The St. Louis region is home to a diverse array of global religious communities. This course directly introduces students to some of that diversity by revolving around field trips to living institutions and meetings with religious leaders across traditions. In any given semester, our visits may include organizations that identify as Catholic, Pentecostal, evangelical, Jewish (Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, or Reconstructionist), Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Vedantist, Scientological, progressive Baptist, or secular humanist, among others. We will also visit the International Institute of St. Louis and study the politics of immigration and refugee resettlement that have helped shape the city and its religious as well as political multiplicity. Through our visits and conversation, the variety within each religious community will also become apparent, as we encounter adherents across the political spectrum, embodying different ethnicities, and committed to different degrees of “orthodoxy” or traditional belief and practice. Students should emerge from the course with a fresh sense of the cultural and religious vitality of the St. Louis metropolitan area, illustrative of the United States as a whole. *All required site visits will take place during the regular class time.
This was maybe my favorite class that I have taken during my time at WashU. I learned SO much about the religious mosaic in St. Louis, about the city, and about different faith practices.
— Spring 2020
This is an amazing class. I loved being exposed to the multiple religions in the St. Louis area, and it has altered the way I think of and approach religion for the better.
— Spring 2020