Religion in Philosophy, Politics, and Society

Specialization Coordinator:  Anthony Petro

Students accepted into this specialization will acquire basic comparative knowledge of philosophy, politics, and society in western or non-western religions across time, and specialize in an area of modern philosophical or social-theoretical critical approaches to these traditions.

Students will be able to focus on more philosophical or more social scientific approaches to religion in philosophy, politics, and society with faculty strengths existing in such areas as philosophy of religion (Steven Katz, Diana Lobel, Michael Zank, David Eckel), the study of ritual and material culture (David Frankfurter, Jennifer Knust, Adam Seligman), the body, gender and sexuality (Anthony Petro) and social theory (Seligman). Students can also make use of these approaches in their research into any of the other specializations offered by our Graduate Program.

Specific Admission Requirements:

Students interested in this specialization should show transcript evidence of knowledge in their proposed area of study. Students must also have a strong background in one or more of the following areas: sociology, anthropology, social history or philosophy. Further background in the humanities or social sciences is strongly encouraged and required where relevant to a student’s proposed program of research.

Please note that this prerequisite is in addition to those outlined in the Admissions section of our website.

Specific Language & Research Competence Requirements:

In addition to the general graduate language requirements, students following the social science path will need to fulfill requirements in social scientific methods (qualitative or quantitative, or even historical as the case may be) to be worked out in consultation with their advisor.

Students focusing on the place of religion within different philosophical traditions will be required to fulfill requirements in the history of philosophy as well as in either practical or theoretical philosophy.

Religion Department Faculty:

  • David Eckel (Buddhist philosophy in India and Tibet, its narrative and ethical traditions, philosophical theory and religious practice)
  • David Frankfurter (Apocalyptic literature; religions of the ancient Mediterranean world)
  • Margarita Guillory (American religious history, digital religion, and religion and popular culture)
  • Steven Katz (early Jewish and comparative mysticism; modern Jewish thought and history; Holocaust studies)
  • Diana Lobel (Medieval and comparative religious thought)
  • Anthony Petro (religion and culture in the US; religion, medicine, and public health; and gender and sexuality studies)
  • Adam Seligman (Social and Political Theory, Ritual Studies, Community Development and Public Anthropology)
  • Michael Zank (modern Jewish thought and philosophy; history of biblical reception)

Affiliated Faculty: Allen Speight (Department of Philosophy), David Decosimo (School of Theology), Robert Weller (Department of Anthropology), Kimberly Arkin (Department of Anthropology), Linda Barnes (School of Medicine), and Lance Laird (School of Medicine)