Philip P. Arnold
501 Hall of Languages
Director of Undergraduate Studies:
Gareth J. Fisher
505 Hall of Languages
Philip P. Arnold, Zachary J. Braiterman, Virginia Burrus, Gareth J. Fisher, Ken Frieden, Biko M. Gray, M. Gail Hamner, Tazim R. Kassam, R. Gustav Niebuhr, William A. Robert, Marcia C. Robinson, Joanne Punzo-Waghorne, James W. Watts
Knowledge of religion is critical in today’s world. The academic study of religion at Syracuse University offers students the opportunity to explore religion in a cross-cultural and interdisciplinary context.
Students who take our courses learn to interpret the dynamics of religious thought, convictions, actions, and expressions. Some of the questions that they engage include: What kind of life is most worth living? How do we understand the nature of the world? How do we relate to ourselves and to others?
Students study religious life and thought from the perspectives of arts, ethics, ethnography, gender, history, literature, mythology, philosophy, political theory, psychology, scriptural studies, social sciences, and theology.
The academic study of religion is not simply a critical undertaking. It is also often a transforming experience, introducing students to unfamiliar aspects of their own world, and to the religious realities of our global situation.
The Department of Religion has articulated three goals that shape its teaching and its expectations of what students in its courses and programs may expect to gain from this study:
1. to understand better the nature and diversity of religious expressions in the contemporary world and in history, and their power in peoples’ personal and collective lives;
2. to think more deeply and critically about religious experience and its modes of expression and forms of interpretation;
3. to recognize and appreciate the difficulties and possibilities in a disciplined study of religion; and to become aware of a diversity of approaches and methods within that study.
The Department’s student learning outcomes are elaborations of these goals.