Religion, Law and Politics
Created for students interested in the complex relationships among law, politics, and religion, in history and in contemporary society, this concentration provides an opportunity for in-depth study, research and discussion of a variety of issues, including questions of religious freedom; public and private morality; the relationship of institutional religions and their texts to established legal norms; diverse understanding of religious law; examinations of religion in the public square; and the nexus of religion and politics both nationally and globally. This concentration may pair with Northwestern’s Legal Studies Major, which requires that students declare a "partnering" major in another department. Those students who aspire to careers in public life will also find much to draw from in our offerings, which may include courses on religion in relationship to topics such as: war and peace; environmental justice; Islamic law; Jewish law; Hindu Law; Catholic social ethics; and religion in the public square.
All Religious Studies majors take the following core courses:
- Religion 170, Introduction to Religion; or Religion 171, Varieties of Religious Traditions
- Religion 395, Capstone Senior Majors Seminar in "Theories of Religion"
Concentrators choose 3 courses from their concentration’s list of approved courses as part of their degree credit total. They take 5 additional Religious Studies courses (in consultation with department adviser), and take 2 courses from Northwestern’s Legal Studies Program or Political Science Department for a total of 12 credits. Students have access to a full updated list each year posted on our departmental web site.
First-year (100-level) seminars do not count toward degree credit. All double counting policies apply.
Religion, Law and Politics (RLP) Concentration Courses
- 261 – American Religion, Ecology, and Culture (Taylor)
- 265 – American Religious History, WW II to present (Orsi)
- 339 – Jewish Ethics (Zoloth)
- 339 – Jewish Law (Wimpheimer)
- 344 – Christian Ethics (Traina)
- 349 – History of Christianity: War and Peace (Kieckhefer)
- 349 – History of Christianity: Wealth and Poverty (Kieckhefer)
- 359 – Islamic Law (Ingram)
- 369 – Native American Perspectives on Environmental Justice (Taylor)
- 374 – The Good Neighbor (Zoloth)
- 374 – Religion and the Public Square (Zoloth)
- 379 – Good and Evil (Zoloth)
- 379 – Religion and the Public Square (Zoloth)
- 383 – Catholic Social Ethics (Traina)