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An open approach to religion and its shaping of institutional order and individual behavior.

Religion influences culture, political power, economics and class structures; it shapes worldviews, institutions and individuals’ thoughts on and behaviors toward gender, marriage and war. Consequently, the study of religion is basic to the liberal arts and prepares students for better understanding dynamic forces that will affect them and their surroundings throughout their lives.

Career and awards


Law, Business, Medicine, Museum work, Clinical psychology, Education, Ministry


Fulbright English teaching assistant in Morocco, Fulbright English teaching assistant in Malaysia, Fulbright English teaching assistant in Taiwan



Maya Cotton ’18 was a Bonner scholar who majored in religious studies and minored in French and peace and conflict studies. She won a Fulbright award to teach English in Morocco after graduation. During her time at DePauw, Maya won the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship and was inducted in to Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society and Theta Alpha Kappa Religious Studies Honor Society.

Maya studied abroad in spring 2017 at the Institute for Field Education in Strasbourg, France, and in fall 2017 at Mahidol University International College in Salaya, Thailand. She also interned in adult education in Greencastle; at Centre Social et Culturel du Neuhof in Strasbourg; and at Exodus Refugee Immigration, a social service agency in Indianapolis.

Graduate & Sample courses


Introduction to Religions, New Testament, Buddhism, Death of God, Modern Hinduism, Liberation Theology, Biblical Literature, Religion in American Culture


Emory University, Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, Indiana University, New York University, University of California, Vanderbilt University


Jason D. Fuller, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania. Interests in modern Hinduism, the Hare Krishna movement and cults. Is a historian of religions who lived in India for years and conducted fieldwork and archival research in Kolkata, capital of the state of West Bengal, India. Won United Methodist Exemplary Teaching Award in 2016-17 and awarded the Johnson Family university professor of religious studies, 2018-22.

Justin M. Glessner, Ph.D., University of British Columbia. Interests in biblical studies; gender and sexuality; and ecology. Most enjoys teaching the history of Satan. Author of “The Making(s) of an Average Joe: Gender, the Everyday, and the Reception of Joseph of Nazareth in Early Christian Discourse,” to be published in 2019.

Leslie R. James, Ph.D., St. Louis University. Interests in black Atlantic religions and Christianity. Author of “Toward an Ecumenical Liberation Theology: A Critical Exploration of Common Dimensions in the Theologies of Juan L. Segundo and Rubem A. Alves” and 12 articles for “The Dictionary of Caribbean and Afro-Latin American Biography.” Awarded Old Gold Globes Exceptional Faculty Award in 2017.

Jeffrey T. Kenney, Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara. Interests in religion and politics in the Muslim world; ways religion interacts with secularization; radical religious groups in the Middle East; and the Islamic State. Author of books about militant Islamism in Egypt and religion-state relations in Egypt. Is writing a book about comparative religion in Malaysia after conducting research there with support from a Fulbright award.

Sujung Kim, Ph.D., Columbia University. Interests in esoteric Buddhism in medieval Japan; interactions between Japanese and Korean Buddhism; and Buddhist mythology. Member of the Korean Religions Group Steering Committee of the American Academy of Religion. Author of “Shinra Myōjin and Buddhist Networks of the East Asian ‘Mediterranean,’” set to be published in November 2019.

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