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Explore Religious Studies at OU

Welcome to the Department of Religious Studies!

The academic study of religion is a vibrant and vital part of OU’s liberal arts curriculum. It is in this discipline that we attend to the ways humans all over the world think about questions of life and death; engage in processes of making meaning, manifesting joy, and of grieving; and create and respond to cultures and institutions of power to dominate others or to pursue justice and gain freedom. Students emerge from our major with a strong foundation in deeply culturally-grounded critical thinking, an ability to interrogate and critique forms of power, and a nuanced understanding of the human condition. Our majors and minors have gone on to pursue careers in a wide variety of fields and professions including especially law, medicine, nonprofit work, and education. No matter what their line of work, our alumni are prepared to honor difference, embrace complexity, and lead with integrity. 

It is very important to all of us in Religious Studies to see students develop intellectually, find and follow their intellectual and academic interests, and develop their personal and career aspirations during their undergraduate years.  We are a warm and welcoming community of scholars and mentors with a commitment to education as well as to the success of the students who pass through our courses and our doors on the way to becoming educated and critically-thinking citizenry, whatever their career choices.  Our commitment to your education is directly linked to our hopes and aspirations for the quality of your life, including the quality of your intellectual life after you leave OU and for years beyond.

We take great pride in our graduation rates; we have no attrition and we invest in the success of our students at several levels.  What that means is simply that you're not a statistic.  We are interested in far more than checking you off a list or clicking on an online box once you've graduated.  We measure success by a host of factors beyond the achievement of a diploma.

Please explore this website to learn more about the Department of Religious Studies at OU. Our faculty offer courses in a variety of specializations leading to a BA degree, and we offer an inviting, welcoming, and rigorous scholarly community.  Welcome!

Make Your Mark on the World with a Religious Studies Degree!

Students in Assistant Professor Goble's class.

Religious Studies majors and minors:  Access more information on degree requirements, scholarships, study abroad, available courses and more on our Religious Studies Student Resources page.

Thursday, Nov. 10, 4:30 p.m.

New Horizons Lecture, Alan Levenson

"Is Jewish Secularism a Possibility? Maurice Samuel: Life and Letters of a Secular Jewish Contrarian"

The Department of Religious Studies invites you to a New Horizons lecture titled *Is Jewish Secularism a Possibility? Maurice Samuel: Life and Letters of a Secular Jewish Contrarian* by Alan Levenson on his most recent publication. Please join us!  Heritage Room, Oklahoma Memorial Union 4:30 - 5;30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 10 Snacks will be provided.

The Department of Religious Studies invites you to a New Horizons lecture titled *Is Jewish Secularism a Possibility? Maurice Samuel: Life and Letters of a Secular Jewish Contrarian* by Alan Levenson on his most recent publication. Please join us! Heritage Room, Oklahoma Memorial Union 4:30 - 5;30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 10 Snacks will be provided.

Alan Levenson New Horizons Lecture Nov. 10

RELS Student Pizza Lunches

RELS students & RELS-curious students!  Join us for lunch every second Friday of the month throughout the fall semester! Sept. 9, Oct. 14, Nov. 11; Robertson Hall RELS conference room

RELS students & RELS-curious students!  Join us for lunch every second Friday of the month throughout the fall semester!

New Horizons Lecture, David Vishanoff

Prof. Vishanoff leads his New Horizons lecture

Thank you to Prof. Vishanoff for sharing his work in his thoughtful New Horizons lecture yesterday, "More Like a Tree or a Buidling? How to Think about Islamic Law," and to all of those who attended. The lecture was followed by an engaging discussion and we appreciate everyone who attended.

RELS Students Attend Diwali Festivities

Prof. Moodie and students attend Diwali

The OU Department of Religious Studies is grateful to the Hindu Temple of Oklahoma for hosting our students at their Diwali festivities last night. Here, Prof. Moodie is pictured with just a few of those in attendance.

Kristin Kobes Du Mez Public Lecture and Panel Discussion

"Jesus and John Wayne and the Evangelical Reckoning"

Thank you, Kristin Kobes Du Mez and our panelists Jill Hicks-Keeton, James Howard Hill, Jr., and Sam Perry for an engaging lecture and discussion.

Welcome Back, RELS!

RELS community mingling at open house

Thank you to everyone who attended our Religious Studies Welcome Back Open House on Friday afternoon. It was great to see you all! Here's to an amazing academic year! 😀

Publication Announcement: *Does Scripture Speak for Itself? The Museum of the Bible and the Politics of Interpretation,* by Jill Hicks-Keeton and Cavan Concannon

Book Cover for Does Scripture Speak for Itself by Jill Hicks-Keeton and Cavan Concannon

Please join us in congratulating Associate Professor Jill Hicks-Keeton for her new book, *Does Scripture Speak for Itself?*, co-authored with Cavan Concannon.

Professor Leigh Eric Schmidt is calling it a "tour de force both for biblical studies and American religious history."

Congratulations Prof. Hicks-Keeton!

Learn more about the book here.

Wendy Mallette Joins RELS Faculty

Headshot of Wendy Mallette

The Department of Religious Studies is excited to welcome Wendy Mallette to our religious studies faculty this fall. Mallette comes to us from Yale University, where she earned her Ph.D. in Religious Studies as well as a graduate certificate in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies. Mallette also has a master of arts in religion degree from Yale Divinity School and a bachelor of arts degree from Valparaiso University.  She is currently working on a book manuscript that draws on the archives of lesbian feminist public cultures of the 1960s through the 1980s to intervene in conversations in queer studies and religious studies. Mallette mentored students at Yale, and she is eager to work with our students. She will diversify our course offerings and help us forge connections with units across campus. Come introduce yourself at our Fall Welcome Back Week Open House.  Welcome to the department, Wendy Mallette!

RELS Fall 2022 Newsletter

RELS Fall 2022 Front Page

Read all about RELS: where we've been, what's happening, and what's to come in 2022-23!

RELS Fall 2022 Newsletter

Publication Announcement: *Islamic Legal Theory: A Critical Introduction,* by David Vishanoff, Ph.D.

The Crossroads Project: Black Religious Histories, Communities, and Cultures

The Department of Religious Studies is pleased to announce the publication of *Islamic Legal Theory: A Critical Introduction," by Associate Professor David Vishanoff. Along with a critical edition and English translation of a classic handbook of Islamic legal theory, it offers a novel commentary that highlights the significance of medieval debates for the contemporary concerns of both students and specialists. You can find out more and pre-order print copies here.

 

Congratulations, Prof. Vishanoff!

 

Some reviews include:

"In this brilliant, innovative, and engaging book, Vishanoff guides readers through some of the most fundamental questions Muslims have debated, and struggled with, for centuries. Most Muslim scholars' books on these topics are dense and difficult. But here Vishanoff takes one such book—al-Juwaynī’s classic Waraqat—and explains, with lucidity and precision, its complex and obscure arguments. Through this book, readers will reach a better understanding of why such debates mattered to Muslims in the past, why they matter now, and how they affect the ways in which the Sharia—God’s law—might be understood in the future."

—Robert Gleave, University of Exeter

 

"A gem! David Vishanoff ’s translation of, and commentary on, al-Juwaynī’s short treatise on legal theory is cleverly conceptualized, clearly organized, and lucidly presented. It will engage and instruct those new to the study of Islamic law while inviting specialists to appreciate, reflect on, and perhaps question its comparative and interpretive choices. Highly recommended."

—Kecia Ali, Boston University

OU Department of Religious Studies on Social Media

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Twitter: @OUReligStudies

YouTube: OU Religious Studies

The Religious Studies Department at the University of Oklahoma stands against all forms of bigotry and hatred. In this moment, we are united in our commitments to anti-racism in solidarity with the Black communities in our nation and especially our Black students. As a faculty who study religious diversity and who embody difference, we deploy our intellectual training to challenge bias, discrimination, and hate. Our hearts go out to the families of those whose lives have been taken, and we pledge to link arms with those challenging injustice.

 

Long before the University of Oklahoma was established, the land on which the University now resides was the traditional home of the “Hasinais” Caddo Nation and “Kirikirʔi:s” Wichita & Affiliated Tribes.

We acknowledge this territory once also served as a hunting ground, trade exchange point, and migration route for the Apache, Comanche, Kiowa and Osage nations.

Today, 39 tribal nations dwell in the state of Oklahoma as a result of settler and colonial policies that were designed to assimilate Native people.

The University of Oklahoma recognizes the historical connection our university has with its indigenous community. We acknowledge, honor and respect the diverse Indigenous peoples connected to this land. We fully recognize, support and advocate for the sovereign rights of all of Oklahoma’s 39 tribal nations. This acknowledgement is aligned with our university’s core value of creating a diverse and inclusive community. It is an institutional responsibility to recognize and acknowledge the people, culture and history that make up our entire OU Community.