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Research will be a crucial part of your work. Hamilton religious studies majors have, for instance, studied religious spaces in transition in a nearby city and the religious lives of local refugees. Through your coursework you will develop an understanding of religion as a powerful element of culture and human experience, not just as social institution or dogma.

About the Major

Students will choose from an array of options within the interdisciplinary program. Majors will do work in fields such as philosophy, anthropology, sociology, history and more. Religious studies at Hamilton emphasizes personal and social identity, text and narrative, historical encounters among traditions, and existential and theological dimensions of cultures. Courses span a large range of religious traditions.

I would be remiss not to mention the fantastic writing training that I received as a religious studies major. Professors Seager, Williams and Ravven were instrumental in helping me shape my own voice and write with confidence.

Billy Ford ’10 — Religious studies major

Students explore critical, diverse perspectives on many of the world's religious traditions. They may study the Bible, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Eastern religions and Native American traditions – and the many cultural, social and artistic means by which religion is expressed and represented.

Careers After Hamilton

  • Financial Advisor, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management
  • Brand Coordinator, Legendary Entertainment
  • Upper School Dean of Students, American School of Madrid
  • Rabbinical Student, Hebrew Union College
  • Director of Development, The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia
  • Gerontologist, Gateway Adult Center
  • Director of Youth & Education Justice, Children’s Defense Fund-NY
  • Clinical Social Worker, Morris Foundation

Contact Information


Religious Studies Department

198 College Hill Road
Clinton, NY 13323

Meet Our Faculty

A Sampling of Courses

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Religious Diversity in the USA 120S


Religious diversity has been noted in big cities like New York and Los Angeles. But smaller cities like Utica have also diversified, seeing unprecedented population shifts in recent years. This course will take advantage of our proximity to Utica, and explore the mosques, temples, synagogues, and churches that exist there today, as well as explore the rich religious history of Central New York, including the Great Awakenings, Utopian communities, and recent immigration patterns. Writing-intensive.

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Native American Spiritualities 129FS


In order to develop a broad understanding of the religious lives of Native Americans, we explore diverse practices and worldviews. We begin with an examination of how Native American worldviews are unique and differ from modern-Western worldviews. With this grounding, we delve into explorations of the multifaceted history of Native American traditions including the Ghost Dance, the Sun Dance, religious freedom issues pertaining to the use of peyote, struggles over sacred places, and complex native engagements with Christianity. Writing-intensive. Oral Presentations.

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World Films, World Faiths 145F


Introduces the practices and beliefs of several major world religions (including Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism) through the medium of film. Exploring Japanese anime, Indonesia documentaries, video films from Ghana, Bollywood mythologicals, Jesus-films from Latin America, Korean-Buddhist films, contemporary fictional glimpses into Jewish life, and more, shows how religious people live and struggle and find joy, by using the audio-visual medium of film.

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The Education of Desire 204F


A close reading of Spinoza's masterpiece, The Ethics, with a view to understanding its contemporary implications in the light of the new brain sciences. Writing-intensive. Oral Presentations.

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Islam and Modernity in South Asia 256F


This course develops a nuanced understanding of Islam and its role in shaping socio-religious and political landscape of modern and pre-modern South Asia. Questioning misconceptions of Islam, it examines its mideast origins, Qur'an, theology, law, religious practices, Shi'i and Sufi traditions, expansion in South Asia, colonialism, and modernity. Readings include secondary, literary, architectural and archaeological sources.

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Raging Gods: Scorsese and Coppola’s Religious Films 321F


The religious in the films of Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola. As American New Wave auteurs they contribute to the emergence of a new sacramental style in American film. We pay attention to the film traditions that inform their development, e.g. Italian neo-realism, horror, film noir and French New Wave. A look at the influence of their Roman-Catholic, Italian-American religious culture.

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