This framework is flexible enough for students to tailor much of their studies in religion to their own interests and passions. To that end, religion majors and minors are encouraged to pursue an emphasis that develops their particular interests and passions and prepares them for their vocational aspirations. Below is a list of possible emphases through which religion majors and minors might focus their study of religion:
Religion, Ecology, and the Body: Do animals, trees, and rivers have souls? Are religions responsible for climate change? Is sexual desire sinful? What is a “good body”? These are the kinds of questions students pursuing the Religion, Ecology, and Body Emphasis can explore through their study of humans as embodied beings who depend on the ecosystems they are a part of for sustenance and survival. This emphasis develops students’ skills for thinking critically about the concrete effects of religious and cultural beliefs, systems, and values on diverse human bodies and on the environment, and for envisioning the flourishing of all bodies, human and non-human alike. For more information, please contact Dr. Koster or Dr. Lelwica.
Sacred Texts and Contexts: Where in the world do these sacred texts come from and how do we make sense of them? The Sacred Texts and Contexts Emphasis seeks to answer these and other vital questions. Students pursuing this emphasis can explore the sacred texts of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam from three angles: 1) the diverse historical, cultural, linguistic, and religious contexts out of which these sacred texts emerged; 2) the multifaceted perspectives on life, purpose, God, and the world these literary works contain; 3) varied interpreters of these texts of differing economic and social circumstances, racial, ethnic, sexual and community identities, and historical periods. For more information, please contact Dr. Creech or Dr. Solvang.
Religion, Ethics, and Social Justice: Many of the world’s great social justice leaders have rooted their activism in their spiritual convictions, including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Dorothy Day, Mahatma Gandhi, Wangari Maathai, and the Dalai Lama. Religion has inspired some of the most important forms of resistance to oppression by individuals and communities. Tragically, religion has also perpetuated grave injustices in matters related to economics, gender, race, and sexuality. The Religion, Ethics and Social Justice Emphasis explores religion’s roles as perpetrator and resister in the struggles for justice. For more information, please contact Dr. Creech, Dr. Pranger, or Dr. Solvang.
Religion and Global Diversity: How do cultural differences and social divisions affect how religious people in different parts of the world live out their faith? The Religion and Global Diversity Emphasis invites students to closely examine religious traditions, practices, and cultures around the globe, and to explore the relationships between and within different religions (including world Christianity). Students pursuing this emphasis will be challenged to develop interreligious and intercultural competency and sensitivity. They will also develop skills for contextualizing, historicizing, and questioning their own worldviews and assumptions, thereby clarifying their own views in conversation with the perspectives of others. For more information, please contact Dr. Mocko or Dr. Pranger.
Christian Histories and Traditions: The Christian Histories and Traditions Emphasis looks at the fascinating traditions and ideas of the past. Have you ever wondered how Christianity came to look the way it does? Students interested in questions like "What is the nature of God?,” "Why is there suffering?,” "How do I live a good life?,” and "What is evil?” will enjoy the Christian Histories and Traditions Emphasis. Through this emphasis, students will study ideas about religious history, spirituality, biography, community, and conflict, as well as the influence of religion in past societies. For more information, please contact Dr. Hammerling, Dr. Koster, or Dr. Simmons.
Create Your Own Emphasis
Religion majors and minors may choose to pursue one of these emphases, or they can combine any of these emphases or create their own emphasis in consultation with a faculty member in the religion department. This consultation will enable students to select religion courses that are most conducive to pursuing their particular interests and developing expertise surrounding those interests. Students are generally encouraged to cluster three or more courses around an emphasis. It is also strongly recommended that students enrich their emphasis through study away experiences, such as the semester abroad programs in Hong Kong, Jerusalem, and India; the summer courses in Santorini and South Africa; the Exploration Seminar in Israel and Palestine; and Justice Journeys.
Although religion emphases are not monitored by the registrar and do not show up in DegreeWorks, they can help religion majors and minors identify, communicate, and promote their specific interests and expertise in religion during and after their years at Concordia.