undergraduate

Courses

Coursework in Religion and Politics provides a foundation and structure for students to engage in critical reflection, research and scholarship, and in-depth analytic writing. Individual courses cover a wide spectrum of topics related to the intersection of American religion and politics both historically and in the present; these topics range from economics and politics in the British colonies to enduring and contemporary issues such as nationalism and globalization; crime, punishment, and incarceration; and conflicts over gender, race, and religious freedom, to name but a few.

Recent course titles include Religion and American Society; Vulnerability and Violence in Religion and Politics; Gender and Power in Religious Thought; The FBI and Religion; Zionism; Native American Religions and Politics; Religion and the Origins of Capitalism; Puritans and Revolutionaries: Religion and the Making of America; African American Religions; Law, Religion, and Politics; Religious Freedom in America; American Unbelief from the Enlightenment to the New Atheism; Jewish Political Thought; Mormonism and the American Experience; History of U.S. Foreign Relations Since 1920; Black-Jewish Relations in the United States; and Religions of St. Louis: Communities of Faith and Practical Action Across the Region.

All faculty members in the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics are committed to undergraduate teaching and mentoring and very much enjoy getting to know the students in their courses.

If your major requires a senior thesis, faculty in the Center on Religion and Politics can be invited to advise your research, analysis, and writing. Please be attentive to the timeline required for your thesis and allow ample time to discuss and schedule advisement with religion and politics faculty..

The Minor

A minor in religion and politics provides an opportunity for exploring in sustained ways how religion and politics have intersected in American culture, both in historical and contemporary terms. As part of the program, students may examine any number of issues, including church-state relations, religion’s role in shaping gender and sexuality debates, religion and electoral politics, public conflicts over the nexus of religion and science, and religion’s entwining with reform movements (from abolition to environmentalism).

The religion and politics minor is an interdisciplinary program that combines resources from the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics with relevant offerings from other academic programs, including Religious Studies, Political Science, History, American Culture Studies, African American Studies, English, and Women and Gender Studies. Designed to complement and contribute to students’ major fields of study, the minor also aims to augment the undergraduate education of those considering postgraduate professional programs in public policy, education, law, medicine, or social work.

You may declare your Religion and Politics minor by logging into WebSTAC and following the instructions, and then meeting with the Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Center on Religion and Politics.

Requirements (Updated Spring, 2019)

A minor in religion and politics provides an opportunity for sustained exploration of the ways in which religion and politics have intersected in American culture, in both historical and contemporary terms.

As part of the program, students may examine any number of issues, including church-state relations, religion’s role in shaping debates that have driven the American culture wars, religion and electoral politics, public conflicts over the nexus of religion and science, and religion’s entwining with reform movements such as abolition, women’s and LGBTQ rights, environmentalism, and much more. Designed to complement and contribute to students’ major fields of study, the minor also aims to augment the undergraduate education of those considering postgraduate professional programs in public policy, education, law, medicine, or social work.

Students with a declared minor in Religion and Politics are mentored by individual faculty members; the member currently serving as Director of Undergraduate Studies (a rotating role) will be the students’ minor advisor. Minors are invited to the Center’s colloquium series and to special engagements with guests and visiting scholars throughout the academic year.

You may declare your Religion and Politics minor by logging into WebSTAC and following the instructions, and then meeting with the Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Center on Religion and Politics.

  • Requirements (updated Spring 2019)
    15 Units of coursework, including:
    –  L57 RelPol 201: Religion and American Society (3 units) OR
    –  L57 RelPol 210: The Good Life between Religion and Politics (3 units) OR
    –  L57 RelPol 225: Religion and Politics in American History (3 Units)

    This requirement should be completed prior to the second semester of the junior year.

  • 12 additional units, nine of which must be 300 or 400 level, and nine of which, at any level, must be taught by Center faculty.
  • Attendance at five events sponsored by the Center on Religion and Politics (lectures, colloquia, lunch discussions, film screenings).  You must inform the Director of Undergraduate Studies of the event you attended so this can be recorded for your record.

For more information, please contact Professor Marie Griffith at (314) 935-9345.

Travel and Research Support

Limited funding is available to Washington University undergraduate and graduate students for travel to academic conferences and research archives. For more information, please see here.