Chair of the Religious Studies Department: Eliza Kent
Professor: Eliza Kent
Associate Professor: Joel R. Smith
Assistant Professor: Bradley Onishi, Ryan Overbey
Teaching Professor: Gregory Spinner
Professor Emeritus: Mary Zeiss Stange
The Religious Studies Department at Skidmore is committed to being an inclusive learning community, seeking to both broaden intellectual horizons and represent a range of identities among its faculty, staff, and students. We firmly believe that the study of religion fosters deep intercultural and global understanding, which in turn encourages and enables informed, responsible citizenship. Our aim, in the topics we address and in the people we hire, is to further a robust and enlightening conversation about how religions shape the world we share. We thus invite persons of any faith, class, race, ethnicity, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, national origin, age, or ability to join us in that conversation.
The academic study of religion is necessarily interdisciplinary insofar as religion intersects with so many different aspects of human existence. With a view toward globalized cultural literacy, our students investigate how religions shape and are shaped by culture, society and the environment from multiple theoretical perspectives, including History of Religion, Philosophy of Religion, Feminism and Gender Studies, Postcolonial Studies, Cultural Studies, Environmental Studies, Literary Theory, Art History, Anthropology, Sociology and Psychology of Religion. Encompassing the study of literate and non-literate societies, our courses investigate the richness and complexity of religious traditions, be they indigenous, Western, or Asian in origin. Our students engage questions at the heart of the human effort to understand and represent the self, society, the world, and immanent and transcendent realities.
Courses in our department cultivate the empathetic imagination necessary for cross-cultural understanding and offer training in a unique constellation of skills, including close textual analysis, creative and critical thinking, and direct observation. Such training well equips our students to enter any occupation requiring a solid liberal arts preparation, including education, law, medicine, diplomatic service, human services, journalism, international business and development-to name just a few relevant areas. Some religion majors choose to pursue graduate studies in religion or to enter seminary, but for the most part our students find that their work in religion informs and enhances their professional preparation for a broad array of careers. The foundational skills acquired in the study of religion may be applied widely. Special expertise provided by advanced work in the discipline proves invaluable in any environment that requires well-honed research skills, critical thinking, sensitivity to diversity, fluency in challenging cultural issues and a globalized knowledge base.
RE 208 - Native American Religions
RE 217 - Health and Healing in Asian Religions
RE 218 - Hindu Myth
RE 223 - Comparative Myth
RE 299 - Professional Internship in Religous Studies
RE 305 - World's End: Millennialism
RE 315 - Religion and Society in Modern India
RE 399 - Professional Internship in Religous Studies