PHL 352: Zen in Theory and Practice

A course facilitated by Anthony Weston but taught, truly, by Sandy Gentei Stewart of the North Carolina Zen Center in Pittsboro. It occurs during the month of January in WT every other year. It is an intensive course that includes a four-day silent retreat at the Zen Center.

REL 201.  Buddhist Traditions 4 sh

This course surveys the religious philosophy, practices and cultural developments of Buddhism from 6th century BCE India to present-day America.

COR 305: Interdisciplinary Zen

In this seminar we will study the ritual and philosophy of Zen and the relationship scholars have noted between Zen and physics and Zen and the Japanese arts (such as painting, haiku, calligraphy, and martial arts).

REL 356 Chinese “Religions” from Confucius to Mao 4 sh

This course broadens the category of “religion” as we investigate traditions such as Confucianism, Daoism, Buddhism, Neo-Confucianism, Islam, Christianity and/or popular religion in China. Less familiar ideologies and a critical assessment of Communist texts, images and state rituals will also be considered.

REL 357 Sages and Samurai: Religion in the Japanese Experience 4 sh

This course explores the historical and contemporary role of religion in Japan. It pays particular attention to primary texts in translation and to the visual and ritual expressions of Shintoism, Buddhism, Neo-Confucianism, Christianity and folk religion. The class includes a trip to a Zen Tea Ceremony in Duke.

COR 333: Religion and Art of Asia

This course explores the symbiosis of religious thought and expression in the pan-Asian sphere. It investigates the history of Indian, Chinese and Japanese religious art and architecture and considers Asia’s contemporary material and popular culture as both expressions of and constructions for the sacred.

These are just some of the many courses Elon offers. For more information visit the academic catalog or contact Pamela Winfield.

Majors & Minors

Religious Studies Major

The Religious Studies major introduces students to major religious traditions of the world and equips them to use methods from the humanities and social sciences to understand religious texts, art, doctrines, practices, ethics, institutions, and cultures.

Asian Studies Minor

The Asian Studies minor at Elon offers students an interdisciplinary program to study the art, history, geography, religion, languages, philosophy, politics, economics and and societies of this vast, diverse continent.

Inter-Religious Studies Minor

The Inter-religious Studies minor is a multi-disciplinary minor located within the Religious Studies department that focuses on historical and contemporary encounters between and interactions among distinct religious communities and/or traditions.

International Global Studies Program – Asia Concentration

The International and Global Studies Program at Elon University provides an interdisciplinary approach to the critical study of global issues and globalization more generally. Students will gain a broad knowledge of international and global affairs as well as proficiency in one of the world’s regions (Europe, Latin America, Asia, Middle East, and Africa).


Professor Xiaolin Duan conduscts research that focuses on the socio-cultural history from medieval to early modern Chinese history, with a special focus on popular religion, urban culture, and material culture. She is currently working on a project that examines the intersection between sightseeing and pilgrimage around West Lake, a cultural landmark since medieval China. Professor Duan contends that the interdependence between pilgrimage and tourism localized tourists’ attachment to nature and provided temples with new strategies to attract visitors. In this process, West Lake function as a “middle landscape” that mingled religious and urban space.

Ann Glynn, a student who is currently doing a research study with Professor Duan, is focusing on the history of Tibet since 1800, with special attention on how it was turned into an Autonomous region after 1949. Her project discusses the effectiveness of the Autonomous Region from the religious, political, geographical and international viewpoints.

Study Abroad

GBL 208 US: Massachusetts, Boston: Mindful America, Mindful Elon

This course is designed to help students explore the history and development of mindfulness in America and consider the influence of mindfulness practices on trends in higher education.

GBL 248: Business and Culture of Vietnam

This course will take you to five different cities in the ancient and culturally-rich country of Vietnam. We will learn how Vietnam developed politically and economically after a long and difficult war. You will learn about Buddhism and its role in the religious life of Vietnamese people.

GLB 280: China: The Flying Dragon

China, the world’s most populous nation with 1.3 billion people, has a continuous history of more than 5,000 years. It is one of the world’s greatest civilizations and has made significant contributions to the world, such as the compass, gunpowder, papermaking, and printing. This course is designed to give you an overview of the paths for China’s modernization from different perspectives: geography, history, language, and arts. Additional topics such as religion, medicine, traditions and customs, food, and women’s issues may also be covered.

Multi-Faith Scholars Program

Multi-faith scholars program

10,000 scholarship for juniors and seniors pursuing interfaith relations and dialogue.

Each year, five rising juniors will be selected for the Multi-faith Scholars Program and granted a total of $5,000 each in funding for their research projects. Working with mentors, they will study abroad, do internships and conduct research to develop skills as multi-faith leaders.