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Who We Are

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The Department of Religious Studies is the principal hub and focal point at Stanford University for the academic study of religion, that is, the study both of religion in general as a human phenomenon and of specific religious traditions, from a scholarly and critical standpoint, using the tools and methods of various disciplines in the humanities and social sciences.

 
By developing and maintaining a coordinated program of undergraduate and graduate courses broadly representative of the major areas, themes, and methods of Religious Studies, we seek to afford all Stanford students the means to enhance their knowledge and appreciation of religion as an important aspect of the human experience and of the world’s cultural diversity, with a view to enriching their education and equipping them for global citizenship.
 
To fulfil these aims we are committed to being an open and inclusive department. We are working to increase the diversity and inclusivity of our course offerings, as well as of our community of faculty, staff and students.  Through our curriculum and pedagogy, as well as through our extra-curricular departmental activities, we will continually strive to seek ways to realize our commitment to making the academy a more just and reflective place, particularly for people who have been historically marginalized and systemically excluded.
 
In addition, our goal is to contribute to the public understanding of religion and its role in human affairs, by working, in collaboration with other Stanford departments and affiliated centers dedicated to the study of particular religious traditions, to stage lectures, symposia, and other events directed towards the wider community.
 
We embrace these objectives in the conviction that religion is not simply a fact of life, a product of history, or a force in the contemporary world to be known and understood, but is also something that by its very nature prompts critical reflection on knowledge itself, and on what it means to be human.