The study of religion at Marlboro College is viewed as an inherently interdisciplinary endeavor. The students are therefore encouraged to take courses in all the fields of study offered at Marlboro. While a text-based study of the Bible, for example, might utilize tools of literary and historical criticism, the study of religious rites and ritual will greatly benefit from the insights provided by theories of performance generated in the dramatic arts. The investigation of religious worldviews as coherent systems would benefit from a background in logic and mathematics, while courses in sociology will enable the student to understand the role religious ideas play in ordering and structuring societies.

Introductory and intermediate religious studies courses offered at Marlboro, through the use of historical, sociological, ethnographical, theological and philosophical materials, are designed to clarify the interdisciplinary nature of religious studies. Advanced courses in religious studies are designed to foster a deeper engagement with the subject matter by focusing on a specific theme, such as mystical theology, or a particular religious figure, such as Jalaluddin Rumi.

My own research areas include Qur’anic studies, Sufism and Islamic philosophy. Marlboro’s religion program is particularly strong in Islamic studies and supports textual study for students with advanced language proficiency in Arabic, Persian, Urdu and Punjabi.

Areas of Interest for Plan-level Work:

  • Comparative study of religions
  • Literary theory
  • Hermeneutics
  • Function of myth and imagination in the construction of identity
  • The relationship between cosmology and spiritual psychology
  • Spiritual pedagogy
  • Intersection of religious law and ethics
  • Performative aspects of religious texts
  • Translation studies

Good Foundation for Plan

For students wishing to make religion a part of their final Plans, Sources and Methods in the Study of Religion is a required course. This course, taken in the junior year, provides students an opportunity to critically reflect on the various approaches modern scholars have taken in studying religious phenomena. In addition, it also prepares students for the final Plan through introduction to available sources and the practice of research methods. This course provides students with the necessary resources to propose tutorials and to chart a course of study for their final semesters on Plan. In addition, all students completing a Plan in religion are required to participate in a Plan writing seminar throughout their senior year.

Sample Tutorial Topics

  • Place of Suffering in Christian Thought & Practice
  • Theosophy: Modern Western Mysticism
  • Islam and the Sufi Music Tradition
  • Mourning the Loss of God
  • Narrative Structure in the Mahabharata
  • Pilgrimage and the Religious Journey
  • Reading the Mystics
  • God, Gender, and Evangelical Christians
  • Life-Changing Events and Spirituality
  • Mystical Theology
  • Qur’anic and Classical Arabic
  • Understanding Christianity in the USA
  • Writing Feminist Theology
  • Traumatic Combat, Madness and the Soul
  • Women in Islam

Detours

(a mostly random selection of Marlboro microdestinations)