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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.

Welcome Back, Religious Studies!  Welcome Week Open House; All interested students, alumni, faculty, & staff are welcome!  Friday, Aug. 26, 3 - 4:30 p.m.; First floor of Reobertson Hall; Snacks will be provided.

The Department of Religious Studies is excited to welcome back our students, faculty, and staff to campus for the new academic year!  We would like to invite you as well as interested students and alumni to our RELS Welcome Back Open House on Friday, August 26 from 3 - 4:30 p.m. in our offices on the first floor of Robertson Hall.  Snacks will be provided.

Kristin Kobes Du Mez, Ph.D., Public Lecture and Panel Discussion; Jesus and John Wayne and the Evangelical Reckoning; Sept. 8, 2022; 5:30 - 7 p.m.; with panelists Jill Hicks-Keeton, Ph.D., James Howard Hill, Jr., Ph.D., and Sam Perry, Ph.D.; Meacham Auditorium, Oklahoma Memorial Union; The event is co-sponsored by Department of Sociology, the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication, the Honors College, the Arts and Humanities Forum, the Department of History, and the Department of Women's and Gender Studies at the University of Oklahoma.

The Department of Religious Studies at the University of Oklahoma presents a public lecture and panel discussion featuring Kristin Kobes Du Mez, Ph.D. titled "Jesus and John Wayne and the Evangelical Reckoning" in Meacham Auditorium at Oklahoma Memorial Union at the University of Oklahoma on Thursday, September 8, 2022 from 5:30 - 7 PM.  Panelists include Sam Perry, Ph.D., Jill Hicks-Keeton, Ph.D., and James Howard Hill, Jr., Ph.D.  The event is co-sponsored by Department of Sociology, the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication, the Honors College, the Arts and Humanities Forum, the Department of History, and the Department of Women's and Gender Studies at the University of Oklahoma.

2022 RELS Graduates

Congratulations to our graduating Class of 2022! We are incredibly proud of your accomplishments. You are what makes us great! 👩‍🎓🧑‍🎓👨‍🎓🅾️🙌🎉 

For more on our recent events, please visit our Recent Events page.

Congratulations, 2022 Scholarship Recipients!

2022 RELS Scholarship Recipients

Congratulations to our 2022 RELS Scholarship Recipients!

2022 End of Year Celebration

2022 RELS End of Year Celebration

RELS had an amazing time together celebrating the accomplishments of our students and our department at our End of Year Celebration.  Thank you to all of those who attended.  We love to see you!

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, Dr. 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

Follow us on your favorite social media platforms here:

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Instagram: oureligiousstudies

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.