The department of Religiuos Studies brings guest speakers to campus for public lectures as well as to speak to classes, providing broader perspectives on wide ranging topics. The study of religion intersects with history, philosophy, art, music, film, and literature, and joins these in ongoing public conversations. So we also collaborate with other departments to promote public events of interest to our students, faculty and the community at large.
The Joseph Cardinal Bernardin lectures in moral, ethical, and religious studies, brings noted speakers to the Columbia campus each fall. The focus of the lectures, built around the work and legacy of Cardinal Bernardin, addresses topics such as bridging divides, finding common ground, a consistent ethic of life.
Since the first Religius Studies lecture and workshop was held in 2012, the series has brought speakers with a wide range of scholarship and research to the Columbia campus. Some of the topics have included "Greek and Roman Hallucinations Between Religion and Literature" which was followed by a workshop the following day on "Madness in Greco-Roman Antiquity.” In 2015 the lecture was on “From Tolerance to Reverence: Spirituality and Universality in Islam," while in 2016 the lecture addressed "Demonic and Medical Possession in China" which was followed by a workshop on the Daodejing.