Research in American Religions
Religious Studies graduate students specializing in American Religions are overseen by Anthea Butler. The program's special strengths in this area are in African-American religions, American religious history, and contemporary religious practice, as also intersecting with broader topics such as gender studies, religion and media, religion and politics, and global Christianity, past and present. Prof. Butler and other faculty are also active in exploring the significance of religion in current events and popular culture.
RELS Graduate Group and other faculty with expertise in these areas include Sarah Gordon, Barbara Savage, John Jackson, Beth Wenger, and Randall Collins. Interdisciplinary investigation is encouraged, and students take seminars not only in RELS but also in Africana Studies, History, Gender Studies, Anthropology, and Sociology. Additional resources include Penn's Center for Africana Studies, Early American Studies Center, and Arthur Fauset collection, as well as the Library Company of Philadelphia.
Entering students are expected to have strong background in historical and contemporary elements of African-American and/or American religions. Language competency in Spanish, French, or German is required by the beginning of the third year.
Students interested in applying to the program to work in this area areencouraged to contact Prof. Butler and also to consider other faculty whoseinterests might overlap with their own.