Interfaith Studies
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Interfaith Studies

Interfaith StudiesAre you interested in fostering dialogue and cooperation between people of different backgrounds? Is promoting diversity, understanding, and acceptance important to you? Consider minoring in Interfaith Studies at Converse College. We are among the first colleges and universities in the country to offer an Interfaith Studies Program.

Degree Offered

  • Interfaith Studies minor

About Interfaith Studies

The Interfaith Studies Program is designed to prepare students for interfaith dialogue and cooperation in whatever career field they choose, in light of the growing presence of interfaith dynamics in different professional settings. The program was developed with the support of the Arthur Vining Davis Grant and Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC). This program includes:

  • An interdisciplinary Interfaith Studies minor directed by Dr. Sherry Fohr and housed in the Department of Religion and Philosophy
  • Co-Curricular programs directed by Rev. Jason Loscuito in the Office of Religious Life
  • Partnership with Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC)

The minor may be paired with a variety of majors related to fields in which interfaith skills are in demand. This might include politics, international affairs, counseling, business, medicine, education, and law.

Interfaith dialogue is defined as constructive, positive, and cooperative communication or interaction between people of different religious traditions and/or spiritual or humanistic beliefs, including those who are not affiliated with a particular religion. Interfaith dialogue promotes understanding and acceptance between those of different beliefs. Rather than imposing the adoption of others’ beliefs, this approach encourages engagement in reciprocally inspiring relationships with people of diverse backgrounds. Interfaith cooperation refers to people and/or communities of different faith and non-faith traditions uniting toward social action for the common good.  For example, there has been interfaith cooperation toward ending human trafficking and protecting minorities against violent extremism.

More reasons to chose Converse:

  • Close individual attention and guidance throughout a student’s course of study
  • Intellectually stimulating coursework from a variety of related disciplines
  • Dedicated and caring faculty
  • Internship and study travel opportunities

Internships

  • Spartanburg Interfaith Alliance

Service and Experiential Learning

  • Interfaith Week

Study Travel

Previous study travel opportunities include:

  • 2015 meeting of the Parliament of the World’s Religions
  • Interfaith Youth Core conference: Interfaith Leadership Institute
  • NASPA (Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education) conference: Religious, Secular, and Spiritual Identities Convergence
  • Ripple conference: Making Interfaith Happen

Local Partnerships

  • Congregation B’nai Israel
  • Hindu Society of Spartanburg
  • Spartanburg Interfaith Hospitality Network
  • Spartanburg Islamic Society
  • Spartanburg Interfaith Alliance

A minor in Interfaith Studies consists of 18 hours of coursework. We recommend that you complete the Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC) student leadership program to the 2.0 level.

The following three courses are required to complete the minor. It is strongly recommended that these courses be taken in the order listed below:

  • REL 104 World Religions (3 hours)
  • REL 310 Interfaith Cooperation (3 hours)
  • REL/ATH 406 Interfaith Field Studies* (3 hours)

*Another experiential learning course (such as REL356) may be substituted for REL/ATH 406 at the discretion of the Interfaith Studies program director.

Sample Courses

  • Introduction to International Relations
  • The Arab-Israeli Conflict
  • Diverse Cultures and their Musics
  • Cross-Cultural Philosophy
  • Love and Kindness

For full course requirements, see the academic catalog.

The Interfaith Studies Program is designed to help students develop the ability to thrive in diverse environments, by concentrating on how to skillfully navigate, communicate in, cooperate with, and manage that diversity. This article from the Pew Research Center explores the desire by employers for their employees to incorporate this wide array of invaluable skills.

While some graduates might choose to work in religious settings, others will work in business, social justice organizations, healthcare, educationthe list of careers requiring skills learned through interfaith studies goes on and on.

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