Welcome Message from the Chair
Few forces in the modern world are more important, more influential, and more powerful—for better and for worse—than religion. And yet where in contemporary culture can one receive professional and balanced training in how to think critically and deeply about this most urgent, relevant, and fascinating of subjects?
Here. The Department of Religious Studies at Rice University boasts an accomplished, internationally recognized faculty whose courses span the gamut from early Christianity to contemporary hip hop, from Buddhist models of the mind to Freud’s psychology, from medieval Christian magic to the origins of Islam. Our approach to the study of religion is radically interdisciplinary, informed at once by the humanities, the social sciences, and the natural sciences. We approach the study of religion as an exciting enterprise of both deep empathy and free intellectual inquiry. Taken as a whole, this inquiry neither privileges any particular religious community nor binds itself to any religious authority. In all of our work, we seek to create a “safe space” where one can ask any question and imagine any possibility.
In both the critical thinking skills it requires and in the contemporary urgency of its subject matter, a Rice Religious Studies Ph.D. or undergraduate major is an ideal preparation for a rewarding and meaningful professional life in academics, medicine, law, politics, journalism, public policy, teaching—anything really that involves human diversity and the questions of meaning, value, and ultimate purpose in our increasingly global civilization. Such an enterprise, of course, carries major benefits for our colleagues and friends in other walks of life and professions in the Houston area. Accordingly, we also host any number of major lecture and conference events each year for this larger intellectual community. So join us!
See Jewish Studies
See School of Humanities
Tolle Lege Series
Inspired by Augustine's famous words, "Take up and read!", we hold an ongoing series of events that feature the newly published books of our faculty by facilitating a public reading and reception of them as they are released. At the advertised event, the faculty author introduces his or her book, offers a reading from it, and participates in an open discussion of the book with the audience.