Fall 2023
HDS 3300
September 5 - December 5
Tuesday and Thursday, 10:30 AM - 11:45 AM
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Religious Literacy and the Professions


Religions have functioned throughout human history to inspire and justify the full range of human agency from the heinous to the heroic. Their influences remain potent here in the 21st century in spite of modern predictions that religious influences would steadily decline in concert with the rise of secular democracies and advances in science. Professionals in a wide range of fields need to understand these complex religious influences in order to understand modern human affairs across the full spectrum of endeavors in local, national, and global arenas. In this course, we will focus on religious literacy in the professions of journalism, Arts and popular culture, government, humanitarian action, education, and organizing. How can a nuanced and complex understanding of religion enhance the ability of professionals in these fields to serve their populations? Students will learn a critical theory method for comprehending the ways that religions shape, and are shaped by, different social, cultural, and political contexts and will apply that method to case studies in diverse professional sectors. Students will select one of the six professions listed above as a focus for their work in the course and for the Certificate in Religion and Public Life for those wishing to pursue this option. See this link for a list of the Religion and Public Life Fellows who will serve as co-instructors, each leading their own section. This course is open to all but required for those pursuing a Certificate in Religion and Public Life. Course must be taken for a letter grade if pursuing the certificate.

Divinity School
Harvard Divinity School
Course Level
Interest Area
Arts & Humanities
Cross Registration