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Religion

Religion is deeply implicated in human culture, shaping morality and ethics, law and literature, politics and society. It is fundamental to civilizations worldwide, both premodern and modern, and it is never far from the front page of any newspaper. Our faculty and students are therefore eager to work in an interdisciplinary way to engage with economics, government, philosophy, psychology, sociology and other fields in their religious contexts.

Students of any religious affiliation, or none, can benefit from a course of study in religion. It is not unusual, however, for a student's interest in religious studies to be motivated by existential questions about human existence and the meaning of life. We believe there is no better way for a person to work out her own answers than by studying the distillations of insight found in the world’s religious traditions.

Department Update

Browse course offerings

Fall 2024 Religion and Religion cross-listed courses can be found by going to the Registrar's course search.

Watch the video of "Modern Jewish Studies: Where Do We Come From? Where Are We Going?"

On November 6, 2022, the Religion department and the Program in Jewish Studies held a colloquium with leading scholars of Jewish history and thought to honor Professor Lois Dubin's 34 year career of teaching and research at Smith.  Watch the video of the proceedings and discussions here.  

See a recent student-authored website

The Art of the Angel Wing is a website on angelic art and iconography created by Phoebe Rendon-Nissenbaum '22.  It's the culmination of her work in a semester-long independent study she did with Professor Vera Shevzov in fall 2020.  

Read a recently published student essay

"Jesus, James, and Job: Christian Perspectives on Innocent Suffering", an essay first written by Naomi Brill '22 for her Religion department seminar class on Job, was published in the winter 2021 volume of The UCLA Journal of Religion

Requirements & Courses

Goals for Majors in Religion

To make sense of the complexity of religion one needs to consider a wide range of sources and to do so in a wide variety of ways. Scholars of religion are best served by being both multi-disciplinary and multi-methodological, drawing on paradigms from a host of academic disciplines—from the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences—and wisely choosing and using the right method for each source examined.

To this end, we want our students to learn something of the history of the academic study of religion as well as its many theories and methods, and also to be able to put this knowledge to use in their own research. This is our aim in What is Religion? (REL 200), which is a requirement for all our majors. We also encourage our majors to count one class toward their major that is taken outside of the Department of Religion yet is relevant to their course of study. This allows students to integrate insights from another department, and thus develop sophisticated methodologies tailored to their interests.

Students in our department should develop an understanding of religion that has both breadth and depth. They should learn the fundamentals and nuances of multiple religious traditions as a way to grasp the range of religious ideas and practices, and they should also develop a deep understanding of one religion, or one religious concept or ritual, as a way to grasp the particularities that religion can engender and the logic of these forms. Hence, we stipulate a breadth requirement, which obliges students to take courses across religious traditions, and a depth requirement, which has students develop a concentration. These requirements offer students complementary ways of understanding religion in its richness and diversity.

One way to access the depth of a religious tradition is through a departmental seminar, which is a requirement for all majors. Seminars offer students the opportunity to learn intensively. Students read primary and secondary sources, develop arguments about these materials in class discussion and in writing, and then conduct independent research as a way to explore a particular facet of religion in detail. Students who want to do additional specialized research can work with our faculty to develop either a special studies project or an honors thesis.

Another way to access the depth of a religious tradition is to read texts of that tradition in their original language, whether classical or modern, canonical or vernacular. To encourage this, we credit students who complete an advanced language class in which they read religious texts. Language study of this kind is especially beneficial for students who want to continue their studies at the graduate level. In fact, many of our students have gone on to get advanced degrees and have illustrious careers in religious studies or the ministry, as well as in a plethora of other fields.

We have designed the our curriculum to instill a range of skills in our students. We help them cultivate a methodologically sophisticated understanding of religion that is both broad and deep. To this end, our courses help students to understand religion’s role in history and current events; to consider religion’s claims to authority critically yet sensitively; to reflect on religion’s relationship to ethics and moral systems; to recognize religious diversity and develop a culturally sensitive and global orientation; and much more. In addition, our courses inculcate skills that are of fundamental importance to a liberal arts education: critical reading, cogent writing, and how to craft arguments, pursue independent research, engage in public speaking and dialogue, and synthesize the resources of multiple disciplines to pose and answer questions about complex phenomena.

Religion Major

Requirements

Ten semester courses

  1. Five breadth courses in the department, one each from five of the following categories: 
    • Philosophical, Theoretical, or Comparative
    • Biblical Literature
    • Jewish Traditions
    • Christian Traditions
    • Islamic Traditions
    • Buddhist Traditions
    • South Asian Traditions
    • Religion in the Americas
    • The department's broad-based introductory courses (e.g., REL 105, REL 107REL 108/ PHI 108)
  2. REL 200
  3. One seminar in the religion department
  4. Three focus courses in the department. In consultation with the major adviser, students will develop a focus by choosing three related courses defined by religious tradition, geographical area, discipline or theme.
Additional Guidelines
  • Courses counting toward the major may not be taken S/U.
  • Students may count one course outside the religion department, including a language course, as long as it is relevant to their religion major in terms of content or method.
  • Students are also encouraged to take religion courses throughout the Five Colleges and to study abroad. With the approval of the department, such courses may count toward the major.
  • The religion department encourages study of foreign languages. For further information, students should consult with their adviser or the appropriate department member.
  • With the approval of the department, relevant courses taken abroad may count toward the major.

Honors

The religion department encourages majors to apply to the departmental honors program and pursue a significant research project of their own design. Students in the honors program develop, research, write and defend a thesis in close consultation with a faculty mentor. For further details please contact the director of honors.

Religion Minor

Requirements

Five semester courses 

  1. Three breadth courses. One course from three of the following categories:
    • Philosophical, Theoretical, or Comparative
    • Biblical Literature
    • Jewish Traditions
    • Christian Traditions
    • Islamic Traditions
    • Buddhist Traditions
    • South Asian Traditions
    • Religion in the Americas
    • Broad-based introductory courses or major colloquium: REL 105, REL 107REL 108/ PHI 108, REL 200
  2. One elective
  3. One seminar

Courses counting toward the minor may not be taken S/U.

Courses

REL 105 An Introduction to World Religions (4 Credits)

An introduction to the study of Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, Christian and Islamic religious traditions. Readings come from primary religious sources, including the Bhagavad Gita, Shantideva’s guide to Buddhist awakening, the Passover Haggadah, Christian gospel narratives, the Quran, and diverse works of poetry, philosophy and art. Group projects, films and stories and virtual visits to religious sites online provide ways to begin seeing what the world looks like through the eyes of religious adherents. Lectures and background readings provide historical context, and recurring themes such as sacrifice, community, liberation, devotion, worship and salvation are considered throughout the semester. {H}

Fall

REL 107 Spiritual But Not Religious (4 Credits)

The number of Americans who identify as spiritual, but who are not affiliated with any traditional religion, has doubled in the last twenty years. More than 20% of Americans now identify as "spiritual but not religious" (SBNR), and the number is growing. In this course, students will try to make sense of this phenomenon by studying what these Americans practice, such as mindful meditation, ethical eating and forms of political activism. What is their lived experience? What counts as spirituality? Students will engage with primary and secondary sources on American SBNRs and conduct original ethnographic research about spirituality at Smith. {S}

Fall, Spring, Variable

REL 108/ PHI 108 The Meaning of Life (4 Credits)

Offered as REL 108 and PHI 108. This course asks the big question, "What is the Meaning of Life?" and explores a range of answers offered by philosophers and religious thinkers from a host of different traditions in different eras of human history. We explore a variety of forms of philosophical and religious thinking and consider the ways in which philosophical and religious thinking can be directly relevant to our own lives. {H}{L}

Fall, Spring, Annually

REL 109 Rest (4 Credits)

The ubiquitous message is to work harder and be more productive. In doing so, the promise is stability, good lives and good jobs. What if this is all wrong? What if “rest” is what humans are really missing? This course explores this question by reading sociologists, historians, psychologists, public health scholars, critical disability scholars, Jewish philosophers, Black Christian activists and Zen masters. This course considers how “rest,” as conceived by these diverse people, encompasses visions for just economic systems and antiracist praxis, as well as the flourishing of ecosystems. Finally, students experiment with rest themselves. (E) {H}{S}

Fall, Spring, Variable

REL 110hl Colloquium: Topics in Thematic Studies in Religion- Jerasalem and the Holy Land (4 Credits)

This course will examine the religious and historical legacy of the city of Jerusalem and the Holy Land in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. It will explore the ways Jerusalem and the Holy Land have been sanctified in scripture, art, architecture, literature, poetry, and film. It will also explore how rulers tapped into this sanctity and significance to promote their own legitimacy and agendas. In this respect, the course emphasizes Jerusalem and the Holy Land as a common, shared heritage to the three monotheistic traditions, yet how it has inspired religious and political conflict in the past and today. Enrollment limited to 20. {H}

Fall, Spring, Variable

REL 112 Introduction to the Bible I (4 Credits)

The Hebrew scriptures (Tanakh/Old Testament). A survey of the Hebrew Bible and its historical and cultural context. Critical reading and discussion of its narrative and legal components as well as an introduction to the prophetic corpus and selections from the wisdom literature. {H}{L}

Fall, Spring, Annually

REL 125/ JUD 125 The Jewish Tradition (4 Credits)

Offered as REL 125 and JUD 125. Who are the Jews? What is Judaism? How have Jews understood core ideas and texts, and put their values into practice, from biblical times until today? An interdisciplinary introduction to the dramatic story of Jewish civilization and its conversation with different cultures from religious, historical, political, philosophical, literary and cultural perspectives, organized around different themes. {H}{L}

Fall, Spring, Annually

REL 140/ RES 140 Putin's Russia: After Communism, After Atheism (4 Credits)

Same as REL 140. Often portrayed as hostile to the West, Vladimir Putin and the Russia he rules remain little known. Going beyond the headlines, this course examines contemporary Russia, and historical events and figures that have shaped Putin-era Russia. We will trace the culture wars that have ensued in this post-communist and post-atheist state, across historical documents, art, film, literature, and journalism. Topics include state power and political opposition; the resurgence of religion, and tensions between religion and the secular in the public sphere; debates over the Soviet past, including revolution, war and political terror; human rights and "traditional values. {H}{L}{S}

Fall, Spring, Variable

REL 145 Introduction to the Islamic Traditions (4 Credits)

The Islamic religious tradition from its beginnings in seventh century Arabia through the present day, with particular emphasis on the formative period (A.D. 600–1000) and on modern efforts at reinterpretation. Topics include Muhammad and the Qur’an, prophetic tradition, sacred Law, ritual, sectarianism, mysticism, dogmatic theology and popular practices. Emphasis on the ways Muslims in different times and places have constructed and reconstructed the tradition for themselves. The course concludes with examples of modern Islamic thought (modernism, feminism and militancy). {H}

Fall, Spring, Annually

REL 164 Buddhist Meditation (4 Credits)

This course will explore classical and contemporary forms of Buddhist meditation theory and practice. It will examine both classical formulations and contemporary expositions with an eye to seeing how the theory and practice of Buddhist meditation are being adapted to fit the needs of people today. Enrollment limited to 25. {H}

Fall, Spring, Variable

REL 171 Introduction to Contemporary Hinduism (4 Credits)

This course is an introduction to the ideas and practices of contemporary Hinduism in India and the diaspora, with an emphasis on how Hindu identities are constructed and contested, and the roles they play in culture and politics. Materials to be considered include philosophical writings, ritual texts, devotional poetry and images, religious comic books, legal treatises, personal memoirs, as well as ethnographic and popular films. {H}{L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

REL 200 Colloquium: What is Religion? (4 Credits)

What is religion really? Is it an explanation of the world, a vehicle for reaching divinity, or a system for social connection? Is it a by-product of human evolution, a reflection of economic practices, or a category created by colonialism? Is it somehow all of the above? And how does “religion” and its intersections with race, class, gender, and politics inform our place in the world? We explore these questions by reading classic and contemporary scholars, drawing from disciplines such as anthropology, philosophy, psychology, sociology, American studies, and gender studies, and investigating what religion means and does for Smith students. Enrollment limited to 18. {H}{S}

Fall

REL 201 Colloquium-Ritual: Performance and Paradoxes (4 Credits)

A central feature of religious traditions and lived religious experience, ritual is often thought of as repetitive, unchanging, and prescriptive. Yet, enacted rituals are often open-ended and allow considerable room for creativity and innovation. Through embodied action and symbolic drama, rituals serve complex functions of making meaning, deepening spirituality, performing cultural identity, and advocating for social change. In this course, students will study various theories of ritual and examine ritual practices (religious and secular) in diverse traditions and societies. For their final project, students will themselves participate in the process of ritualizing--that is, crafting new rituals. Enrollment limited to 20. {H}{S}

Fall, Spring, Variable

REL 204 Colloquium: Blasphemy! (4 Credits)

Commonly associated with pre-modern societies, the term "blasphemy" has taken on new life in today’s technologically-connected world. This course examines the notion of blasphemy--its meanings, the invisible boundaries it presupposes both in some of the world’s major religious traditions and in secular contexts, and the different ways of seeing it often signifies. Based on case studies, it explores contemporary public uses of the term, the competing understandings of the "sacred" it often assumes, and the cultural and political challenges the term presents in a globalized society. The course considers the implications of the public charge of blasphemy in light of issues such as: the religious and the secular; humor and satire; commodification and consumerism; "insiders," "outsiders, and cultural appropriation; art, film and the sacred; museum conservation and display; and free speech and human rights. Enrollment limited to 20. {H}{L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

REL 205 Philosophy of Religion (4 Credits)

This course introduces the history of philosophy of religion and enters into its major debates: Is there a God? Can religious belief be squared with the existence of suffering and evil? What is the relationship between faith and reason, between faith and doubt? Can religious or mystical experience be trusted? Is there reason to hope for life after death? Lectures, discussion, short papers and group projects focus on classic and contemporary responses to these questions, with readings drawn from Plato, Buddhist philosophical texts, Avicenna, al-Ghazali, Anselm, Maimonides, Aquinas, Hume, Kant, Kierkegaard, William James, Linda Zagzebski and others. {H}

Fall, Spring, Variable

REL 206 Heaven, Hell and Other Worlds: The Afterlife in World Religions (4 Credits)

How do the world’s religions picture the journey beyond death? This course examines conceptions of heaven, hell and purgatory; immortality, rebirth and resurrection; the judgement of the dead and the life of the world to come. Readings include classic and sacred texts such as The Epic of Gilgamesh, Plato’s Phaedo, the Katha Upanishad, The Tibetan Book of the Dead, Dante’s Divine Comedy and Newman’s Dream of Gerontius, and a variety of philosophical and theological reflections on the meaning of death and the hope for eternal life. Enrollment limited to 35. {H}{L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

REL 208 The Inklings: Religion and Imagination in the Works of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien and Their Circle (4 Credits)

The Inklings were a group of Oxford intellectuals who met in the Magdalen College rooms of the literary historian, apologist and fantasist C.S. Lewis to read aloud and discuss their works in progress. This course examines the Inklings’ shared concerns, among them mythology, philology, recovery of the Christian intellectual tradition and resistance to "the machine." Readings include essays and letters by Tolkien, Lewis, Charles Williams, Owen Barfield and quasi-Inkling Dorothy Sayers, as well as selections from their major works of fiction, theology and criticism. Enrollment limited to 35. {H}{L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

REL 209 Why Believe? Investigating Faith and Doubt (4 Credits)

What is it like to be a believer? What sort of evidence is needed for religious belief to be justified? Can doubt coexist with faith? This course investigates connections between religious belief and acts of knowing, trusting, searching and doubting. The class examines personal testimonies along with philosophical and literary reflections on belief and doubt. Readings from Blaise Pascal, William James, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Ramanuja, the Nyaya-sutra, Ibn Sina, al-Ghazali, Thomas Aquinas, as well as contemporary philosophers of religion, sacred writings from several religious traditions, and the letters of Mother Teresa on her long “dark night.” Occasional films. {H}{L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

REL 211 What Is the Good Life? Wisdom from the Bible (4 Credits)

Critical reading and discussion of Wisdom texts in the Hebrew Bible and Apocrypha (Job, selected Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Sirach, Wisdom of Solomon, etc.) as well as some of the shorter narrative and poetic texts in the Writings such as Ruth, Esther and Song of Songs. {L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

REL 213 Social Justice in the Hebrew Bible (4 Credits)

An exploration of biblical prophecy with a focus on how the prophets called for social and religious reform in language that continues to resonate today. {H}{L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

REL 214/ JUD 214 Women in the Hebrew Bible (4 Credits)

This course focuses on the lives of women in ancient Israelite society through close readings of the Hebrew Bible. We look at detailed portraits of female characters as well as the role of many unnamed women in the text to consider the range and logic of biblical attitudes toward women, including reverence, disgust and sympathy. We also consider female deities in the ancient Near East, women in biblical law, sex in prophetic and Wisdom literature, and the female body as a source of metaphor. {H}

Fall, Spring, Variable

REL 215 Introduction to the Bible II (4 Credits)

The literature of the New Testament in its broader historical, religious and cultural context. This course will emphasize literary genre, social-historical factors such as cultural identity in the Jewish Diaspora, and continuity with other religious traditions of the Greco-Roman Jewish world. Enrollment limited to 35. {H}{L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

REL 221 Philosophers and Mystics (4 Credits)

The rise of Jewish philosophy and mysticism (Kabbalah) in the Islamic world and in medieval Spain, and the development of these theological and intellectual trends as decisive influences upon all subsequent forms of Judaism. Analysis of Jewish philosophy and mysticism as complementary yet often competing spiritual paths. How did Jewish philosophers and mystics consider the roles of reason, emotion and symbols in religious faith and practice? What interrelations did they see between the natural and divine realms, and between religious, philosophical and scientific explanations? Expressions of philosophy and mysticism in religious texts, individual piety, popular practice and communal politics. Readings drawn from the works of the great philosopher Maimonides, the mystical classic the Zohar and other thinkers, as well as personal documents of religious experience and thought. All readings in English. {H}

Fall, Spring, Alternate Years

REL 230 Jesus (4 Credits)

Who do you say that I am"? Reportedly posed by Jesus to his disciples, this question remained no less relevant to future generations of his followers as well as their detractors, and continues to challenge views of Christianity’s Christ to this day. This course examines some of the most prominent texts, images and films that have informed understandings of Jesus over the past two millennia and have contributed to making Jesus one of the most well-known yet controversial figures in history. Open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 25. {H}{L}

Fall, Spring, Alternate Years

REL 235 Catholic Philosophical Tradition (4 Credits)

Faith and reason, worship and the intellectual life, the meaning of redemption and the nature of Catholicism according to major thinkers in the Catholic tradition. Readings from Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas, Pascal, John Henry Newman, G.K. Chesterton, Simone Weil, Hans Urs von Balthasar, Karol Wojtyla (Pope John Paul II), Elizabeth Anscombe, Alasdair MacIntyre and others. {H}

Fall, Spring, Variable

REL 238 Mary: Images and Cults (4 Credits)

Whether revered as the Mother of God or remembered as a single Jewish mother of an activist, Mary has both inspired and challenged generations of Christian women and men worldwide. This course focuses on key developments in the "history of Mary" since early Christian times to the present. How has her image shaped global Christianities? What does her perceived image in any given age tell us about personal and collective identities? Topics include Mary’s "life"; rise of the Marian cult; Marian apparitions (e.g., Guadalupe and Lourdes) and miracle-working images, especially in Byzantium and Russia; liberation and feminism; politics, activism, mysticism and prayer. Devotional, polemical and literary texts, art and film. Enrollment limited to 35. {H}

Fall, Spring, Alternate Years

REL 240 Religious Thought and Spirituality in Revolutionary Russia (4 Credits)

The 19th and early 20th centuries marked one of the most brilliant yet destructive periods in Russia's history. This course explores the spiritual and religious-philosophical ideas that fueled a renaissance in the arts as well as a political revolution, both of which had enormous impact worldwide. Based on works of art and literature, religious-philosophical and political writings, and film, it introduces students to some of the best-known radical thinkers and cultural innovators in Russia’s late imperial and Soviet past, and in its post-Soviet present. Topics include: religious faith, materialism and science; the meaning of history; “new religious consciousness”; theosophy and the occult; art, beauty and the Absolute; human creativity and god- building; divine wisdom and “all-unity”; the body, sex and spirituality. (E) {H}{L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

REL 242/ RES 242 The Politics and Culture of Russian Sacred Art (4 Credits)

Offered as REL 242 and RES 242. As devotional objects, political symbols, and art commodities, Russia’s sacred art--the icon--has been revered as sacred, vilified as reactionary, embraced in rebellion, destroyed as dangerous, and sold as masterpieces. Engaging the fields of religion, material and visual culture, and ritual studies, this course examines the life and language of this art form, and its role in shaping Russia’s turbulent history. Topics include the production and reception of images; diverse meanings and functions of sacred imagery; visuality and spirituality; secularization and commodification; history, memory, and collective identities; the icon, avant-garde art, and film; controversial images and protest culture. No prerequisites. Open to first-year students. {A}{H}

Fall, Spring, Variable

REL 246 Muslims, Modernity and Islam (4 Credits)

Major themes addressed by Muslim thinkers since the 19th century, such as Islamic reform and revival, the encounters with colonialism and imperialism, nationalism and other modern ideologies; and Islamic discussions of modernity, liberalism, democracy, feminism, sexuality, and militancy. Reading of primary sources in translation. {H}

Fall, Spring, Annually

REL 247 The Qur’an (4 Credits)

The Qur’an, according to the majority of Muslims, is God’s word revealed to Muhammad through the angel Gabriel over a period of 22 years (610-632 C.E.). This course introduces students to Islam’s scriptural text: its content, form, structure and history. It also situates the Qur’an in the larger frame of the genre of Scripture: What does it mean for a text to be revealed? Study of the Qur’an as a seventh-century product, as well as the history of reception of this text. Analysis of its varying impact on the formulation of Islamic salvation history, law and legal theory, theology, ritual, intellectual trends, and art and popular culture. {H}{L}

Fall, Spring, Annually

REL 248jh Topics in Modern Islam-Jihad (4 Credits)

The persistence of the ideology of jihad in modern Islam drives revivalists and apologists to disagree over the meaning of “jihad” and whether it should be understood to necessitate violence or as an interpersonal spiritual struggle. This course examines the most important modern debates about Jihad and how each position engages and appeals to the foundational Islamic sources (e.g. Qur’an, Muhammad, Sharia/Islamic Law) and Islamic history for legitimacy. It also explores the factors that make the rhetoric used by modern jihadists popular among certain Muslim constituencies, inspiring them to wage holy war against “infidels” as well as fellow Muslims. Course may be repeated for credit with a different topic. Enrollment limited to 35. {H}

Fall, Spring, Variable

REL 249/ MUS 249 Colloquium: Islamic Popular Music (4 Credits)

Offered as MUS 249 and REL 249. Music is a complex issue in many Islamic societies. There are tensions between those who believe that music has no place in Islam and try to prohibit it, those for whom it is a central component of mystical devotion, and those who tolerate it, albeit within well-defined parameters. The debate intensifies in the case of popular music, a core part of the self-identification of young people everywhere. Despite this, there is an amazing variety of vibrant popular music throughout the Islamic world. This course explores the religious debates over music and the rich musical tradition (including religious music) in Islam. Enrollment limited to 35. {A}{H}

Fall, Spring, Variable

REL 261/ BUS 261 Buddhism, Race and Justice (4 Credits)

Offered as REL 261 and BUS 261. What can Buddhist texts and practices teach about analyzing and responding to contemporary forms of injustice, such as oppression based on race, caste, class, gender and sexuality? And how might responding to these forms of injustice lead to a reformulation of Buddhism? Drawing on classical and contemporary texts, this course addresses Buddhist contributions to the analysis of injustice and the practice of making social change. Working collaboratively, students explore the ethics of attention; the body, identity and identity politics; the place of anger in response to injustice; the phenomenology of marginalization and liberation; and the practice of violence and non-violence.  (E) {L}{S}

Fall, Spring, Variable

REL 270 Zen Buddhism and Japanese Culture (4 Credits)

The development of Buddhism and other religious traditions in Japan from prehistory through the 19th century. Topics include doctrinal development, church/state relations, and the diffusion of religious values in Japanese culture, particularly in the aesthetic realm (literature, gardens, tea, the martial arts, etc.) {H}

Fall, Spring, Variable

REL 275 Religions of Ancient India (4 Credits)

This course is an introduction to the literature, thought and practice of religious traditions in India, from ancient times to the medieval period. Readings include materials from the Vedas, Upanishads and epics, from plays and poetry, as well as Buddhist and Jain literature. Particular consideration is given to the themes of dharma, karma, love and liberation as they are articulated in Classical Hinduism. {H}

Fall, Spring, Alternate Years

REL 280 South Asian Visual Culture (4 Credits)

How does one make sense of what one sees in South Asia? What is the visual logic behind the production and consumption of images, art, advertising and film? This course considers the visual world of South Asia, focusing on the religious dimensions of visuality. Discussions include the divine gaze in Hindu and Buddhist contexts, the role of god-posters in religious ritual and political struggle, the printed image as contested site for visualizing the nation and the social significance of clothing and commercial films in colonial and contemporary India. Students also work closely with holdings from the Smith College Art Museum.

Fall, Spring, Variable

REL 284 Tantra and Yoga in India (4 Credits)

Tantra and yoga teach techniques to attain magical powers, achieve liberation, and transform the world. These traditions have influenced nearly every aspect of Indian religious life over the last two millennia, and yet they have often been shrouded in secrecy because of their potency. This course explores these complex traditions by considering source materials in translation as well as contemporary theoretical literature on practice, ritual, transgression, and historiography. {H}

Fall, Spring, Variable

REL 288 Colloquium: Mormonisms (4 Credits)

Mormonism has gone from a religion of a few families to a global family of small sects and large denominations. This course explores the diversity of contemporary and historical Mormonisms. Discussions include the creation of new scriptures; conflict between church and state; the dynamics of religious schism; temple spaces and the politics of secrecy; constructions of race, gender, and sexuality; missions and evangelism; modern pilgrimage; and the globalization of modern Mormonisms. In addition, students conduct oral histories with women from around the world who have been ordained within a progressive Mormon church. Enrollment limited to 18. (E)

Fall, Spring, Variable

REL 291 Colloquium: Ordaining Women in America (4 Credits)

In the 1970s, many Christian, Jewish and Buddhist communities in America began ordaining women as ministers, rabbis, priests and teachers. This change in policy provided women long-denied vocational paths, necessitated new theological self-understandings and ritual forms, and served as a proxy for larger culture war divisions in America. While focused on the last fifty years, this course provides a wider historical narrative for these developments, from the bold revivalism of colonial-era women preachers to anti-racist activism by contemporary Zen senseis. As part of a class project, students will conduct interviews with ordained women and construct podcast episodes from these interviews. Not open to students who have taken FYS 114. Enrollment limited to 18. (E) {H}{S}

Fall, Spring, Variable

REL 301wb Seminar: Topics in the Philosophy of Religion-Why Believe? Investigating Faith and Doubt (4 Credits)

What is it like to be a believer? What sort of evidence is needed for religious belief to be justified? Can doubt coexist with faith? This seminar investigates connections between religious belief and acts of knowing, trusting, searching, and doubting. We examine personal testimonies along with intellectual and literary expressions of belief and doubt. Readings from such authors as Nagarjuna, Ibn Sina, Aquinas, Pascal, David Hume, William James, Ludwig Wittgenstein, as well as contemporary philosophers of religion; Buddhist, Hindu, and biblical texts; al-Ghazali’s Deliverance from Error; and letters of Mother Teresa on her long “dark night.” Enrollment limited to 12. Juniors and seniors only. Instructor permission required. {H}{L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

REL 304/ PSY 304 Seminar:Happiness: Buddhist and Psychological Understandings of Personal Well-Being (4 Credits)

Same as PSY 304. What is happiness? What is personal well-being? How are they achieved? This course examines the core ideas of the Buddhist science of mind and how they are being studied and employed by psychologists, neuroscientists, cognitive scientists and psychotherapists. The focus of the course is the notion of "happiness," its cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary definition as well as the techniques advocated for its achievement by both the Buddhist and the psychologist. Prerequisite: PSY 100, REL 105, one course in Buddhist traditions or permission of instructor. Enrollment limited to 15. Juniors and seniors only. Instructor permission required. {N}{S}

Fall, Spring, Variable

REL 305ec Seminar: Advanced Topics in Religion-Eastern Christian Worlds: Prayer and Politics (4 Credits)

From Putin’s Russia to Assad’s Syria, Eastern Christianity has seen increasing media attention over the past two decades. But what is Christianity like outside “the West?” This course explores: the beliefs, spirituality and practices that link these “other” Christians—who have historically lived in such diverse regions as Armenia, Bulgaria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Greece, Romania, Russia, Syria and Ukraine; the historical memories and political power struggles that have divided them; the geopolitical implications of Eastern Orthodoxy’s unexpected comeback in post-Soviet Russia; and the complex relationship between Eastern Christianity and its western Roman Catholic and Protestant counterparts. The course considers mystical, philosophical, theological and political sources, both ancient and contemporary, as well as art, literature and film. Enrollment limited to 12. Juniors and seniors only. Instructor permission required. {A}{H}{L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

REL 305mc Seminar: Advanced Topics in Religion-The Muslim World and the Crusades: Then and Now (4 Credits)

This course explores the historical, religious, political, social and cultural impacts of the Crusades on the Muslim World from the late eleventh century until today. Special attention is given to the variety of Muslim reactions to and encounters with the Franks, including hostile and friendly relations. The course also considers the effect of the Crusades on the course of Islamic history and religious thought and its enduring legacy by examining texts, films, novels, poetry, etc. The broader objective is to understand how and why specific historical narratives generate powerful religious discourses that shape the current political, social and cultural realities. Enrollment limited to 12. Juniors and seniors only. Instructor permission required. {H}{S}

Fall, Spring, Variable

REL 305pl Seminar: Advanced Topics in Religion-Pilgrimage (4 Credits)

This seminar surveys modern pilgrimage practices in traditional religions, new religious movements, and religion-like assemblages, such as fan scenes. In studies ranging from an ethnography of Jim Morrison’s Paris grave to a history of Birthright trips to Israel, we will examine the diverse ways that humans engage travel, shrines, and constructions of the sacred. In doing so, we will also analyze how pilgrimage intersects with issues of national identity, racialized hierarchies, gender and sexuality, religious orthodoxy and heterodoxy, migration, memory, and nostalgia.  Finally, we will reflect on the limits and generative possibilities offered by pilgrimage as an academic category. Juniors and seniors only. Enrollment limited to 12. Instructor permission required. {H}{S}

Fall, Spring, Variable

REL 305vn Seminar: Advanced Topics in Religion-Violence, Non-violence and Revolution (4 Credits)

How do religious traditions justify acts of violence? And when and why do they embrace nonviolence? And what happens when these choices lead to revolution? This course considers the logic and practice of violence and non-violence in a variety of religious traditions around the world, as well as the ethical, social, and political consequences of these phenomena. Topics include suicide bombing and self-immolating, Gandhi’s ahimsa and Martin Luther King’s agape, spiritual ecology and ecoterrorism, and much more. Enrollment limited to 12. Juniors and seniors only. Instructor permission required. {H}{L}{S}

Fall, Spring, Variable

REL 310is Seminar: Hebrew Bible-Why Do the Innocent Suffer? (4 Credits)

Many biblical texts question whether God consistently rewards the righteous and punishes the wicked. Prominent examples include Job, Ecclesiastes and certain Psalms, but similar ideas occur in the Torah and the Prophets. While focusing most deeply on Job, this course introduces students to an array of biblical and ancient Near Eastern texts, as well as some post-biblical and even modern literature, to illuminate the Hebrew Bible’s discourse surrounding this issue. Enrollment limited to 12. Juniors and seniors only. Instructor permission required. {H}{L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

REL 345sl Seminar: Topics in Islamic Thought-Muslims and Shari'a law (4 Credits)

This seminar explores the complexity and history of Shariʿa Law in Islam. It examines the formation of a variety of schools of Shariʿa from very early Islamic history until today and the way Muslim jurists have maintained the relevance of Shariʿa to their respective societies and times. It covers the theory and application, purpose, sources (e.g., Qurʾan, Muhammad, customs), hermeneutical tools (e.g., reason, public good, doubt) and the Shariʿa laws themselves. The course also discusses the interaction of Shariʿa with other legal systems, especially in the context of today where Shariʿa is restricted to a small realm (primarily family and personal law). Enrollment limited to 12. Juniors and seniors only. Instructor permission only. {H}

Fall, Spring, Variable

REL 400 Special Studies (2-4 Credits)

By permission of the department, normally for senior majors who have had four semester courses above the introductory level.

Fall, Spring

REL 430D Honors Project (4 Credits)

Fall, Spring, Annually

Crosslisted Courses

ANT 274 The Anthropology of Religion (4 Credits)

What can anthropologists teach us about religion as a social phenomenon? This course traces significant anthropological approaches to the study of religion, asking what these approaches contribute to our understanding of religion in the contemporary world. Topics include religious experience and rationality; myth, ritual and magic; rites of passage; function and meaning; power and alienation; religion and politics. Readings are drawn from important texts in the history of anthropology and from contemporary ethnographies of religion. {S}

Fall, Spring, Annually

ARH 290mc Colloquium: Topics in Art Historical Studies-Meditations in Caves (4 Credits)

The course is an introduction to Buddhist grottoes of East Asia. We will learn the historical trajectories of Buddhist grottoes, including the development of cave architecture, mural painting, and sculpture. It pays special attention to the site specificity of the visual imageries, and their transmissions, commissions, and functions. The case studies in this course range from the Kizil Caves and Mogao Caves in Northwestern China, to the Yungang Caves and Longmen Caves in the central plains, and the Seokguram Caves in the Korean Peninsula. We will also consider the collecting, preserving and displaying of Buddhist grottoes in the contemporary world. Enrollment limited to 20. {A}{H}

Fall, Spring, Variable

BUS 120 The Study of Buddhism (1 Credit)

This course introduces students to the academic study of Buddhism through readings, lectures by Smith faculty and guests and trips to local Buddhist centers. Students critically examine the history of Buddhist studies within the context of numerous disciplines, including anthropology, art, cultural studies, gender studies, government, literature, philosophy and religion, with a focus on regional, sectarian and historical differences. Materials to be considered include poetry, painting, philosophy, political tracts and more. This course meets during the first half of the semester only. S/U only. {H}

Fall

BUS 261/ REL 261 Buddhism, Race and Justice (4 Credits)

Offered as REL 261 and BUS 261. What can Buddhist texts and practices teach about analyzing and responding to contemporary forms of injustice, such as oppression based on race, caste, class, gender and sexuality? And how might responding to these forms of injustice lead to a reformulation of Buddhism? Drawing on classical and contemporary texts, this course addresses Buddhist contributions to the analysis of injustice and the practice of making social change. Working collaboratively, students explore the ethics of attention; the body, identity and identity politics; the place of anger in response to injustice; the phenomenology of marginalization and liberation; and the practice of violence and non-violence.  (E) {L}{S}

Fall, Spring, Variable

FYS 114 Ordaining Women in America (4 Credits)

In the 1970s, many Christian, Jewish and Buddhist communities in America began ordaining women as ministers, rabbis, priests and teachers. This change in policy provided women long-denied vocational paths, necessitated new theological self-understandings and ritual forms, and served as a proxy for larger culture war divisions in America. While focused on the last fifty years, this course provides a wider historical narrative for these developments, from the bold revivalism of colonial-era women preachers to anti-racist activism by contemporary Zen senseis. As part of a class project, students will conduct interviews with ordained women and construct podcast episodes from these interviews. Limited to 16 first-years. (E) WI {H}{S}

Fall, Spring, Variable

FYS 117 The Bible and the American Public Square (4 Credits)

This course examines what the Bible (and to some extent the broader Jewish and Christian traditions) have to say about controversial issues that have divided Americans in the past (e.g., slavery) and present (e.g., abortion). The aim is to give students the skills to assess critically various arguments that invoke the Bible or religious tradition and authority, wherever they come from on the political spectrum. Students are introduced to the Bible and biblical scholarship, as well as learn about different understandings of biblical authority and views of applying the Bible to contemporary political and ethical debates. This course counts toward the Jewish studies and religion majors. Enrollment limited to 16 first-years. WI {H}{L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

FYS 153 The Muslim World in the Age of the Crusades: Encounters, Influences and Lasting Legacies (4 Credits)

This course explores the religious, political, social and cultural impacts of the Crusades on the Muslim World from 1095 CE until today. Special attention is given to the variety of Muslim reactions to the Crusades, including cross-cultural interactions and influences. It also considers the Crusades’ enduring legacy and effect on Islamic history and religious thought. Materials used include religious and historical texts, travelogues and biographies, films, novels, etc. The course concludes with an examination of how the exploitation of history by hate groups (such as White Supremacy and Islamic Jihadism) continues to shape political and social realities today. Enrollment limited to 16 first-years. WI {H}

Fall, Variable

JUD 125/ REL 125 The Jewish Tradition (4 Credits)

Offered as REL 125 and JUD 125. Who are the Jews? What is Judaism? How have Jews understood core ideas and texts, and put their values into practice, from biblical times until today? An interdisciplinary introduction to the dramatic story of Jewish civilization and its conversation with different cultures from religious, historical, political, philosophical, literary and cultural perspectives, organized around different themes. {H}{L}

Fall, Spring, Annually

JUD 214/ REL 214 Women in the Hebrew Bible (4 Credits)

This course focuses on the lives of women in ancient Israelite society through close readings of the Hebrew Bible. We look at detailed portraits of female characters as well as the role of many unnamed women in the text to consider the range and logic of biblical attitudes toward women, including reverence, disgust and sympathy. We also consider female deities in the ancient Near East, women in biblical law, sex in prophetic and Wisdom literature, and the female body as a source of metaphor. {H}

Fall, Spring, Variable

JUD 217 Motherhood in Early Judaism (4 Credits)

How did early Jewish communities imagine mothers, and what does this reveal about communal ideas of gender, family and identity in early Judaism? This course considers various manifestations of mothers in early Judaism through exploration of such literary sources as the Bible, rabbinic literature and the pseudepigrapha, as well as artifacts from material culture such as Aramaic incantation bowls, synagogue wall paintings and other archeological evidence. No prior knowledge of Judaism is expected (E). {A}{L}

Spring, Alternate Years

JUD 219 Midrash: The World of Rabbinic Interpretation (4 Credits)

This course explores the world of midrash, a genre of rabbinic biblical interpretation. In this course, students define the word midrash, speculate about the origins of midrash and learn about various midrashic genres and techniques. Students see how the creation of midrash allowed the rabbis to explore vital moral, theological and literary concerns in daring and imaginative ways. Ultimately, the study shows how the rabbis transformed their Bible, the TaNaKh, into a living document that had continued relevance in their own times and which continues to be relevant today. (E) {H}{L}

Spring, Alternate Years

JUD 227 Women and Gender in Jewish History (4 Credits)

Previously REL 227. An exploration of Jewish women’s changing social roles, religious stances and cultural expressions in a variety of historical settings from ancient to modern times. How did Jewish women negotiate religious tradition, gender and cultural norms to fashion lives for themselves as individuals and as family and community members in diverse societies? Readings from a wide range of historical, religious, theoretical and literary works in order to address examples drawn from Biblical and rabbinic Judaism, medieval Islamic and Christian lands, modern Europe, America and the Middle East. Students' final projects involve archival work in the Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History. {H}{S}

Fall, Spring, Variable

JUD 238 Sacred Space in Jewish Antiquity (4 Credits)

This course examines archaeological and textual evidence to explore how diverse Jewish groups in antiquity constructed sacred spaces, and ultimately Jewish identity, through art, architecture, and ritual. (E) {A}{H}

Fall, Variable

JUD 284 Colloquium: The Lost World of East European Jewry, 1750-1945 (4 Credits)

The modern history of the largest Jewish community in the world, from life under the Russian tsars until its extermination in World War II. Topics include Jewish political autonomy under the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth; the shifting effects on Jews in Russian, Soviet and Polish society of Partition, tsarist legislation, Revolution, Sovietization and the emergence of the modern nation-state; the folkways and domestic culture of Ashkenaz; competition between new forms of ecstatic religious expression and Jewish Enlightenment thought; the rise of mass politics (Zionism, Socialism, Diaspora Nationalism, Yiddishism) and the role of language (Yiddish, Hebrew, Russian, Polish) in the creation of secular Jewish identity; and the tension between memory and nostalgia in the aftermath of the Holocaust. Concludes with an analysis of the recently opened Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw. Enrollment limited to 18. {H}

Fall, Spring, Variable

MUS 249/ REL 249 Colloquium: Islamic Popular Music (4 Credits)

Offered as MUS 249 and REL 249. Music is a complex issue in many Islamic societies. There are tensions between those who believe that music has no place in Islam and try to prohibit it, those for whom it is a central component of mystical devotion, and those who tolerate it, albeit within well-defined parameters. The debate intensifies in the case of popular music, a core part of the self-identification of young people everywhere. Despite this, there is an amazing variety of vibrant popular music throughout the Islamic world. This course explores the religious debates over music and the rich musical tradition (including religious music) in Islam. Enrollment limited to 35. {A}{H}

Fall, Spring, Variable

PHI 108/ REL 108 The Meaning of Life (4 Credits)

Offered as REL 108 and PHI 108. This course asks the big question, "What is the Meaning of Life?" and explores a range of answers offered by philosophers and religious thinkers from a host of different traditions in different eras of human history. We explore a variety of forms of philosophical and religious thinking and consider the ways in which philosophical and religious thinking can be directly relevant to our own lives. {H}{L}

Fall, Spring, Annually

PSY 304/ REL 304 Seminar:Happiness: Buddhist and Psychological Understandings of Personal Well-Being (4 Credits)

Same as PSY 304. What is happiness? What is personal well-being? How are they achieved? This course examines the core ideas of the Buddhist science of mind and how they are being studied and employed by psychologists, neuroscientists, cognitive scientists and psychotherapists. The focus of the course is the notion of "happiness," its cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary definition as well as the techniques advocated for its achievement by both the Buddhist and the psychologist. Prerequisite: PSY 100, REL 105, one course in Buddhist traditions or permission of instructor. Enrollment limited to 15. Juniors and seniors only. Instructor permission required. {N}{S}

Fall, Spring, Variable

REL 140/ RES 140 Putin's Russia: After Communism, After Atheism (4 Credits)

Same as REL 140. Often portrayed as hostile to the West, Vladimir Putin and the Russia he rules remain little known. Going beyond the headlines, this course examines contemporary Russia, and historical events and figures that have shaped Putin-era Russia. We will trace the culture wars that have ensued in this post-communist and post-atheist state, across historical documents, art, film, literature, and journalism. Topics include state power and political opposition; the resurgence of religion, and tensions between religion and the secular in the public sphere; debates over the Soviet past, including revolution, war and political terror; human rights and "traditional values. {H}{L}{S}

Fall, Spring, Variable

REL 242/ RES 242 The Politics and Culture of Russian Sacred Art (4 Credits)

Offered as REL 242 and RES 242. As devotional objects, political symbols, and art commodities, Russia’s sacred art--the icon--has been revered as sacred, vilified as reactionary, embraced in rebellion, destroyed as dangerous, and sold as masterpieces. Engaging the fields of religion, material and visual culture, and ritual studies, this course examines the life and language of this art form, and its role in shaping Russia’s turbulent history. Topics include the production and reception of images; diverse meanings and functions of sacred imagery; visuality and spirituality; secularization and commodification; history, memory, and collective identities; the icon, avant-garde art, and film; controversial images and protest culture. No prerequisites. Open to first-year students. {A}{H}

Fall, Spring, Variable

Additional Programmatic Information

Majors in the Religion are encouraged to apply to the departmental honors program and pursue a significant research project of the student's own design. Students in the honors program develop, research, write and defend a thesis in close consultation with a faculty mentor. To apply to the honors program, a student must have a minimum GPA of 3.4 for courses in the major and a minimum GPA of 3.0 in overall coursework through the student's junior year. For more information, contact the director of honors.

Director: Vera Shevzov

430d Honors Project
8 credits
Full year course

Advanced students in Religion—normally senior majors who have had four semester courses above the introductory level—may arrange for special studies with faculty members. These courses can be for 2–4 credits, and for a semester or a year. Topics and logistics are worked out with the designated faculty member, and must be submitted to the department for approval.

REL 400 Special Studies
2–4 credits
Offered both semesters each year

REL 408d Special Studies
8 credits
Full year course

Faculty

Sari Fein

Jewish Studies

Visiting Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies

Jamie Hubbard

Religion

Professor of Religion and Yehan Numata Professor in Buddhist Studies; Jill Ker Conway Chair in Religion and East Asian Studies

Jamie Hubbard

Joel Kaminsky

Religion

Morningstar Professor of Jewish Studies and Professor of Religion

Joel Kaminsky

Andy Rotman

Religion

Sydenham Clark Parsons Professor and Professor of Religion, Buddhist Studies, and South Asian Studies

Andy Rotman

Vera Shevzov

Religion

Professor of Religion, Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies

shevzov_version_for_directory.jpg

Emeriti

Thomas S. Derr Jr.
Professor Emeritus of Religion and Biblical Literature

Lois Dubin
Professor Emerita of Religion

Research Affiliates

Philip Zaleski
Research Affiliate in Religion

Resources

Study Abroad

Adviser: Vera Shevzov 

The religion department takes a decidedly global approach to the study of religion, and hence we offer strong support to our students who wish to study abroad. Religion majors have studied on every continent in the world, in almost every imaginable environment, from Smith programs in Japan and India to independent learning projects in Africa, from yurts in Mongolia to the most prestigious universities in Europe.

In addition to Smith College programs, there are Smith-approved programs in virtually every part of the world, from Samoa to Europe, Asia, Russia, the Americas, and everywhere in between. Visit the Office for International Study for a complete listing of approved programs.

Most study abroad programs offer courses that will count toward the requirements for the religion major. Credit toward the major is also offered for relevant language courses. Students contemplating study abroad should consult with the departmental study abroad adviser to learn more about the requirements and transferring credits.

Wilson Rikert Student Grant

The Department of Religion offers grants from the Wilson Rikert endowed fund to support Smith College students in good academic standing who want to further their study of religion. Students from all disciplines are eligible to apply. This grant may be used to help fund a research trip, language study, or experiential activities that facilitate learning within the field of the study of religion. Grants are for no more than $500.  Use the following cover sheet to submit an application:

Clara Willoughby Davidson Alumnae Scholarship

Each year the Department of Religion has the option of awarding the Clara Willoughby Davidson Alumnae Scholarship to a Smith College senior or recent graduate who pursues an advanced degree in Biblical studies and/or philosophy of religion, or in a related field that involves coursework in one or both of these disciplines. Preference is given to applicants who have completed a substantial number of relevant courses while at Smith. Students considering an academic track, seminary, divinity school, or rabbinical school are encouraged to consult with the appropriate faculty in the department well in advance of their senior year.

Religion Department Prizes

A student competing for one or more of the Religion department prizes should complete the information and submit a paper using this form.  Papers must be received by noon on Tuesday, May 6, 2025. 

One need not be a religion major to submit a paper for a prize and students may submit more than once. Prizes are typically awarded to midsized and longer papers that reflect substantial research and innovative thinking.

Winners are notified by the Dean of the College in writing and are announced on Commencement weekend at Last Chapel and at Convocation in the fall.

James Gardner Buttrick Prize

The James Gardner Buttrick Prize may be awarded annually for the best essay written by a Smith undergraduate on a subject in the field of religious studies.

2024 Recipients
  • Rosemary Beck ’25, “The Ceilings of the Temple Shall Howl: The Ruin of Hagia Sophia in Greek Tradition, Lament, and Folklore”
  • Hebe Guo ’24, “Give Me Love or Give Me Death: How NOT to Talk to Someone in an Existential Crisis Because of Aragorn” 
  • Olive McFarland '24, “Holy Hieromartyr Jānis of Riga: Commemoration, Veneration, and Collected Memory”

Henry Lewis Foote Memorial Prize

The Henry Lewis Foote Memorial Prize may be awarded annually for the best essay written by a Smith undergraduate on a subject in the field of biblical studies. 

2024 Recipients
  • Lynn Kim ’25, “Job’s Search for Meaning”
  • Margaret Kirkpatrick ’26, “The Two Voices of Mrs. Job”

Jochanan H.A. Wijnhoven Prize

The Jochanan H.A. Wijnhoven Prize may be awarded annually for the best essay written by a Smith undergraduate for a course in the religion department or Jewish studies on a subject in Jewish religious thought.

2024 Recipient

  • Grayson Hawthorn ’24, “Blogs, Beauty and Brachas: Ultra-Orthodox Jewish Women on the Internet”

Current Newsletter

Get updates from our faculty, celebrate our graduates and alums, and learn about podcasts written and produced by students in recent religion courses.  

Religion Department Newsletter June 2023

 

Contact Department of Religion

Wright Hall 106
Smith College
Northampton, MA 01063

Phone: 413-585-3662 Email: pmckinnell@smith.edu

Administrative Assistant: Phoebe McKinnell