October 29, 2018

Mapping the Dreamscape

When you dream at night, are the stories you encounter a product of your individual mind or something more communal? Robert Campany, a historian of medieval Chinese religion, says that how you answer that question depends in part on when (and where) you were born.

July 2, 2018

The Moral Crusade

Prof. Pascal Boyer
From: The Ampersand

From Civil Rights and Women’s Suffrage to the Tea Party movement and #MeToo, moral crusades can shape a society and an era. Pascal Boyer, an anthropologist and psychologist, investigates why people get involved, how movements gain traction, and what happens when they succeed.

September 7, 2018

Prof. Jonathan Kvanvig publishes a new book, “Faith and Humility,” with the Oxford University Press

Jonathan Kvanvig, Professor of Philosophy and member of the Religious Studies Advisory Board, published a new book, Faith and Humility, with the Oxford University Press in August. The book is devoted to articulating the connections between the nature and value of faith and humility. The goal is to understand faith and humility in a way that does not discriminate between religious and mundane contexts, between sacred and secular. It arises from a conviction that these two character traits are important to a flourishing life, and intimately related to each other in such a way that the presence of one demands the presence of the other. In particular, the book defends the claim that each of these virtues provides a necessary, compensating balance to the potential downside of the other virtue. The result of such an inquiry, if that inquiry is successful, will require a re-orienting of discussions surrounding faith, including debates about the relationship between faith and reason.

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.

Upcoming Events

November 13, 2018 to November 15, 2018

Humanities Lecture Series: "Holy Moses: An appreciation of Genesis and Exodus as literature and theology"

Marilynne Robinson
Umrath Lounge

Marilynne Robinson will offer three linked lectures on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, November 13, 14, and 14, at 4:30 pm in the Umrath Lounge, with a reception to follow each.

Marilynne Robinson was the recipient of a 2012 National Humanities Medal, awarded by President Barack Obama, for “her grace and intelligence in writing.” In 2016 she was awarded the Library of Congress Lifetime Achievement Award in American Fiction, as well as the Dayton Peace Prize’s Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award.

January 25, 2019 to January 26, 2019

2019 Modeling Interdisciplinary Inquiry Conference

Living with Others: Conscience, Coercion, and Freedom

An essential part of society and civilization is living with others. But living with others brings with it challenges to the freedom of individuals. This two-day conference brings together an interdisciplinary group of scholars working in the social sciences, humanities, and law from across the St. Louis community to address these urgent and complex questions on the precarious project of living with others.

Featuring Neil Roberts, associate professor of Africana studies, political theory, and the philosophy of religion at Williams College.