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"If I went back to college today, I think I would probably major in comparative religion, because that's how integrated it is in everything that we are working on and deciding and thinking about in life today." -- United States Secretary of State John F. Kerry

Religion at East Carolina University is studied in a nonsectarian, interdisciplinary fashion, providing students with an understanding of religion as an historical and cultural phenomenon. Our program neither excludes nor promotes any religious tradition or viewpoint. In addition to courses on specific religions, students take courses in a variety of disciplines that consider religious themes and approaches, including anthropology, archaeology, art, history, literature, philosophy, psychology and sociology.

Faculty Spotlight

Dr. Joseph Hellweg

Dr. Joseph Hellweg

We welcome Dr. Hellweg to East Carolina University. Hellweg’s research interest is interdisciplinary in nature. Specifically his work examines the intersection of religion and security studies, religion and politics, and religion and public health. He is also an expert in Islam and African religions. In the fall he will be teaching a course on Religion and Violence in Africa with a focus on Boko Haram as an issues of global security issues on the 21st century. Dr Hellweg received his doctorate in anthropology from the University of Virginia in 2001. After a post-doctoral fellowship at the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS at Yale University, he joined the Anthropology Department at Florida State University (FSU) in 2001. In 2008, he joined FSU's Department of Religion. He completed his dissertation research in 1997 among an initiated group of dozo hunters in Northwestern Côte d'Ivoire on which he based his first book, Hunting the Ethical State: The Benkadi Movement of Côte d'Ivoire (2011). His second book, Anthropologie les premiers pas (First Steps in Anthropology) developed from a course on anthropological research methods he taught while a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Kankan, Guinea in 2008-2009. He has also published in Africa, Africa Today, Anthropology and Humanism, Antropologia, the Journal of the American Academy of Religion, the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Society, Migrations Société, and in several edited collections. He is now working on a book exploring the embodied and performative aspects of the Mande-language funeral songs of dozo hunters in Côte d'Ivoire and on a series of articles on the N'ko alphabet invented in 1949 in Côte d'Ivoire for the purpose of writing Mande languages. He is also a mentor to an ECU graduate major of Religious Studies who is completing his master/ PhD at Florida State University.

Student Spotlight

Kathryn Medinas

Kathryn Medinas

Kathryn Medinas was awarded the RCAW 2016 Undergraduate Student Award for her oral presentation in the area of Humanities. The title of her presentation was "From Equality to Exclusion: Women's Roles in the Early Church". This presentation was derived from her work with Professor Lee Johnson for her senior thesis project in the Honors College.

Katy is a senior, graduating in May 2016 with a Major in Multidisciplinary Studies--Religious Studies. She has been accepted into Duke Divinity School in Durham, NC in the Masters of Divinity Program to begin in the fall of 2016. She plans to pursue a track of study towards ordained ministry in the United Methodist Church.

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For more information, please contact the Program Director:

Dr. Mary Nyangweso
(252) 737-2422
E-mail