Welcome to the Department of Religious Studies! Religion is basic to the human experience. For thousands of years, people have turned to religious traditions for answers to life’s most important questions. Yet only with the birth of modern research universities did scholars begin to study religion from an objective, nonsectarian perspective. The field of Religious Studies is dedicated to understanding the dimensions and patterns of religions across cultures and historical contexts. Students learn how religions shape individuals’ views of the world, create and sustain the communities in which we live, and interact with politics, economics, literature and the arts, and other structures of society.
Formally constituted as a department in 1975 by the Indiana University Trustees, Religious Studies at IUPUI is one of only two freestanding religion departments in Indiana’s state-supported campuses (the other being at IU Bloomington) and is part of an elite group of such programs in U.S. public universities. The department’s 12 full-time faculty are all leading researchers in their fields and hold Ph.D. degrees from front-rank programs at Chicago, Harvard, Princeton, Rice, South Africa, UC-Santa Barbara, UNC-Chapel Hill, and Yale. To date, the faculty have published 25 books, with more in press or in preparation, and have published or presented hundreds of papers in journals or at academic conferences. As teachers, the faculty are dedicated to educating students in the rich diversity of religious expression across the globe. A special strength of the department is the study of the world’s religious traditions in the historical context of the Americas. The department also maintains a close relationship with IUPUI’s Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture.