“Engaging Interfaith Studies Across the Curriculum: From Niche to Norm,” by Cassie Meyer

Religious diversity, along with debate around religious belonging, pluralism, and inclusion, has become an increasingly fraught topic in American public discourse and public life. While many scholars – particularly those at seminaries or those within fields such as comparative theology – have been concerned with such matters for many years, academic interest in the applied realities of religious diversity has remained a relatively niche topic. In light of this, I am interested in the intersection between the emerging academic field of “interfaith” or “interreligious” studies and its application to experiences of religious diversity beyond the classroom. In exploring these topics, I will argue that interfaith/interreligious studies can foster learning with wide civic relevance, and thus has implications for higher education beyond seminaries or religious studies departments. From there, I will offer a constructive framework for thinking about the learning outcomes of this emerging field, namely what I call “interfaith literacy.” I will conclude with a discussion of concrete resources for teaching interfaith studies to undergraduates at four-year institutions with these applied civic goals in mind.

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