University of Pittsburgh
three small photographs depicting various religious icons

Department of Religious Studies


Thematic Subfields

The graduate program in Religious Studies at Pitt is organized around three thematic subfields shared by most of the faculty: Religion, Ethnicity, and Culture; Religion and Modernity; and Text in Context.

Religion, Ethnicity, and Culture

This thematic subfield treats the role of religion in the creation, continuance and transformation of social, cultural, and political hierarchical systems. It includes such areas as ethnic and minority subcultures among non-dominant religious cultures, social, cultural, and political identities and communalities, points of contention and differences, religion and the state, and religion and the production of literature, the arts, and other cultural forms.

Nikko Grand Spring Festival, Japan
Religion and Modernity

This subfield considers the impact of modernization on traditional cultures. Included under this rubric are religion and politics, nationalism, transnational and globalization, race, class and gender, religious violence and secretive societies, religion in Diaspora, popular religion and ritual studies, public and civil religion, and new technologies.

Text in Context

This subfield emphasizes interpretative strategies involved in philosophical, practical, institutional, social, and intellectual history. Here the history of ideas and practices are tied to the means of their transmission, and “text” is understood to include ideologies and concepts, visual, print and other objects, languages and literatures, and other semiotic forms. Included under this rubric are historiography, historical-ethnography, hagiography and mythology, print culture, rhetoric, and other philosophic, literary, and social scientific interpretative approaches to the academic study of religion.

Revised 04/22/10 | Copyright 2007 | Site by UMC WebTeam