About the Major

The Religious Studies Department offers students the opportunity to develop skills in critical and creative thinking, analysis, and research through the study of diverse religious traditions. Our courses explore the texts, objects, spaces, and lived experiences connected with religious traditions and cultures, as well as the art, films, and other forms of cultural expression that represent them.

Students Will Learn To:

  • Examine different approaches to the academic study of religious traditions
  • Analyze diverse sets of evidence including both primary and secondary sources
  • Critically analyze the category of “religion”
  • Communicate clearly, coherently, and effectively

A Sampling of Courses

Gutenberg Press

Religion and Media

Investigates the role of various media in shaping religious traditions especially Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Hinduism. Beginning with studies of orality and literacy, we move into the impact of the printing press, then electronic media including Internet and video games.

Explore these select courses:

This course explores a variety of roles religion has played in American culture(s) and some of the ways that American culture has influenced Americans’ religious practices. We will focus on three areas: identity (Americanism), politics (Ballots), and economics (Consumption). In particular, we will consider how religion is involved in the construction of American identity and the exclusion of some people from American polity; how religion is (and is not) intertwined with our political system; and how religion affects – and is affected by – Americans’ economic practices

The world of antiquity was populated with spirits and invisible forces, and with attempts to breach the divide between this world and others. What did people hope to accomplish when they wore an amulet, threw sheep knuckles as dice in consulting an oracle, wrote on a curse tablet, or offered votives to a god? This course examines miracles and magic as modes of intervention, focusing on the first through fifth centuries CE. We will discuss the technologies of facilitating such encounter and multiple categories of magical activity through attention to archaeological artifacts and ancient texts.

Taking a broad, inter-disciplinary approach, students become familiar with issues facing contemporary American Indian communities. Confronted with unprecedented political, environmental, and cultural challenges, Indians continue to mobilize ancient values to effectively reimagine and reshape them for the contemporary context. Drawing from historiography, literary analysis, and knowledge of current Indigenous leaders, we examine how relationality, resilience, adaptability, and revitalization are informing Native-led social movements while also reconnecting American Indians to their spiritual foundations in times of turmoil and difficulty. Students will have opportunities to engage in discussions with Native spiritual and cultural leaders and will also present their own research projects.

Exploration of the spiritual power attributed to philosophy by religious philosophers from classical Greece to modern times through readings from Greek, Jewish, Islamic and/or Christian philosophical works.

The word "martyrdom" is a site of live debate about ethics, from religious extremist martyrs to the label "martyr complex." Who is willing to suffer, and for what? Is that willingness justifiable, pathological, or terrorism? Must one die, or is it enough to suffer?. Christians in antiquity also asked these questions in response to persecution under the Roman Empire, as well as in the centuries after. Others in antiquity too considered the difference between suicide and noble, voluntary death. We will analyze the phenomenon of martyrdom in antiquity through a variety of textual attestation.

Meet Our Faculty

Quincy Newell

Walcott-Bartlett Professor of Humanistic Studies, Chair of Religious Studies


American religious history; religion in the American West; interreligious contact; religious experience of racial/ethnic and religious minorities; Native American and African American religious history; Mormonism; gender and religion

Margaret Gentry

Chair, Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies


women and aging; widowhood; caregiving of elderly; psychology of women/gender; household division of labor

Ian Mills

Visiting Assistant Professor of Classics and Religious Studies


Early Christianity Late Antiquity New Testament Ancient Judaism

Heidi Ravven

Professor of Religious Studies


Baruch Spinoza, Moses Maimonides, neuroethics, and Jewish studies

S. Brent Rodriguez-Plate

Professor of Religious Studies, By Special Appointment


religion and media, religion and popular culture, comparative religions, blasphemy and controversial art, religious life in the U.S.

Jeffrey McArn

Senior Lecturer in Religious Studies and Levitt Center Justice Lab


Careers After Hamilton

Hamilton graduates who concentrated in religious studies are pursuing careers in a variety of fields, including:

  • Financial Advisor, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management
  • Brand Coordinator, Legendary Entertainment
  • Upper School Dean of Students, American School of Madrid
  • Rabbinical Student, Hebrew Union College
  • Director of Development, The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia
  • Gerontologist, Gateway Adult Center
  • Director of Youth & Education Justice, Children’s Defense Fund-NY
  • Clinical Social Worker, Morris Foundation

Explore Hamilton Stories

TheBook of Mormon Publication Site

Learning by Experiencing the Mormon Faith

This semester I’m taking “Mormonism in America and the World” taught by Professor of Religious Studies Quincy Newell. I chose this class because I am interested in learning about a religion that is highly stigmatized and controversial. I was also intrigued by how the course explores the public perceptions of Mormonism and how they shape the religion.

 S. Brent Rodriguez-Plate

Rodríguez-Plate Publishes Book Chapters

Professor of Religious Studies S. Brent Rodríguez-Plate recently published contributions to two edited volumes.

Heidi Ravven

Ravven on Voting as “Science and Ceremony”

Professor of Religious Studies Heidi Ravven recently discussed “Science and Ceremony” in an invited lecture at the European Society for Medicine Annual Congress in Vienna.


Department Name

Religious Studies Department

Contact Name

Quincy Newell, Chair

Office Location
198 College Hill Road
Clinton, NY 13323

Help us provide an accessible education, offer innovative resources and programs, and foster intellectual exploration.

Site Search