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Center for Religious Studies

Wood Building, Room 124
Mailing address:
Martin 236, Warrensburg, MO 64093

Catherine Burris
Assistant Professor and Director
Phone: 660.543.8674


For Current Students

Starting this spring, the Religious Studies program is going to be on campus in a big way, with many more courses taught in person, and lots of new courses and professors!

Spring 2015 courses on campus:

REL 1510 Exploring Religions.  One section taught by Dr. Catherine Burris, two by Albion Mends.  This course is the introductory course in Religious Studies, offering basics on a range of traditions, and a sense of how we study religion using methods from Anthropology, English, History, Sociology, and more.

REL 3240 Native American Religions, Dr. Rose Gubele (English).   This course offers an introduction to American Indian religious practices. We will focus on both pre- and post-contact spirituality as practiced in diverse Native communities. We will discuss distinctions between American Indian religions and Christianity and examine the ways that religious differences contributed to both exchange and conflict between American Indians and Europeans. Class readings will cover American Indian religious theory as well as the importance of historical and social contexts. In addition, we will examine the ways that spirituality is a part of contemporary everyday Native life, as evidenced by art, dance, poetry, storytelling, and societal practices.

REL 3900 Special Projects in Religion – Religion and Poverty, Dr. Catherine Burris.  How do religious beliefs and practices relate to the cycle of poverty?  What have various religions done to help break that cycle?  What happens when a religion teaches that poverty is good for the soul?  We will address these questions and more in this course, considering a range of religious traditions in various time periods and geographic locations, including the US, Africa, Europe and the Middle East.   The course will have a strong historical component, but will always return to a Poverty Studies approach, considering the ways that poverty is created and enforced by social, political, and even religious forces, and then moving to the ways that religious groups have acted and continue to act and advocate for change.

REL 4900 Special Topics in Religion – Anti-Semitism: Blood Libel, Hitler, and the KKK, Dr. Catherine Burris.  Religion and hate all too often travel together – ever wonder how that can happen?  This course will consider precisely that question.  The long, horrible history of anti-Jewish rhetoric and action will provide our core historical narrative, but we will be particularly interested in recent theoretical approaches to hate groups in general, whomever their targets are.  We will, among other things, consider the relationship between anti-Semitism and racism more broadly, the increasingly prominent role of women in hate groups, and the contested relationship between hate groups and poverty.  If you are interested in religion, rhetoric, human rights, racism, history, gender, or hate groups, you should join us!

Five sections of REL 1510 and one of REL 3250 Shiva and Indian Religions will be taught online.

Summer 2015 online classes:

REL 2130 Global Islams, Dr. Kamel Ghozzi (Sociology).

REL 4900 Special Topics: Religion and Slavery, Dr. Delia Gillis (History).

REL 1510 Exploring Religions, Dr. Catherine Burris.

Next year, so far:

Honors REL 1510 Exploring Religion, Dr.  Catherine Burris.

REL 2310 World Views and Values, Albion Mends.

REL 3020 Religion, Gender and Sexuality, Dr. Catherine Burris.

REL 4900 Special Topics: The Black Church: Race, Religion, and Civil Rights, Dr.Jeff Williams (English).

REL 3900 Special Projects:  Islam in Time, Dr. Kamel Ghozzi (Sociology).  Will be cross-listed with Sociology.

REL 2020 Literature and History of Early Christianity, Dr. Catherine Burris.

REL 2070 Religions of Africa, Albion Mends.

REL 3030 Religion, Magic, and the Supernatural, Catherine Burris.

REL 4900 Special Topics: Black Elk Speaks, Dr. Mary Ellen Rowe (History).  Will be cross-listed with History.

REL 4900 Special Topics: Early India and the Rise of Hinduism, Dr. Mary Ellen Rowe (History). Will be cross-listed with History.


The following external web sites may be of interest to current UCM students.