The Religious Studies Department at William & Mary promotes the idea that the in-depth study of religious traditions, spiritualities, and lived experiences in a variety of historical, cultural, and experiential contexts is integral to our students’ understanding of themselves and our world. Through studying religions, we gain insight into important aspects of social life: gender and sexuality, race, power, art, literature, and media, to name a few. We develop intimate portraits of diverse lives from antiquity into the present. Ours is a uniquely interdisciplinary field, employing theories and methods of disciplines from history, anthropology, sociology, philosophy, and literary studies. Our students have gone on to enjoy success in a wide variety of fields, including law, business, education, medicine, religious leadership, journalism, and academia, and we are committed to providing them with the tools they need for the careers of the future.
The faculty of the Religious Studies department is committed to inclusive and effective pedagogy, offering small, student-focused classes, creative assignments, and research opportunities. Our pedagogical focus on developing student capacities for the clear expression of ideas, persuasive argumentation, rigorous analysis, critical evaluation, and self-reflection make the religious studies major at William & Mary a quintessentially liberal arts education.
About the Wren Building
Our department is housed in the oldest U.S. academic building in continuous use. Completed in 1700, the Wren stands on Kiskiack land of the Powhatan Confederacy. It was built using enslaved labor over the course of five years. The enslaved men, women, and children who constructed the Wren also worked, ate, and slept in the building.
For more information about the Wren Building, visit the Spotswood Society. For more information about the history of enslavement at W&M, visit the Lemon Project. For the College's land acknowledgment, visit the American Indian Resources Center.