Study of Religion

Religion and the Classroom

One of the aims of the Center is promoting excellence in teaching the study of religion, both in the classroom and in the context of undergraduate research. To that end, the Center is happy to offer resources for supporting faculty from various disciplines who either encounter religious perspectives or engage questions of religion in their classrooms. Each semester we offer faculty and staff an opportunity for conversation about engaging religion and spiritualtiy in academic settings.


Resources for Teaching the Arab/Israeli/Gaza Conflict

The summer of 2014 saw renewed violence in Israel/Palestine centered around Gaza. The set of online resources detailed below offer a wide variety of materials for understanding and teaching the 20th-century backdrop to these conflicts as well as personal perspectives on the events of 2014:

From The Guardian, a pictorial timeline of major, 20th-century events in the Arab-Israeli conflict

Also from The Guardian, a short film depicting the effects of the construction of the barrier between Israel and the West Bank as it bisected one village

An extensive resource packet, including maps, fact sheets, timelines, historic documents, and a set of articles that highlight peacemaking efforts and possibilities for peace

A trove of resources, including definitions of key concepts and players, opinion pieces, and historic documents too extensive to neatly characterize

Interviews with Israeli and Palestinian youth following the Aug 2014 ceasefire in Gaza 

"Seven Questions about the Gaza Conflict as Answered by an Israeli and a Palestinian” 

The US State Department’s “Defining Anti-Semitism” Fact Sheet 


Religious Faith in the Classroom

How should instructors respond when personal faith comes up in a classroom discussion? How can instructors effectively engage faith and encourage both dialogue and critical thinking about faith? The set of resources included in this bibliography suggest ways for tackling challenging classroom moments:

A selective bibliography on resources for "Responding to Religion in the Classroom."


Undergraduate Research

Given the relatively recent development of undergraduate research in humanities disciplines, there is a dearth of knowledge about how to effectively engage undergraduate students in the humanities in research. Two Elon faculty members have participated in two national grants examining undergraduate research in the discipline of Religious Studies for the purpose of developing disciplinary standards and best practices for undergraduate research in the field of Religious Studies. Building on the expertise of our faculty, the Center for the Study of Religion will integrate undergraduate research into its programming, as well as offering consulting for faculty and programs intereted in deepening the analysis of religion in UR contexts.  In the future, the Center plans on holding an annual summer workshop to teach faculty how to design and implement research projects with students interested in the study of religion. This program will have the potential to create a significant national model for supporting undergraduate research in the humanities and offer the possibility of strengthening the undergraduate study of religion nationwide.


Teaching Undergraduate Research in Religious Studies, edited by Bernadette McNary-Zak and Rebecca Todd Peters.