Why Religious Studies Should Die.

I just heard that both candidates for President of the American Academy of Religion are conservative Christian theologians. I thought it appropriate to resurrect this from a few years ago. Yes, religious studies should die.

Iranianredneck's Weblog

I think we have a subject-object issue here.... I think we have a subject-object issue here….

I spent 8 years as a joint appointed faculty member in religious studies at one of the top 10 programs (in anyone’s book) in the field. Each year, Vanderbilt churned out about 3 PhD’s a year in each of 6 separate areas: (1) Theology; (2) Church History; (3) New Testament/early Christianity; (4) Old testament (judaism); (5) Christian Ethics; and (6) History and Critical Theories of Religion (whatever that means, that was “my” group). Each year about 15 people completed their PhD’s at Vanderbilt. And, each year almost none of them got jobs. While it is nice to look back and focus on success stories like Anthea Butler, who is now tenured at Penn. My mind tends to drift to those who are working at printing presses or spending their fifth stint as an adjunct or working for religious organizations far beneath the…

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2 Responses to “Why Religious Studies Should Die.”

  1. Casey Says:

    I came close to going to grad school for religious studies instead of sociology. I’m so glad that I eventually had enough sense to look sufficiently deeply into the issue to realize that it would have made no sense for me to pursue religious studies. After a year or two I would’ve ended up dropping out and switching to sociology anyway. It’s too bad that the downsides of religious studies programs aren’t more widely known.

    • sherkat Says:

      I’m glad you made the right choice. The study of religion is very important, but religious studies as a field is a dead end. Too many students are seduced into doing it, and you narrowly escaped. Indeed, if you had gone to religious studies, you might have hunkered down in a fit of dissonance and stayed in spite of the lack of opportunity.

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