When you study the world's religious traditions, you learn about the histories, literatures, practices and beliefs that have shaped human societies. You study rituals and festivals that organize perceptions of time and place, disciplines that develop modes of attention, and ideas of holiness, justice, love, and beauty through which human beings have expressed their highest ideals. You develop tools to understand the complex ways that people across history and around the world oppose oppression, justify violence, understand their bodies, and give meaning to their lives.
Grinnell offers opportunities for students who want to continue their studies off-campus. Religious studies majors have lived in Hindu communities while studying in India, immersed themselves in the religious culture of Japan, studied with Buddhists scholars, and learned Hebrew in Jerusalem and Arabic in Cairo. Students also have arranged internships at Neighborhood Capital Budget Group and the Iowa Bureau of Refugee Services. One student held a summer internship that combined work among Hispanics in inner-city Chicago with the study of Catholic liberation theology.
At Grinnell, all studies take place within a liberal arts framework, focusing on the study of German literature and culture through the contexts of the arts, history, social history, philosophy, and politics.