Global and interdisciplinary
The study of religions at Alfred University is global and focuses on activities and beliefs that people consider important in their cultural and personal lives. Studying religions helps us to discover more about ourselves and about complexities in the international world. Inherently interdisciplinary, you will find yourself using anthropological, historical, philosophical and literary methods to understand religious systems in various parts of the world. The study includes such matters as the philosophical ideas of St. Augustine, Ogotemmeli, and Nagarjuna; the moral values of Confucius, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King; religious communities such as the Buddhist sangha, medieval monasticism, and African American churches; artistic accomplishments such as Navajo sandpaintings, Hindu temples, and earthworks of contemporary artists; myths such as the Zuni creation account, the Mahabharata, and Hebrew stories about their ancestors found in the Bible; and rituals such as the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, Haitian possession rituals, and the Jewish Passover.
Complements many majors
The religious studies program contributes significantly to two majors at Alfred University: Comparative Cultures and Philosophy. Philosophy of Religion is one of two tracks in the philosophy major. Faculty in religious studies have joined with anthropology and non-western art history to create the increasingly popular comparative cultures major.
Because religious beliefs, rituals and values bear upon all aspects of human life, the study of religions complements majors in many areas. The study of religions contributes to careers in humanities, social sciences, and the arts and it enhances career opportunities in such diverse areas as international affairs, journalism, business, social work, counseling, communications, the health professions, education, and, of course, the ministry. Therefore students in many parts of the university minor in religious studies.
Division Chairperson: Dr. Emrys Westacott