Emphases

"Students have the opportunity to focus their studies by selecting one of the following emphases. For questions about the emphases, contact the faculty whose name is highlighted in parenthesis after each emphasis or the department head.

Ethics (James Martin-Schramm): Courses with an emphasis on ethics equip students with theories, methods, and skills to engage in ethical reflection through the lens of a particular religious tradition or a variety of religious systems. These courses explore ways religious communities draw on sacred texts, religious traditions, human reason, and personal experience to grapple with various ethical issues.  The goal of these courses is to expose students to the complexity of ethics and to prepare them to face moral challenges both now and in the future.

Global competency (Gereon Kopf): Courses with an emphasis on  global competency familiarize students with a spectrum of critical tools and theories designed to understand different attitudes toward and to come to terms with a diversity of cultures and religious beliefs. These courses introduce a variety of traditions and religious systems, examine religious systems from the inside and the outside, and present methods of academic discourse and analysis that negotiate otherness without rejecting difference. The goal of these courses is to prepare students for global citizenship and for life in a globalized world characterized by religious, intellectual, and ethical diversity.

Interfaith literacy (Todd Green): Courses with an emphasis on interfaith literacy enable students to develop an appreciative knowledge of how people who orient differently around religion think about and interact with one another. These courses explore the history of interfaith relations, methods to envision interfaith relationships, and the implications of these interactions for regional and global politics, civil society, and the common good. The goal of these courses is to familiarize students with the challenges as well as theories and practices of interfaith relationships.

Social justice (Guy Nave): Courses with an emphasis on social justice focus on various ways in which religious traditions and communities conceive of and practically respond to critical issues related to the building of a just society. These courses will emphasize historical, current, and potential religious intersections with and responses to contemporary forms of injustice.  The goal of these courses is to offer insight into how religious thinkers and practitioners can contribute to the creation of a more equal and just world.

Theology (Wanda Deifelt): Courses with an emphasis in theology focus on the beliefs and belief systems developed within particular religious traditions. Theology is articulated reasoning about the nature of the divine. Courses in theology examine the historical development of faith claims, their mainstream formulations, and marginalized voices that reveal and critique implied assumptions about gender, race, sexuality, and power. The goal of these courses is to familiarize students with diverse approaches in academic theology and to enable students to begin to construct and articulate their own theological ideas.