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CLCS: Religion & Culture Emphasis


Contact Information


Margaret Toscano

Associate Professor
Section Representative
Comparative Literature & Cultural Studies


Lisa Hutton

Academic Advisor
Languages & Literature


The Religion and Culture Emphasis is an interdisciplinary path within CLCS that allows students to explore religious traditions by drawing on courses from multiple departments. This degree encompasses language acquisition (relevant to one or several religious traditions), hermeneutical tools (the ability to interpret texts and cultural phenomena), and theoretical explorations (the study of religion in different fields). Coursework emphasizing the intersection of religion and other elements of culture seeks to show that, if religion has always been part of personal worldviews, it also represents an essential dimension of history, art, literature, and politics. The study of religion in its relationship to cultural studies seeks to uncover the religious elements of culture in a broad sense and analyze them in a critical way. This approach to religion and culture brings under scrutiny how religious beliefs have informed and shaped our knowledge, our traditions, and our institutions.

Program Summary

Required Classes:

PHIL 3640, "World Religions," introduces students to the comparative study of the world's major religious traditions.

CLCS 3600, "What is Literature?", provides students with extensive practice in the close analysis of literary and cultural texts, the use of critical terminology, and critical-analytical writing (fulfills General Education Critical Writing requirement).

CLCS 3620, "Introduction to Religious Studies," provides an introduction to central debates, issues, concepts, and methodologies in the field of Religious Studies and presents an in-depth case study of a major issue in at least one world religion.

In addition, CLCS Religion and Culture majors take LANG 2010 (Introduction to the Study of Literature and Culture), LANG 2020 (Language in Society), 4 electives in Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies, 3 electives in Religious Studies (e.g., "Myth, Magic, and Religion," "Spirituality in Social Work"), and language study in at least one language relevant to Religious Studies (e.g., Arabic, Chinese, Hebrew, Hindi, Japanese, Greek, Latin).

Upon successful completion of the major in the Religion and Culture Emphasis of CLCS, students will have:

1. Broad exposure to the methods of Religious Studies and to world religious traditions, as well as in-depth study of at least one religion. Broad exposure to general theoretical trends and critical methods in the field of Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies. In-depth practice in close textual reading and analysis; exposure to and practice in the theoretical trends and critical methods in the field of Comparative Literature. Broad exposure to a range of cultural traditions and their attendant methods across a variety of disciplines; sufficient training to apply for graduate study in Religious Studies or Comparative Literature.

2. A minimum of standard proficiency in at least one language typically required for the study of religion (Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Chinese, Japanese, Hindi, Arabic).


CLCS Religion & Culture Major Major Requirement


Last Updated: 8/8/16