, the Middle East, atheism, Tolstoy, Gandhi, Black Lives Matter, climate change, and Buddhist philosophies. The diversity of topics that can be covered in Religious Studies is huge and must be studied in all their interdisciplinary complexity. As such, courses offered by our program are taught by faculty in a variety of disciplines and areas, including: The Danforth Center on Religion and Politics; Anthropology; Classics; East Asian Languages and Cultures; English; History; Jewish, Islamic, and Near Eastern Studies; and Political Science.


A major in Religious Studies will help you understand and appreciate the complex ways in which religious traditions inform human thought and behavior. A double major or a minor will also enhance a broad range of studies from politics and law to business and medicine. So whether you are interested in preparing for the advanced academic study of religion, seeking to complement another area of study, or simply feel the need to acquire a greater knowledge of religions, a major or minor in Religious Studies is excellent preparation for living and working in a pluralistic society and global culture.

Upcoming Events

September 8, 2017 to January 8, 2018

Renaissance and Baroque Prints: Investigating the Collection

Kemper Art Museum, Barney A. Ebsworth Gallery

The rise of printmaking in Europe in the early 15th c. facilitated major transformations in visual culture. Serialized images began to circulate on an unprecedented scale, extending beyond the confines of palaces or churches to reach new audiences of artists, collectors, and connoisseurs. This exhibit surveys the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum’s substantial holdings of prints from the late 15th to 18th centuries. Highlights include work by major innovators of the medium of printmaking such as Albrecht Dürer and Rembrandt van Rijn as well as Daniel Hopfer, Marcantonio Raimondi, and Giovanni Battista Piranesi.

October 23, 2017 - 5:00pm

Art Inspiring Music: Italian Renaissance

Kemper Art Museum

In conjunction with the exhibition Renaissance and Baroque Prints: Investigating the Collection, Clarion Brass, the Washington University Chamber Choir, and faculty from the Department of Music in Arts & Sciences will perform works from the Italian Renaissance, including antiphonal brass favorites of Giovanni Gabrieli and vocal masterworks of Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina.
Concert sponsored by the Kemper Art Museum and the Music Department.

November 8, 2017 - 6:30pm

Albrecht Dürer and the Rise of Printmaking: From Johannes Gutenberg to Martin Luther

Michael Roth
Steinberg Auditorium

Albrecht Dürer's mastery of visual narratives and his perfection of nascent printing techniques proved to be a great influence on the Reformation era’s lively polemical battle between Protestant followers of Martin Luther and the Catholic Church, in which prints played a defining role.
Reception at 6:00 pm in the Kemper Art Museum. Lecture sponsored by the Kemper Art Museum.