Religion and the Human Sciences

The Committee on Religion and the Human Sciences engages in the humanistic study of religious traditions and phenomena, and studies literature and society in relation to religion. 


Wendy Doniger, Alireza Doostdar, Sarah Hammerschlag, A. Heo, Matthew Kapstein, Françoise MeltzerJames T. Robinson, Richard A. Rosengarten, Christian K. Wedemeyer.

Faculty and students associated with the Committee give primacy to humanistic and social scientific methods of study that have become established in the academic community during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. They examine, evaluate, and utilize many of the analytic tools and conceptual categories of the human sciences. Though each of the areas that constitutes part of the Committee may draw on both the methods and materials of the other areas, each has its own distinctive profile. 

  • Anthropology and Sociology of Religion analyzes the lived contexts of communities, institutions and practices.
  • History of Religions emphasizes historical, phenomenological, and comparative studies.
  • Religion, Literature, and Visual Culture focuses on the critical and interpretive study of literary texts.

Read more about the Areas:

These pages contain more in-depth information about the specific areas, including sample courses and exams.

Brief overviews are also available (below).


Anthropology and Sociology of Religion: brief overview

Anthropology and Sociology of Religion brief overview

History of Religions: brief overview

History of Religions brief overview

Religion, Literature, and Visual Culture: brief overview

RLVC brief overview