Interdisciplinary Study of Religions
At Bard, the study of religion is undertaken as an interdisciplinary examination of various ways in which religion operates in and affects life. Courses in the program approach religion through multiple questions and perspectives, including the study of scripture, the performance of religion in everyday life, intersections of religion and politics, religion and material culture, and the evolution of concepts like tradition, modernity, and secularism. Moderation in religion equips students in the key methods and approaches in the humanities and social sciences while also familiarizing them with central doctrines, practices, and narratives of major religious traditions.
Program majors are required to take three courses in religion prior to Moderation and three elective courses in religion thereafter. In total, courses must be taken in at least three of the religious traditions offered in the curriculum: Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism. After Moderation, enrollment in Sacred Pursuits is required of juniors, while seniors must enroll in Religion Colloquium in addition to the Senior Project. The purpose of the 2-credit Colloquium is to foster a community of scholarship among students and faculty and to prepare public presentations of independent research.
Requirements for concentration in the program include any two courses in religion prior to Moderation, and two elective courses in religion thereafter. In total, courses must be taken in at least two different religious traditions. Juniors must enroll in Sacred Pursuits, while seniors are encouraged to enroll in Religion Colloquium.
Students are also expected to study a language relevant to the particular religion or area of study that provides the focus for their Senior Project. Relevant languages taught at Bard include Arabic, Chinese, Greek, Hebrew, Japanese, Latin, and Sanskrit.
The Senior Project in the Interdisciplinary Study of Religions Program will ideally be the culmination of the student’s investigation of religion at Bard and should reflect a sustained analysis of a carefully defined topic in the critical study of religion.
Recent Senior Projects in Religion
- “The Holy Ghoul and Lalla: Bhakti and Medieval Poetics”
- “Image of Yoga: Instagram, Identity, and Western Imagination”
- “Religious Rights of Parents and Children in the U.S. Foster Care System”
- “Yes, No, or Maybe: A Look into the Denotations of Chinese Fu Talismans”