About the Graduate Division of Religion

Drew University’s tranquil, wooded campus is located within an hour of New York City and other major centers of culture and learning. Within the school’s intimate compass, the Graduate Division of Religion presents a unique breadth of scholarly opportunity.

Adventurous Within Disciplines

At the heart of the Graduate Division of Religion is its intellectually and socially engaged faculty, whose wide range of scholarly interests supports doctoral research in such fields as Hebrew Bible, New Testament and early Christianity, theological and philosophical studies in religion, sociology of religion, psychology and religion, Christian social ethics, and American religious history. Many members of the faculty have contributed significantly to the shaping of their respective fields. Frequent presenters at national and international conferences, the faculty has a high publishing profile, with books translated into many languages.

Distinctive of the scholarly ethos of the GDR faculty is the adventurous way in which they inhabit their respective disciplines, bringing a creative, relational, and transformative edge to the scholarly labor of critical thinking. Not content merely to internalize, preserve and transmit the canonical knowledge of the disciplines, they also interrogate the histories in which these disciplines have taken shape and solidified. They question received assumptions and categories along with the vested interests and power relations they reflect.

Flexible Across Disciplines

An uncommon flexibility between disciplines characterizes much of the scholarly work undertaken in the Graduate Division of Religion. It offers students the interdisciplinary opportunity to take courses and exams outside of a stated primary field of interest, allowing connection to a broader intellectual context, while providing necessary grounding in their specific discipline. More uniquely, the adventurous spirit that shapes the faculty’s disciplinary identities presses beyond the established lines of interdisciplinary conversation toward creative formations of transdisciplinary space. This transdisciplinarity regularly presses into territory not yet clearly charted within the academy. It entails moving into the interstices between the academy, on the one hand, and the religious and socio-political life of the broader world, on the other.

Students whose research interests cross disciplinary boundaries will find a religion faculty at Drew that supports work not only in a range of traditional religious studies disciplines, but also, and simultaneously in such intersecting fields as feminist studies, gender studies, LGBT/queer studies, African American studies, Latino/a studies, ecological studies, postcolonial studies, poststructuralism, and cultural studies. A concentration in women’s and gender studies is available in all four doctoral programs. A Wesleyan and Methodist concentration is also available. The committed movement toward an ever more versatile and open curricular structure is reflected in seminars and colloquia frequently involving students and faculty from several different fields; an interdisciplinary comprehensive exam; and dissertation committees that often contain several different disciplinary specializations.

Engaged Beyond Disciplines

The ethos of the graduate study of religion at Drew is marked by a shared vision with regard to the work of scholarship and its engagement with the wider world.  It is a vision that understands responsible scholarship as a matter of responsible citizenship in the global community. The passion of the GDR faculty for their scholarly work – shared by the students who thrive at Drew – is fired by the desire for a transformed world and the creation of communities of justice and peace existing in friendship with the earth. Such engaged scholarship entails unflinching critique of systems of power destructive of creaturely flourishing in all its diversity, while inquiring after transformative practices of reconciliation, empowerment and healing in the concrete particularity and complexity of contemporary cultural contexts.

It is no accident, then, that diversity is a demographic hallmark of this scholarly community. The GDR faculty is distinctively marked by a robust geographic and ethnic diversity as well as an uncommon gender balance. The result is an international community of scholars and students in which diverse perspectives are welcomed and placed in lively conversation toward a transformative scholarship uniquely engaged with the global contexts of contemporary religious faith and practice.

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