Welcome from the Chair

Welcome to the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder.  We invite you to explore our website to learn more about our programs, courses, events, and news.  As you will see, the Department is a hive of activity!

The 2011-2012 academic year was a wonderful success for us.  We have continued to attract first-rate students to our B.A. and M.A. programs, and we’ve been equally successful at placing students in top Ph.D. programs, including at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of California, Berkeley.  Now we are initiating development of our own Ph.D. program, so stay tuned!  Another exciting aspect of the year was hosting three visiting scholars.  Siddharth Singh visited for the year from Banaras Hindu University as a Fulbright Senior Research Fellow.  His year was spent researching contemporary Buddhism in Boulder and elsewhere in the U.S., with attention to the ways practitioners understand and engage in social action.  Theodore Vial of Iliff School of Theology guest taught for us during the spring semester, offering a very popular course on ritual theory.  Finally, David McMahan of Franklin & Marshall College visited in the capacity of a FIRST (Faculty in Residence for the Summer Term) Scholar.  Professor McMahan met with a number of our M.A. and B.A. students studying Buddhism and taught a timely and well-received course entitled Buddhism in North America.  The year was also notable for the many stimulating events we hosted, including a series of lectures by candidates for our Judaism position and a lecture on religion and borderlands by Elaine Padilla (New York Theological Seminary).  Brian Catlos worked with colleagues across the University, at the University of California, and internationally to sponsor a number of events through the Mediterranean Studies Group, including lectures by Peter Brown and Gerard Wiegers.  The Department co-sponsored a range of events with the Center for Asian Studies, Jewish Studies, the Department of English, the Center for Media, Religion, and Culture, and other entities across campus.  In addition to organizing events and innovative teaching, our faculty continues its tradition of strong primary research and publication.  Please take a look at our news page to see what we have accomplished lately. 

2012-2013 promises to be another productive and engaging year.  We are delighted to welcome a new colleague to the Department, Assistant Professor Elias Sacks.  Professor Sacks completed his Ph.D. at Princeton University this past summer and has hit the ground running this fall, offering a lecture course on Judaism and a seminar on Love & Desire.  Professor Sacks is working closely with Jewish Studies, a connection we are eager to support.  The Department is also pleased to welcome Lucas Carmichael, who is teaching here while writing his dissertation for the University of Chicago Divinity School.  This fall he is teaching Religion and Contemporary Society and in the spring he will be offering Religion and Literature: The Beat Poets.  In terms of events, please stay abreast of our news & events page, as a number of lectures and symposia are currently being planned for the year.  Two events are coming soon.  On Tuesday, September 25, the Department will host an event on Mormonism, Race, and the Presidency (6:00 p.m., Eaton Humanities 250).  On Thursday, October 4, the annual Lester Lecture will be delivered by Manuel Vasquez, Chair of the Department of Religion at the University of Florida.  His lecture is entitled “The Materialist Turn in Religious Studies: Promises, Challenges, and Pitfalls” (6:30 p.m., Hale 230).


Greg Johnson
Chair, Department of Religious Studies (2009-2013)