Why Religious Studies?

Religions have been and remain among the most powerful forces shaping human history. Their discourses and practices inform the way we perceive ourselves, those around us, and existence at large, even when we are not actively religious. They are central to understanding both what divides us and unites us. The academic study of religion is a trans-disciplinary endeavor to understand from an objective perspective how religious traditions shape the lives of their adherents, without seeking to promote or disprove any specific belief system. Religious Studies acquaints students with the diversity of religious cultures and introduces them to key methods and theories employed in their examination as "religion."

Daniel B. Stevenson, Chair
William Lindsey, Graduate Director
Hamsa Stainton, Undergraduate Director


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Kansas water: Focus of KU's 2014 Mini Wheat State Tour About 55 KU unclassified employees hit the road May 30 for the seventh annual Mini Wheat State Whirlwind Tour (http://bit.ly/1o37iP5), taking a chartered bus to several eastern Kansas sites to focus on critical threats to one of the state's most vital natural resources: water. The KU Unclassified Senate (http://www.unclassifiedsenate.ku.edu ), and the Kansas Biological Survey (http://bit.ly/1meOCYt) sponsored the daylong tour. The first stop was to learn about the problems faced by communities dependent on water from the imperiled John Redmond Reservoir (http://1.usa.gov/1wxci2g). Built in 1968 in Coffey County near Burlington, the lake is nearly 45 percent filled with sediment. The staffers heard from scientists, including those from KU's Kansas Geological Survey (http://bit.ly/1lTa6zO), about solutions to meet the water needs of those who depend on the threatened federal reservoir. For lunch, the tour group traveled to Cottonwood Falls (http://bit.ly/1sENHdl), where they lunched at the Grand Grill in the downtown's historic Grand Central Hotel. They were also free to visit the area's attractions, including the Chase County Courthouse, and the Chase County Historical Museum. In the afternoon, the Mini Wheat State Tour went to the nearly 11,000-acre Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve (http://1.usa.gov/UJrdbS) in Chase County, where they saw one of the last remnants of tallgrass prairie in the United States. The tour returned to Lawrence via the Flint Hills National Scenic Byway (http://bit.ly/1jibu9F).