Welcome from the Chair, Gary Laderman

Dear Student,

Greetings and welcome to the academic study of religion in Emory College. Whether you are an undergraduate major in Religion, or simply interested in taking courses in Religion, we believe you will find this Web site to be both interesting and useful. Included in it are a statement of the goals for the study of religion, a list of courses offered, requirements for majors and minorsfaculty web pages, a calendar of events, links to Emory resources for the study of religion, and links to other resources and affiliate organizations.

The study of religion is among the oldest pursuits in human intellectual history. The curriculum at Emory is designed to introduce students to the teachings and practices of the living religions of the world. Equally important, the University provides an important context for stepping back from particular religions in order to study aspects of religion comparatively and thematically across traditions, e.g., religion in public life, religion and gender, religion and culture.

Our majors and minors include students seeking careers in medicine and the sciences as well as those whose interests lie more in the humanities and the liberal arts. Some scholars used to assume that science and technology would eventually displace traditional religious world views. It now seems clear that public and private religious expression is as much a part of modernity as commitment to both. Consequently, the need for scholarly understanding of religion as a social and intellectual force in the world today is proving to be just as important as the need to conduct research on politics, science, technology, art, and philosophy. While in our view the study of religion should always be central to the liberal arts curriculum, we see such study as especially urgent in the aftermath of 9/11. The role of religions in global politics has never been more complex, and one of our most important scholarly obligations is to attend to those dynamics.

Whether you are looking for courses that delve into your own religious heritage, or want to learn more about religions other than your own, or want to explore religious themes and practices in the past or present, the Department of Religion in Emory College has assembled one of the top faculties in the country to serve your needs and interests. Along with other humanities disciplines, Religion is recognized as an excellent major for students seeking a solid undergraduate education in the liberal arts. Students majoring in related disciplines, such as Philosophy, History, Sociology, Anthropology, and Political Science, may find select courses in Religion, or even a minor in Religion, useful to their academic and professional pursuits. We look forward to getting to know you in our classes and in our announced departmental lectures and colloquia.

Yours sincerely,

Gary Laderman
Chairperson and Professor of American Religious History and Cultures