Department of Religious Studies

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The Department of Religious Studies examines religious beliefs, institutions and practices using approaches from the humanities, arts, social sciences and sciences. The academic study of religion, combined with appropriate courses in other fields, provides an excellent background for any professional career—including law, engineering, medicine and health care professions, journalism, social work and others—and for graduate studies in a number of fields.


A major in religious studies provides a well-rounded liberal arts education or can be combined conveniently with a second major. Minors or sequences in religious studies complement and broaden any field chosen as a major.



Five Religious Studies Faculty Members on the Program of the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion in Boston, November 18-21

Date posted: November 1st, 2017

Joy Bostic will be a panelist in an exploratory session entitled “Spiritual but Not Religious: A Roundtable Discussion on the Past, Present, and Future(s) of Research”
Brian Clites will be a panelist in a session on “the Anthropology of Catholicism: A Roundtable on Method, Challenges, and Opportunities”
Timothy Beal will be the respondent in a session on “Monsters, Monster Theory, and Religion”
Justine Howe will be presiding over a session on “Islamophobia, the Body, and the State in Contemporary Europe”
Jonathan Tan will be the respondent in a session on “Asian American Secularities: Race, Religion, and the Secular in Chinese North American Communities”

Dr. Justine Howe Lecture at Indiana University October 17, 2017: All-American Islam: Leisure and Parenting in Suburban Chicago

Date posted: October 11th, 2017

After 9/11, American Muslims have faced increased pressure to demonstrate the compatibility of Islam and American culture. Focusing on suburban Chicago, this lecture shows how some Muslim communities have embraced leisure activities, such as playing football or apple-picking, as essential for smoothing the pathway for Islam’s acceptance in the American religious landscape and as vital for the construction of an American Islam that transcends ethnic and racial divisions. By linking leisure to the moral obligation of parenting, these recreational rituals, deemed quintessentially American, are made into pious acts. This talk explores how consumer practices, especially those perceived as generating “spirituality” and cultural “comfort”— have become resonant in our contemporary political moment.

NEW!!! Summer Funding for Students in Religious Studies

Date posted: September 20th, 2017

SKIP TO THE DETAILS HERE. Announcing the Reisacher Summer Fellowship program, providing up to $3,000 for students in religious studies to carry out summer projects. Details here. …Read more.

Dr. Beal Visiting Faculty at the Nida School of Translation Studies at the San Pellegrino University Foundation in Misano Adriatico, Italy

Date posted: June 1st, 2017

Timothy Beal was Visiting Faculty at the Nida School of Translation Studies at the San Pellegrino University Foundation in Misano Adriatico, Italy. The conference hosts a highly diverse international group of faculty and graduate students from all fields of translation studies (from religious texts to poetry and novels to recipes). This year’s theme is “Translation and Cultural Conversions.” Tim will lecture on his recent experiments in neural machine translation.

“Changing the Narrative About Islam and Muslims”

Date posted: February 1st, 2017

Power of Diversity Lecture Series
Office for Inclusion, Diversity and Equal Opportunity invites you to attend
Changing the Narrative About Islam and Muslims”
a lecture by Ramez Islambouli

Head of Arabic Language,CWRU Dept. …Read more.

This Tuesday, 11/15: Discussion of “Trump and Trauma” with Roxanne Gay

Date posted: November 12th, 2016

TRUMP AND TRAUMA: Feminism, Vulnerable Lives and Public Power
A Student Class Discussion with Professor Roxanne Gay
When: Tuesday, November 15 at 4:30 pm
Where: Gaming Room in the Tinkham Veale University Center
RSVP to Professor Joy Bostic (

Haitian-American author Roxane Gay’s writing focuses on feminist issues, gender, and racial equality. …Read more.

Professor Joy Bostic Discusses Vodou Religion in the Film Sugar Hill (1974) on the Projection Booth

Date posted: July 25th, 2016

Professor Joy Bostic is a guest on “Episode 280” of the Projection Booth Podcast. Listen to her interview with Mike White as she discusses representations of race, gender and religion in the film Sugar Hill (1974) at

Phi Beta Kappa Lecture: The Black Atlantic Reads King James

Date posted: April 5th, 2016

Lecture by Dr. Vincent L. Wimbush, speaker and Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar:

The Black Atlantic Reads King James

Wednesday, April 6

Thwing Center Ballroom – Case Western Reserve University 11111 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44106

Free and open to the public, registration required

Phi Beta Kappa Welcome Reception at 11:50 am

Lecture at 12:30 pm



Dr. Justine Howe Selected as One of Ten “Young Scholars in American Religion” by the Center for Religion and American Culture at IUPUI

Date posted: February 18th, 2016

The award is open to any scholar of American religion, broadly defined, who has launched their career in the last seven years. Please refer to the Young Scholars in American Religion Program for more information regarding the program, and for the complete list of the 2016 scholars.


Master of Arts in Religious Studies applications

Applications for the Master of Arts Program in Religious Studies are now being accepted.

Page last modified: November 1, 2017