Welcome and About
The Study of Religions Department at UCC is the only department dedicated to the study of religions on the island of Ireland. Our courses are solely taught from a non-theological and non-confessional perspective. But why should one pursue the study of religions? Religion, in all its understandings, continues to play an influential role in the world, both for good and for ill. Teaching students at university about ‘religion’ is not only essential but a pivotal step in preparing them for their time after graduation.
A deeper study of religions allows one to better understand the world we live in. Religion is inextricable from various avenues, including politics, society, economics, literature, music, and art (to name but a few!). It is for this reason alone that we need an understanding of religions – in all their various manifestations – so that we can make sense of our changing world.
Few days pass without reports proliferating in various media streams on the impact of religions upon both local and global events, and on the lives of individuals and communities. These issues affect students, and the Study of Religions offers a safe learning and teaching environment where they can participate and deliberate on these thoughts and navigate the study of religions from a geopolitical perspective.
The Study of Religions Department here at UCC allows students to research and explore these important questions, specifically how they relate to foreign policies, laws, gender roles, diet, dress, and ethical and moral beliefs. Religions influence the ways in which people interact and communicate and can be a powerful means of both cooperation and antagonism. Religious dimensions affect freedom of expression, equality and tolerance and sometimes provide justifications for violence and war. Our students will explore the study of religions in light of these contemporary debates.
Aims and Objectives
- To explore the ways that ‘religion’ as a concept is understood, and the sources for understanding it (lived realities, texts, material culture, amongst others).
- To approach religions from a non-theological and non-confessional perspective
- To enhance religious literacy through research and teaching from a variety of approaches such as historical, philosophical, anthropological, ethical, sociological, psychological, exegetical, semiotical, etc.
- To understand the impact of religions on our understanding of history, politics, society, economics, literature, music, art, amongst other areas.
- To evaluate religions in diverse global, regional, cultural and sociohistorical contexts with a specific focus on our contemporary times
- To analyse the experience of religion as a cultural and social practice, embedded in people's daily lives around the world, both inside and outside the religious institutions.
- To make meaningful contributions to current critical debates and realities in the public square and civic engagement related to the study of religions
UCC's Religions and Global Diversity programme is recognised by The Teaching Council for intending teachers of post-primary RE in Ireland. As society in Ireland and throughout the world becomes more culturally diverse, understanding different religious beliefs and practices becomes increasingly important in the workplace, for teachers, government, development agencies, international business, those in the media, in healthcare and in human resources. In addition to helping you to develop the blend of specific and transferable skills common to all Arts subjects, Religions and Global Diversity will give you insights into religion and culture, which should help you in the workplace and when seeking employment.
Please see our brochure for more information on careers.