Andy is a third year student double majoring in Asian Languages and Religious Studies (Track II: Texts and Traditions) and minoring in History. He plans on graduating at the end of next year and then moving on to graduate school.
When did you decide to enroll in the religious studies major?
"Pretty much as soon as I found out the new religious studies major existed."
Why did you decide to become an RELS major?
"The new major gives me the opportunity to study all of the things that interest me most, religion, history, literature, and theory, without all of the restrictions and less-than-appealing requirements that some majors have."
What has been your favorite RELS class?
"Definitely Calvin Roetzel's Theory and Methods of Religious Studies. The course opened my eyes to a whole new way of looking at not only religion, but also societal trends and constructs in general."
What are you focusing on in your major?
"I've been all over the board, but right now I'm primarily studying South Asian religious history and, more specifically, the effects that modern capitalism has had on the development of Indian religion and society."
What do you plan to do after graduation?
"I'm hoping to go to graduate school to study religious theory, most likely within the context of South Asian intellectual history."
Why do you think the study of religion is important?
"Religion and thinking about religion have and continue to be two of the major factors in the evolution of intellectual consciousness on the individual level, the cultural level, and on the level of society in general. As we begin to interact more and more with our foreign neighbors in this ever globalizing world, it is becoming ever more crucial that we understand the factors that lay at the root of our ideological and philosophical differences. Before we can hope to understand another culture's actions, we must first understand the ideological forces that are guiding those actions, and religion has historically proven itself to be one of the more immediate and overarching of these forces."