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Programs and Centers
Harvard Divinity School's academic and teaching resources are enhanced and its spiritual and community life enriched by the programs and special projects that are an integral part of the School. The Center for the Study of World Religions provides research and residential space to students, staff, and faculty, and both it and the Women's Studies in Religion Program bring visiting scholars to HDS, who teach and share their research through public lectures, seminars, and more intimate conversations.
For 50 years, the Center for the Study of World Religions has fostered consideration of the historical and contemporary interrelationships among religions, and the theological, philosophical, comparative, political, and ethical challenges facing religious communities and those who study them today. It primarily engages the academic community, beginning with the faculty, students, and staff of HDS, and then the wider scholarly community, but also welcomes religious practitioners, policymakers, and the wider public that is interested in religion.
The Women's Studies in Religion Program was founded in 1973 to explore the fundamental role played by religious traditions in defining roles for women and men. Research on religion and gender sheds light on questions about the changing roles of women both inside religious communities and in broader public spheres. Its goal is the production of new primary research addressing these and related issues and the dispersal of that information through courses, publications, and public programs.
In 1991, the Pluralism Project at Harvard University began a pioneering study of America's changing religious landscape. Under the direction of Professor Diana L. Eck, students, staff, and affiliates document the contours of our multireligious society, explore new forms of interfaith engagement, study the impact of religious diversity in civic life, and contextualize these findings within a global framework. The Pluralism Project develops case studies, web-based resources, and other tools to facilitate greater engagement.
A new initiative starting in 2011, the Religious Literacy Project, will collect and create scholarly resources in the general study of religion and in specific religious traditions through an open access website designed primarily for public school teachers and their students.