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Religious studies faculty Jim Thrall leads a discussion on world religions in the Round Room of Ford Center for the Fine Arts.

Religious Studies

Contact Us

James Thrall

Knight Distinguished Associate Professor for the Study of Religion & Culture

2 East South Street

Galesburg, IL 61401

309-341-7912

jthrall@​knox.edu

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Ford Center for the Fine Arts

Minor

How We Work

  1. We believe that everyone plays a role. That's why our students are so diverse: atheists, agnostics, and followers of all faiths work side-by-side to study the religious traditions of the world. We know that spiritual beliefs and sensibilities inform the aspirations and motivations of people in every society. By seeking to understand these realities in a scholarly manner, our students develop a better understanding of their world. 
  2. Our campus life informs our studies. Students from all over the world practice their traditions and faiths through a host of organizations and the Office of Spiritual Life. With so many first-hand teachers in our own community, Knox students are exposted to a plethora of cultural and spiritual information. Lectures and discussions seamlessly meld into student-led forums and celebrations, keeping the dialogue going long after the class ends. 
  3. We nurture curiosity and collaboration. Becoming a liberal arts student means learning to see through multiple lenses. That's why our faculty aren't afraid to get creative: Professor of Biology Judith Thorn's course on Life examines teachings of Western traditions around life events such as birth, death, and marriage, and compares them with our evolving scientific understanding. Religious studies students hone their ability to analyze social and historical contexts, and many carry this into their graduate studies in a variety of disciplines. 
  4. We strive to learn at the highest level. Our professors encourage students to challenge themselves as they seek to understand religious practice as a lived experience. That's why Introduction to Religious Studies assignments include a field report on a worshiping congregation: students are taught to apply a critical sociological lens to their first-hand observations of a religious community. But it doesn't stop there—students may present their original papers at academic forums, as Melissa Smith ‘18 and Anya Wang ‘17 did at the Midwest American Academy of Religion conference.
  5. Our grads find success. Jacob Scholl ‘09 is pursuing a Master of History at Colorado State University. Robert Kurtz ‘05 is involved with Student Ministry at InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. Michael Owens ‘74 is an Emergency Room Physician at Mercy Hospital.

26%

Religious Studies Alumni Working in Related Field

Given the importance of religion to understanding the modern world we live in, taking courses or pursuing a minor in religious studies can be an excellent complement for any major. Students completing a minor will learn to:

  • Analyze the role of religion in human societies of both ancient and modern worlds,
  • Trace the historical development of religious traditions, texts, practices, and beliefs,
  • Explain key similarities and differences in a variety of religious traditions,
  • Engage respectfully and critically with the religious backgrounds and assumptions of others as well as their own, and
  • Apply key terms and concepts common to the academic study of religion.

The Program

Requirements for the minor in religious studies include five credits in courses ranging from Introduction to Religious Studies to advanced. 

Resources

Seymour Library and Special Collections & Archives offer contemporary and historical resources for students in religious studies. A number of special college funds support student and faculty research and travel, guest speakers, and other programs.

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https://www.knox.edu/academics/majors-and-minors/religious-studies

Printed on Wednesday, June 29, 2022