Welcome to Spring 2023!

Picture of a spring.
Photo by James Allen on Unsplash

Classes begin this week, and REL’s faculty are looking forward to seeing who’s there.

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The on-campus undergraduate courses in REL this semester include introductions to religious studies by Profs. Altman and Szanto. Other 100-level, introductory courses are being offered by Profs. Ramey, Loewen, and Kyselov. The 200-level courses have a variety of topical foci, with Prof. Jacobs teaching on Judaism, Prof. Newton on African Diaspora Religions, and Prof. Szanto on Islam. Prof. Jacobs also teaches a 300-level course on Jewish-Christian Relations, while Profs. Wieringa and Levine teach on REL in Communication and Social Bodies (respectively).The Capstone Senior Seminar is lead by Prof. Simmons, who will direct REL’s majors through the concept “identity,” especially the ways in which it gets featured and contested in work carried out in the academic study of religion.

If you enjoy watching films in the open-air balcony of President’s Hall, consider joining Prof. McCutcheon, who is taking REL to the Movies!


Some new students joined our graduate program, which our graduate students say is “Not Your Typical MA Program.” this Spring. REL is hosting several graduate courses this semester. Prof. Wieringa will be guiding students through Digital Methods in Religious Studies, where students do hands-on learning in the REL Digital Lab. Prof. Simmons leads grad students through another hands-on experience with REL580, which guides students through the academic research and writing process. Prof. Trost’s seminar on “identity and place” will draw on migration theory, diaspora studies, and postcolonial studies, we will give special emphasis to the Middle Passage and African diasporas, while Prof. McCutcheon’s capstone grad seminar discusses Representing Religion in Film (2022) to examine how scholars of religion may employ social theory to comment on social artifacts.

As always, there’s a lot more happening on the balconies of President’s Hall. The Religious Studies Student Association always have something going on. And don’t forget that the benches on REL’s balcony are perfect places to take 5 between classes.

See you soon!

Jackson Foster, REL Major

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