CofC Department of Religious Studies

CofC Department of Religious Studies

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Meet the faculty. Meet current and prospective majors and minors. Preview the RELS courses for Spring 2021. All students are welcome. Covid capacity for space is 30 people. Come Early! Drinks and light refreshments will be provided. Tuesday, October 13, 2020 at 3:30 pm.
CofC religious studies majors enjoy highly personalized educational opportunities in internships, mentoring research projects, career advising, conference support, field visits and study abroad opportunities. Religious Studies faculty have expertise in various religions, including: eastern, western and indigenous, ancient, medieval and modern. Examples include African American and Native American religions, Daoist healing traditions in China, Christian attitudes toward gender and the body, western esotericism, the prophetic traditions of the Ancient Near East, Christian Pentecostalism in Haiti, Tibetan Buddhist monasticism and religion in American popular culture today. Click through our slideshow to see the latest course offerings and more.
Hello all! On Friday, October 20th at 5:30, myself and another Religious Studies student, Luke Shirley, will be gathering under the banner of the Charleston Area Justice Ministry. CAJM is an interreligious organization in Charleston & North Charleston that unites diverse cross-sections of our community to address local social injustices. This is the first step of our model of community organization-- knowing the issues felt on the ground, so that we can tackle those realities in our annual cycle. Location is TBD, but we hope to see you there! And please reach out if you would like more information.
Here's a cool new website, "dedicated to the (re)invigoration of Islamic thought in a (post)modern world"-- its Associate Editor is Jamie Edmonds, C of C class of 2010, needless to say, he was an awesome Religious Studies major!

The Department of Religious Studies at the College of Charleston The Department of Religious Studies at the College of Charleston offers both a major and minor degree in religious studies.

With eight full-time faculty members, the department supports a wide-ranging, diverse curriculum and fosters close interaction between students and faculty. Students may choose to specialize in individual religions or subject areas through special topics courses and tutorials. The flexibility of the curriculum gives students the opportunity to explore diverse cultures and religions, while providin

Operating as usual

Timeline Photos 05/07/2021

Our final graduate spotlight goes to Kayla Sitton. Kayla double majored in Religious Studies and International Studies. She studied abroad in Asia. Kayla is an HSS Scholar, RELS Departmental Honors, Student, and RELS Outstanding Student. Her Bachelor's Essay was on the intersection of Religion and Black Lives Matter movement. After graduation, she will take a gap, year, then pursue a PhD in Religious Studies.

All the best Kay!!!

Our final graduate spotlight goes to Kayla Sitton. Kayla double majored in Religious Studies and International Studies. She studied abroad in Asia. Kayla is an HSS Scholar, RELS Departmental Honors, Student, and RELS Outstanding Student. Her Bachelor's Essay was on the intersection of Religion and Black Lives Matter movement. After graduation, she will take a gap, year, then pursue a PhD in Religious Studies.

All the best Kay!!!

Photos from CofC Department of Religious Studies's post 05/07/2021

I have been an admin asst in higher ed for 20+ years. Commencement Day is my most favorite day on job. It's awesome to meet the families that have raised and supported such intelligent and wonderful humans. I love hearing my professors share their special student stories and give me a tiny glimpse into the special relationships they form their students. And I love to see the graduates full of pride and confidence over their accomplishments. Congratulations RELS Graduates of 2021. You made through Covid. You can conquer Anything!

Timeline Photos 05/06/2021

Today RELS shines a light on graduating senior and HSS Scholar, Morgan Herr. Morgan double majored in Religious Studies and Anthropology and minored in Spanish. Morgan says she will go to graduate school to continue her studies. But right now, she is focused on enjoying this accomplishment, graduating from CofC.

Proud of you Morgan!!!

Today RELS shines a light on graduating senior and HSS Scholar, Morgan Herr. Morgan double majored in Religious Studies and Anthropology and minored in Spanish. Morgan says she will go to graduate school to continue her studies. But right now, she is focused on enjoying this accomplishment, graduating from CofC.

Proud of you Morgan!!!

Timeline Photos 05/04/2021

Today RELS celebrates graduating senior, Bailey Huttig. Bailey double majored in Religious Studies and Psychology. Bailey was very involved with the RELS program, especially in restarting the Religious Studies Club. After graduation, she plans on obtaining her insurance license and working as an agent. She is considering at tenting graduate school at some point in the future.

Best of luck with all your plans Bailey!!!

Today RELS celebrates graduating senior, Bailey Huttig. Bailey double majored in Religious Studies and Psychology. Bailey was very involved with the RELS program, especially in restarting the Religious Studies Club. After graduation, she plans on obtaining her insurance license and working as an agent. She is considering at tenting graduate school at some point in the future.

Best of luck with all your plans Bailey!!!

05/03/2021

We are spotlighting our RELS graduates this week leading up to commencement on May 7th. Our first senior is Jasmine Tindall.

Jasmine will graduate with a double major in Religious Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies. The freedom to engage with multiple disciplinary approaches has provided her with an enriching experience that’s shaped her sense of social responsibility. She knows her background in both majors will enhance all potential work experiences which she plans to translate to life beyond college by finding employment in the areas of policy-making and lobbying on behalf of human rights, gender and sexual equity. After graduation, Jasmine hopes to gain networking opportunities with local NGOs who focus their missions around making a difference on issues related to pregnancy, childbirth and reproductive justice.

Congratulations Jasmine!!!

We are spotlighting our RELS graduates this week leading up to commencement on May 7th. Our first senior is Jasmine Tindall.

Jasmine will graduate with a double major in Religious Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies. The freedom to engage with multiple disciplinary approaches has provided her with an enriching experience that’s shaped her sense of social responsibility. She knows her background in both majors will enhance all potential work experiences which she plans to translate to life beyond college by finding employment in the areas of policy-making and lobbying on behalf of human rights, gender and sexual equity. After graduation, Jasmine hopes to gain networking opportunities with local NGOs who focus their missions around making a difference on issues related to pregnancy, childbirth and reproductive justice.

Congratulations Jasmine!!!

Timeline Photos 04/16/2021

Look who is featured this week by the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at the College of Charleston . It's our very own, newly tenured, Dr. Matthew Cressler!!! Congrats Dr. C!!!
🧑🏻‍🎓🧑🏻‍🎓🧑🏻‍🎓
This #hssfeaturefriday we profile amazing teacher-scholar Matthew Cressler! You may have heard about a recent research project he spearheaded, working with students Allen Duggar and A.J. Williamson, which revealed the influence of religion in the College’s history. “My hope was that it would awaken for students the inseparability of religion and race in the making of the College,” said Dr. Cressler in The College Today.

He came both to teaching and to Religious Studies. naturally. “My dad is a professor of electrical engineering and my mom is a Catholic spiritual director, so in some senses you could say I've managed to follow in both my parents' footsteps,” he says. What he loves most about his calling, however, is the opportunity to invite students to think more deeply about the things they take for granted. He challenges them to imagine diverse ways of understanding what it means to be human.

He also challenges people to think more deeply through his writings, including his book, Authentically Black and Truly Catholic: The Rise of Black Catholicism in the Great Migration (https://nyupress.org/9781479880966/) and a recent article, “Real, Good and Sincere Catholics”. As someone who teaches religion and race in the U.S., Dr. Cressler says he is always proud when former students reach out to share how classes have helped them understand ongoing struggles for racial justice.

A study-away course called "Interfaith Atlanta: Across the Color Line" created lasting memories. “We didn't just discuss the relationship between interfaith and racial justice activism,” he says, “We piled into a van and drove to Atlanta to learn firsthand. We stayed at Koinonia Farm, visited various religious communities, made pilgrimage to Martin Luther King's church, and bonded over inside jokes, great food, and good tunes on the road.”

As the father of three daughters, Dr. Cressler spends most of his spare time living that #girldad life. He’s a big fan of comic books and speculative fiction, and he’ll take soccer in any form he can get

Look who is featured this week by the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at the College of Charleston . It's our very own, newly tenured, Dr. Matthew Cressler!!! Congrats Dr. C!!!
🧑🏻‍🎓🧑🏻‍🎓🧑🏻‍🎓
This #hssfeaturefriday we profile amazing teacher-scholar Matthew Cressler! You may have heard about a recent research project he spearheaded, working with students Allen Duggar and A.J. Williamson, which revealed the influence of religion in the College’s history. “My hope was that it would awaken for students the inseparability of religion and race in the making of the College,” said Dr. Cressler in The College Today.

He came both to teaching and to Religious Studies. naturally. “My dad is a professor of electrical engineering and my mom is a Catholic spiritual director, so in some senses you could say I've managed to follow in both my parents' footsteps,” he says. What he loves most about his calling, however, is the opportunity to invite students to think more deeply about the things they take for granted. He challenges them to imagine diverse ways of understanding what it means to be human.

He also challenges people to think more deeply through his writings, including his book, Authentically Black and Truly Catholic: The Rise of Black Catholicism in the Great Migration (https://nyupress.org/9781479880966/) and a recent article, “Real, Good and Sincere Catholics”. As someone who teaches religion and race in the U.S., Dr. Cressler says he is always proud when former students reach out to share how classes have helped them understand ongoing struggles for racial justice.

A study-away course called "Interfaith Atlanta: Across the Color Line" created lasting memories. “We didn't just discuss the relationship between interfaith and racial justice activism,” he says, “We piled into a van and drove to Atlanta to learn firsthand. We stayed at Koinonia Farm, visited various religious communities, made pilgrimage to Martin Luther King's church, and bonded over inside jokes, great food, and good tunes on the road.”

As the father of three daughters, Dr. Cressler spends most of his spare time living that #girldad life. He’s a big fan of comic books and speculative fiction, and he’ll take soccer in any form he can get

Photos from CofC Department of Religious Studies's post 03/25/2021

We have a fantastic lineup of courses for the Fall 2021 semester. There are online and Express II options. All RELS courses satisfy the Humanities Gen Ed requirement. All RELS majors must meet their advisor before registering for classes. Please reach out to us with any questions. #studiesreligiously

03/23/2021

Next Thursday, 3/25/21.

Join the Center for the Study of Slavery in Charleston on March 25 for “Untangling Campus Histories of Slavery,” the Inaugural Spring Scholarly Lecture. Dr. Hilary N. Green is an Associate Professor of History in the Department of Gender and Race Studies at the University of Alabama. Her research and teaching interests include the intersections of race, class, and gender in 19th century African American history, the American Civil War era, Reconstruction studies, Civil War memory, and the Black Atlantic. Green developed the “Hallowed Grounds Project,” which explores slavery, memory, and its legacy at the University of Alabama through an alternate campus tour, a Digital Humanities presence, and publications. Register here: https://cofc.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJAsdOGqrDwoGtxE4cAe3F8s4hNBX0BYfK5L

Photos from CofC Department of Religious Studies's post 03/23/2021

There is something for everybody this summer in Religious Studies. Two offerings in Maymester, Summer I and Summer II. All online. No prerequisites needed. And all count as for Humanities Gen Ed credit.

Timeline Photos 03/22/2021

Registration for Fall 2021 begins tomorrow, 3/23/21! RELS majors must meet with their advisors before they can enroll.

Registration for Fall 2021 begins tomorrow, 3/23/21! RELS majors must meet with their advisors before they can enroll.

03/18/2021

Right now. Join us on Zoom for the amazing talk. Link in post.

I think we all could use some sincerity, human flourishing and the good life right about now. Dr. Puett's talk is open to the public on 3/18/2021 at 5 pm on Zoom. The link to join is https://cofc.zoom.us/j/92217937196.

03/04/2021

I think we all could use some sincerity, human flourishing and the good life right about now. Dr. Puett's talk is open to the public on 3/18/2021 at 5 pm on Zoom. The link to join is https://cofc.zoom.us/j/92217937196.

I think we all could use some sincerity, human flourishing and the good life right about now. Dr. Puett's talk is open to the public on 3/18/2021 at 5 pm on Zoom. The link to join is https://cofc.zoom.us/j/92217937196.

Timeline Photos 03/03/2021

Applications are due March 15th!

HSS LEAP is accepting applications for 2021-2022! Learn more and apply at go.cofc.edu/hss-leap

03/03/2021

Awesome chance to meet more people and do more on campus.

Can’t wait to “see” you there!

02/16/2021

African American Millennials and Faith
Tuesday, February 16 at 7pm via Zoom
Click to Register: https://www.cicouncil.org/events/2021/2/16/african-american-millennials-and-faith

D. Danyelle Thomas will provide an overview of the current state of Black Millennials & Religious institutions, the cause of the rising unchurched population, and how Unfit Christian, a digital platform for progressive faith, bridges the gap between faith, justice, and identity.

African American Millennials and Faith
Tuesday, February 16 at 7pm via Zoom
Click to Register: https://www.cicouncil.org/events/2021/2/16/african-american-millennials-and-faith

D. Danyelle Thomas will provide an overview of the current state of Black Millennials & Religious institutions, the cause of the rising unchurched population, and how Unfit Christian, a digital platform for progressive faith, bridges the gap between faith, justice, and identity.

Dispatches From the Rhodian Shore: A (Tough) Love Letter to Religious Studies 02/16/2021

Dispatches From the Rhodian Shore: A (Tough) Love Letter to Religious Studies

Great article from one of our affiliate professors, Dr. LaVasseur.

Dispatches From the Rhodian Shore: A (Tough) Love Letter to Religious Studies When writing as critical scholars of religion about the impacts and role of religion in society we need to broaden our remit, and must do so quickly. Let me explain why. It’s probably best to start with environmental history, thus the name for this dispatch. It’s a riff on the geographer Clarenc...

Timeline Photos 02/15/2021

New Course for Spring 2021!!! Dr. Bjerken is offering RELS 120: Religion, Art and Culture in the EXPRESS II TERM!!! This class is on Tuesday and Thursday from 530-830 pm starting March 8th.

New Course for Spring 2021!!! Dr. Bjerken is offering RELS 120: Religion, Art and Culture in the EXPRESS II TERM!!! This class is on Tuesday and Thursday from 530-830 pm starting March 8th.

today.cofc.edu 12/15/2020

Religious Studies Students Uncover CofC's Complex Religious History

RELS is excited to share The College Today article (that dropped last Thursday), featuring our stellar students AJ Williamson and Allen Duggar, who have been researching, writing, and constructing a religious history of the College for the past 8 months now. Their digital exhibit went live on Friday! The link for it is in the comments.

https://today.cofc.edu/2020/12/08/religious-studies-students-uncover-cofcs-complex-religious-history/

today.cofc.edu As a university in a town referred to as the Holy City, it’s not surprising that six of the first seven presidents of the College of Charleston were ordained clergy. Although the College claimed to be a secular institution from the time of the second charter in 1791, giving the impression that rel...

11/16/2020

This spring, Dr. Cressler is offering his very popular version of RELS 115: Religion and Society - Black Religion and Black Nationalism; From Slave Rebellions to Black Lives Matter on Tuesdays/Thursdays 1215-130 pm. Seats are available.

11/12/2020

Tonight! 11/12/2020! Two great virtual lectures.

The author of "Queering Black Atlantic Religious", Roberto Strongman, Associate Professor of Comparative Caribbean Cultural Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, will talk about his book. After the talk our own Dr. Lowe will moderate a discussion.

The Charleston Interreligious Council will kick of their 4th annual James Sawers Jr. Interfaith Speaker Series. The keynote speaker is Dr. Anthony Pinn, Professor of Religious Studies at Rice University. Dr. Pinn will offer a lecture, followed by a engaging discussion about African American Religious Life.

11/10/2020

Awesome lecture sponsored by the Department of African-American Studies tonight, Nov. 10th at 6 pm.

postandcourier.com 11/10/2020

Charleston faith group to focus on African American religious diversity in speaker series

Article in the P&C about this the lecture series starting this week about African American religious diversity.

postandcourier.com The Charleston Interreligious Council will discuss that variety of Black spiritual expressions in its upcoming speaker series. The topic for the 4th annual James Sawers Jr. Interfaith Speaker Series is

11/10/2020

Religion interscets with politics, race and culture all over the world. But it can be argued that they don't intersect more any place else than the USA. Join Dr. Siegler this spring for RELS 250: Religion in America learn more.

11/04/2020

One course. Four sections. Two learning styles. Two awesome professors. Dr. Lowe is teaching two face-to-face sections and Dr. Fisher is teaching two online sections of RELS 105: Intro to World Religions for Spring 2021.

11/03/2020

Happy Election Day!!!

11/02/2020

Fancinating series sponsored by the Charleston Interreligious Council on the topic of African-American Religious Diversity. Series begins Nov. 12, 2020.

Announcing the 4th Annual James Sawers Jr. Interfaith Speaker Series ~ AFRICAN AMERICAN RELIGIOUS DIVERSITY AND DIALOGUE ~ Join us for a series of live virtual discussions starting with our keynote address on November 12 at 7pm. REGISTER TODAY!
https://www.cicouncil.org/events

Our Story

he Department of Religious Studies at the College of Charleston offers both a major and minor degree in religious studies. With eight full-time faculty members, the department supports a wide-ranging, diverse curriculum and fosters close interaction between students and faculty. Students may choose to specialize in individual religions or subject areas through special topics courses and tutorials. The flexibility of the curriculum gives students the opportunity to explore diverse cultures and religions, while providing them with important tools to understand and interpret these worldviews critically.

The religious studies department introduces students to the academic study of religion, which engages in the descriptive and cross-cultural analysis of religious beliefs, practices and institutions, both past and present. The teaching orientation is comparative and non-sectarian in that it does not promote any specific religious tradition to the exclusion of others. The department offers a broad range of courses in religious traditions from around the world. It encourages students to complete courses in the areas of western traditions (such as Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), eastern traditions (such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Chinese and Japanese religions) and American religions (such as Native American, African American, and many New Religious Movements). Students become more deeply aware of their own cultural traditions by studying those of others, and will approach other religions with greater empathy and sensitivity to their respective complexity.

Religious studies at the College of Charleston is both a comparative and interdisciplinary enterprise. It serves as a bridge between various disciplines in the humanities and social sciences, particularly those of history, anthropology, sociology, psychology, philosophy and literature, as well as various language programs. Courses explore various religions through a variety of dimensions and themes – ritual, myth, symbol, mystical experience, cognitive patterns, gender, ethnicity, identity – and they also consider the role played by political, economic and social factors on the development of religions in their global context. Religious studies thus provides a coherent disciplinary context where students can engage in a holistic and sustained examination of the history, diversity and ingenuity of human belief and behavior, one of the hallmarks of a liberal arts and sciences education.

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RELS 115 - Religion and Society Spring 2019

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An introduction to new cultures and a chance to see the world :)

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religiousstudies.cofc.edu

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4 Glebe St
Charleston, SC
29424
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