Jul 15, 2024  
2021-2022 Catalog 
2021-2022 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Global Humanities and Religions

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Global Humanities and Religions is an interdisciplinary humanities department which emphasizes cultural history and the study of religion. We give our students a broad perspective on the world by leading them in exploration of major textual traditions, drawing on the scholarly disciplines that make up the humanities - philosophy, religion, history, literature, and the arts - to see how people in different cultures have thought about truth and the meaning of human experience, standards of moral judgment for human actions, and the nature of beauty and the cultivation of taste in the arts.

The department teaches students to ask how works of the humanities have been shaped by their historical and cultural contexts, and how they in turn have influenced readers and audiences. The department supports the study of humanities in the cultures of Europe, the Americas, East Asia, South Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, and in predominantly Islamic areas. Its courses give attention to historical development and cross-cultural interaction, both in the past and in the modern period. The department’s curriculum includes courses called “Humanities” (HUMA) and others called “Religion” (REL). 

The department offers two BA programs, one in Humanities: History of Culture and other in Religion and Culture, both with the option of writing a senior thesis. Students in the BA degree programs practice what they have learned about analyzing texts, works of art and historical contexts in various forms of supervised research. In the degree programs and in General University Requirements courses students develop habits of mind characterized by awareness of methodological issues, analysis from more than one perspective, aesthetic appreciation, and clear communication, habits which have proved to be broadly useful to them in a variety of professional careers and in civic life.

The department’s name changed in 2019. This was formerly the Department of Liberal Studies.


For additional information, contact the Department of Global Humanities and Religions, Western Washington University, 516 High St., Bellingham, WA 98225-9064. The department office is located in Bond Hall 152, telephone 360-650-3030, fax 360-650-6713, e-mail: GHR@wwu.edu. Web access: chss.wwu.edu/humanities-religions/about-us.

  • The department offers interdisciplinary courses which can fulfill a major part of the WWU General University Requirements in humanities and in comparative, gender and multicultural studies; see the University Graduation Requirements  section of this catalog for the complete General University Requirements and options for satisfying them.
  • The department offers two BA degrees, one in Humanities: History of Culture, the other in Religion and Culture.
  • The department offers interdisciplinary minor programs in Humanities: History of Culture and in Religion and Culture.
  • The department administers and offers courses in the minor in Arabic and Islamic Studies.
  • The department offers courses in the East Asian Studies program.
  • The department administers the Student/Faculty-Designed Major in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. This program allows students, in consultation with appropriate faculty, to design an interdisciplinary course of study in areas not available through existing departmental majors.

Additional information about all of the foregoing is available from the Global Humanities and Religions Office, Bond Hall 152.


KIMBERLY LYNN (2006) Chair and Professor. BA, College of William and Mary; MA, PhD, Johns Hopkins University.
ETHAN BUSHELLE (2018) Assistant Professor. BA, Macalester College; AM, PhD, Harvard University.
HOLLY FOLK (2007) Associate Professor. BA, Wesleyan University; MA, Columbia University; PhD, Indiana University.
ANDREA GOGRÖF (1996) Professor. BA, MA, University of Paris, Nanterre; PhD, University of Washington.
JONATHAN MIRAN (2003) Professor. BA, MA, Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales, Paris; PhD, Michigan State University.
SEÁN E. MURPHY (2002) Professor. AB, MA, PhD, Cornell University.
SCOTT PEARCE (1992) Professor. BA, Rutgers University; PhD, Princeton University.
DANIEL PICUS (2020) Assistant Professor. BA, Macalester College; MSt, University of Oxford; PhD, Brown University 
MICHAEL SLOUBER (2014) Associate Professor. BA, UC Davis; MA, South & Southeast Asian Studies, UC Berkeley; MA, Kultur and Geschischte Indiens, University of Hamburg, Germany; PhD, UC Berkeley.

Other Departmental Information

Mid-Program Checkpoint

Students seeking to complete either BA degree within four years should have taken at least two 100 or 200 level courses in the department (HUMA or REL courses) before spring quarter of their junior year. HUMA 302 should be taken in spring quarter of the junior year (and is ordinarily offered only in the spring). Religion and Culture majors should have taken REL 231 and REL 303 by the end of their junior year (and REL 303 is ordinarily offered only in the winter). By the end of their junior year students also should complete 12-15 additional credits from the courses required for the desired BA degree. Transfer students should contact the department for advisement as early as possible.


    Undergraduate MajorUndergraduate Minor



      Courses numbered X37; X97; 300, 400 are described in the University Academic Policies  section of this catalog.


      Courses numbered X37; X97; 300, 400 are described in the University Academic Policies  section of this catalog.

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