DESR students are required to take three courses. Two of these comprise the core curriculum, and one is an elective selected from a list of courses offered by the DESR faculty.


STRELIG 200: Methods in the Study of Religion

Methods in the Study of Religion is an introduction to methodological best practices in the Study of Religion from the perspectives of different fields. It is made up of multiple modules that combine the study of primary sources with exemplary methodological approaches. These approaches include but are not limited to: anthropological theories of religion and society, historical genealogies of categories of religion and the secular, theology and Church history, sociological approaches to issues like religious organization and conflict, religion and science, religious literature and Biblical hermeneutics, as well as particular religious histories.

STRELIG 201: Histories of the Study of Religion

Histories of the Study of Religion is an introduction to the history and development of the field of “Religious Studies” as an intellectual space for the study of a sometimes historicized, sometimes naturalized phenomenon called “religion.” Since the narration of any history of the study of religion serves to circumscribe a particular set of phenomena as “religious,” this course does not isolate a canonical history of the field. Instead, it progresses in a roughly diachronic manner, through a number of thematic threads representing the development of different domains of the study of religion.


Additionally, students must complete one elective course from a list of pre-approved graduate courses on religion. In some instances, students may petition for other, relevant courses to be counted towards their elective requirement. If a course is offered for variable units, students must enroll at the maximum possible unit value. Potential elective courses will vary depending on faculty teaching plans in a given semester.


Religion, Race, and Secularism (ETHSTD 250)
Carolyn Chen
Thursdays, 9:30 am -12:30 pm, 554 Social Sciences Building (not 442 Stephens Hall)
Class #: 25982

What does religion have to do with race in the modern secular West? Despite classical social theory’s prediction of religion’s demise in modernity, religion continues to persist, and even to thrive especially among racial-ethnic minority groups in the West. Race and religion have undergirded some of the most notable modern social movements in the United States, such as Civil Rights, Black Power, United Farm Workers, the Sanctuary Movement, and even White Christian Nationalism. This graduate seminar examines the changing expressions of religion and race as they intersect with modernity, capitalism, and secularization. We will engage with theories of religion and secularization by authors such as Max Weber, Charles Taylor and Talal Asad, and put them into critical conversation with historical, and theological works of religion and race today.