University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh

Department Name: 
Religious Studies and Anthropology
Approximate Enrollment (entire institution): 
Number of Religion Majors: 
Number of Full-Time Departmental Faculty: 
Public Institution?: 
Related to a religious denomination or body?: 
Which best describes the institution?: 
Grants bachelor and master degrees
Department offers undergraduate coursework in ministerial preparation (either a track, a minor, or a major)?: 
Department or institution offers masters programs in religious studies or theological studies?: 
Department or institution offers doctoral programs in religious studies or theological studies?: 
Description of Undergraduate Major: 

Some of the earliest scholars of Religious Studies conceived of religion as the “belief in superhuman beings”, or they focused on a Sacred that is “wholly other”.  The contemporary study of religion, however, is largely the study of people and of the unique ways that people make meaning in their lives.  The main goals of the Religious Studies program at UWO are to study how individuals and communities around the world do this through their use of religious language, imagery, and performance.  In studying the five major World Religions – Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism – students will engage specific issues that pertain to each:  the Holocaust, the roles of women in the Bible, Islamic modernism, Hindu myth and ritual, and Zen Buddhist practice to name just a few.
Additionally, students will wrestle with issues that transcend and question the boundaries of these five traditions, examining comparative and contemporary issues in the study of religion, including:   

     - the varieties and meanings of Asian ritual performances

     - the various religious roles that women and women’s rituals play throughout the world

     - the contributions of New Religious Movements to contemporary American culture

     - the place of children, children’s literature, and comic books in modern religions

     - the varieties of mystical experience performed throughout the world and the use of religious language in global

        violence and terrorism.