Welcome to the
Department of Religion!

We are a community of scholars whose critical investigations and articulations put us on the cutting edge of innovative scholarship, grounded in critical research, textual study, phenomenology and historiography. We deploy a methodological pluralism and work in diverse areas, which include: historical and text-critical analyses of culturally and regionally diverse religious traditions; psychological and sociological analyses of religious and spiritual phenomena; and cultural and theological analyses of religious ritual and thought. All of this takes into account religions’ situatedness within human community. Our concerns include esotericism, mysticism, gnosticism, consciousness, critical ethics, culture, race, gender, science fiction, spirituality, emotions, human wellbeing and thriving, and art in relation to both meaning and medicine.

The Department of Religion has been at the center of rice’s intellectual community since its establishment in 1968, and we are proud to continue that tradition.
We specialize in different historic religious traditions such as Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, African American Religions, and African Religions, and we promote critical inquiry in our training of the next generation of religion scholars at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Those who come to study with us will work through new questions about the human condition, and will explore and analyze key texts and traditions that continue to shape our common destiny. Our inquiries involve science and art, and above all address meaning-making as related to intersubjective bonds. Many of our faculty interrogate these questions through prisms like gender, race, sexuality, class, politics, and pop-culture.

We are an active faculty, and we invite you to engage with us, both in the classroom and beyond. This includes participation in our regularly held seminars and symposia, such as our internationally renowned Rockwell Conferences and guest lecture series.


Brian Ogren
Anna Smith Fine Professor of Judaic Studies
Chair, Department of Religion