This past summer, the department received a beautiful sculpture called “Sanctuary,” donated by CU BFA 2017 graduate Matthew Vivirito. It’s on display in the Norlin Library, but it expresses well how I envision Religious Studies at CU. I see the Department of Religious Studies as a place on campus for students, staff, and faculty to wrestle with big questions about the meaning of life, the power of politics and the media to shape our understanding, and the way societies and individuals, past and present, invoke higher powers to explain the unexplainable. Our faculty do so from a variety of disciplines and a diversity of religious traditions, but what we all have in common is our quest for understanding. This year, the faculty and department are teaching students and hosting visitors--including our 2017 Lester Lecturer, Robert Orsi from Northwestern. In addition, our faculty are conducting research on everything from interreligious interaction in the medieval Mediterranean and contemporary Tibetan Buddhist women writers to an exploration of wonder at the intersection of medieval Hindu philosophy and modern neuroscience and a study of the relationship between Islamic law and society. I’m very proud to lead this department as we look forward to a great year of going deep in the context of our sanctuary.
Chair, Department of Religious Studies