Article by Richard Hecht on “The Study of Religions in America and the Department of Religious Studies at UCSB”

Richard Hecht recounts the creation of the Religious Studies Department at UC Santa Barbara in, “The Study of Religions in America and the Department of Religious Studies at UCSB (Pantheon 8/1).”

The article discusses the American study of religions as it has been reflected in the history of a particular university department, namely the Department of Religious Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Ahmad Atif Ahmad Interviewed About Book, “The Fatigue of the Shari’a”

Ahmad Atif Ahmad's book, "The Fatigue of the Shari'aRead and listen to Ahmad Atif Ahmad’s interview by New Books in Islamic Studies.

The Fatigue of the Shari’a places on a continuum two kinds of debates: debates in the Islamic tradition about the end of access to divine guidance and debates in modern scholarship in Islamic legal studies about the end of the Shari’a. The resulting continuum covers what access to divine guidance means and how it relates to Shari’a, whether the end of this access is possible, and what should be done in this case. The study is based on textual analysis of medieval legal and theological texts as well as analysis of recent arguments about the death of the Shari’a.

50th Anniversary

We are celebrating our 50th Anniversary this year! UCSB’s Religious Studies Department was officially established on July 1, 1964, starting with a faculty of four. In celebration of this milestone, the Department will be hosting a series of intellectual and social events, including a one-day symposium In April 2014, which will bring together PhD alumni, past and present faculty, current graduate students, and the wider community to consider the intellectual history of the Department and its impact on the interdisciplinary academic study of religion. Please consider donating to the 50th Anniversary Fund to support the important work of Religious Studies graduate education.

Steven Barrie-Anthony Publishes Essay on The Atlantic Online!

Congratulations to our PhD student, Steven Barrie-Anthony for publishing an essay about “spiritual but not religious” people and their potential as a voting bloc. Click to view the essay on The Atlantic Online.

“‘Spiritual but not religious’ people do care, and deeply, about community and civic participation. The difficult part for them is finding ways of engaging civically that jibe with their spiritual approaches.” – excerpt from Barrie-Anthony’s essay.