Discovery in Religious Studies

At Whittier College, students work in close collaboration with professors who are leaders in their fields.

In teamwork, professors and students conduct research projects that push the boundaries of knowledge and inquiry. For example, select students assist professors with their scholarly initiatives. Recent research by professors in Religious Studies includes the following work. 

Jason A. Carbine’s research traverses the Buddhist and religious cultures of Southeast and South Asia, and he teaches widely on religion and society across Asia and around the globe. He is the author of Sons of the Buddha: Continuities and Ruptures in a Burmese Monastic Tradition (2011), and he co-edited and contributed an essay to How Theravada is Theravada? Exploring Buddhist Identities (2012).

Rosemary P. Carbine specializes in historical and contemporary Christianity, with a particular focus on the intersections of gender and sexuality, personhood, politics/public life, and religion in U.S. Christianities. She is co-editor of and contributor to two books, Women, Wisdom, and Witness: Engaging Contexts in Conversation (2012), and Theological Perspectives for Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness: Public Intellectuals for the 21st Century (2013). She has written chapters in several critically acclaimed anthologies, including Frontiers in Catholic Feminist Theology: Shoulder to Shoulder (2009), Prophetic Witness: Catholic Women's Strategies for Reform (2009), and Cross-Examinations: Readings on the Meaning of the Cross Today (2006).  

Joseph L. Price’s scholarly interests span interdisciplinary areas of research. Co-author and co-editor of several theological works, including Tillich (2010) and New and Enlarged Handbook of Christian Theology (2003), he has also published numerous essays and books on sports and religion, including From Season to Season: Sports as American Religion (2001) and Rounding the Bases: Baseball and Religion in America (2006)

In addition to students assisting in professors' research projects, they also pursue distinct fieldwork and groundbreaking research under the supervision of a professor. Reflecting on these experiences, Whittier students regularly participate in conferences (such as the Southern California Conference on Undergraduate Research) and other academic conclaves across the nation.

Students majoring in Religious Studies routinely present their senior projects at Whittier’s celebration of Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activities (URSCA), a conference held during Family Weekend in the spring semester. Recent senior projects presented at URSCA include:

  • Yvette De Alba ’13, “Spiritual Perspectives on Death”
  • Martin Palacios ’13, “The Gospel of the Dark Knight”
  • Josh Tractenberg ’13, “Religion and Self-Sacrifice”
  • William Beard ’12, “Remembering Theophilus: A Socio-Rhetorical Approach to Luke-Acts”
  • Danielle Richards ’12, “Genocide and Religion in Rwanda”
  • Jeff Wilson ’12, “The Ramayana in Translation”
  • Charles Burke ’11, “Where is the Radical Love? Finding Radical Love in American Christian Spirituality and Sexuality”
  • Kathleen Connors ’11, “Sorcery and Society in Sri Lanka”
  • Kristina Shaw ’11, “Muslim Integration: The Case of Turkish Muslims in Germany”
  • Justin Valero ’11, “The Blood of the Lamb"

In ongoing ways students interact with professors in programs that are part of the College’s Centers of Distinction and take place at Garrett and Hartley Faculty Masters' Houses, on-campus residences where professors live for a multi-year term and coordinate and host an array of educational and social activities.

While students at large universities often struggle merely to gain face-time with professors, here at Whittier, students engage professors personally and routinely in and out of the classroom.