Dr.Alisa Perkins is awarded the whiting Seed grant

Whiting Seed Grant (1 of only 5 awarded) Goes to Dr. Alisa Perkins, Department of Comparative Religion, Western Michigan University for her project "Religion, Race, and Revitalization: The Detroit Muslim Storytelling" Dr. Perkins is collaborating with Dream of Detroit, a community-based nonprofit, to create an interactive multimedia website, public archive, short film, and publications documenting the distinctive past and Muslim-led revitalization of a West Detroit neighborhood that is over 90% African American and overwhelmingly low-income. Although Michigan is home to a thriving Muslim population, inner city African American social justice initiatives are often distanced from larger Muslim networks due to race and class divides. This community-led initiative will safeguard the neighborhood’s history and empower a new generation with knowledge about the past.
The Whiting Public Engagement Program (WPEP) is a distinctive national grant founded to champion the public humanities in all forms, and to highlight the roles scholars play in work to deploy the humanities for the public good. Since it began in 2016, the WPEP has given $2.4 million to launch and expand projects in the US and beyond. Winners are selected through a highly competitive process beginning with nomination by a university, scholarly society, or state humanities council and proceeding through two further stages of peer review by expert public humanists.


Congratulations to one of our own, Austin Avison! The Western Michigan University Center for the Humanities is pleased to announce the winning papers from the 2021 WMU Graduate Humanities Essay Contest. While all of the papers submitted were compelling and well researched, the prize-winning papers were particularly strong along with being the most complete and polished.

  • The first place prize ($1000)  is awarded to Jason Rose: “Mentalités and the Search for Total History in the Works of Annalistes, Foucault, and Microhistory"
  • The runner-up prize ($600) goes to Austin Avison: “Delusional Mitigation in Religious and Psychological Forms of Self-Cultivation: Buddhist and Clinical Insight on Delusional Symptomatology”

4+1 Master's Degree PROGRAMs

Check out the information regarding our 4+1 programs as published on the College of Arts and Sciences website!

Dr. Cybelle Shattuck's new publication

Congratulations to Dr. Shattuck on the publication of her new book, Faith, Hope, and Sustainability.

office hours

We are open Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through via remote office hours and resources.

For remote contact, please contact Tonja Iocca, Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

If you have an immediate need outside of those hours, you may contact Dr. Steve Covell.

Virtual appointments can be coordinated. Email the individual you need to meet with to set up that appointment. If you are unsure who you need to meet with, contact Tonja Iocca for assistance.

Dr. Alisa Perkins most recent publication

Congratulations to Dr. Perkins on the July 7 release of her book, "Muslim American City: Gender and Religion in Metro Detroit." What a fantastic accomplishment plus an interesting and informative read!

research project on the pandemic and religion

Our research project on the pandemic and religion made the local news! The project is just about to move from data gathering to analysis and the creation of pedagogy modules. Stay tuned for more! If you are a teacher and are interested in our pedagogy modules (how to to teach about various aspects of religion and the pandemic), please contact Dr. Steve Covell to let him know. We'd love your feedback.

Great read regarding Dr. Brian Wilson

Read this great article in WMU News regarding Dr. Wilson and his award winning book, "John. E. Fetzer and the Quest for the New Age."

4 + 1 Program with Kalamazoo College and Grand Valley state university

The Department of Comparative Religion is pleased to announce the creation of another 4+1 graduate program! We now partner with the Department of Religion at Grand Valley State University as well as the Department of Religion at Kalamazoo College. Under these programs, students majoring in religion at these schools will be able to transfer up to 12 credit hours of work towards their master's degree in comparative religion at Western Michigan University.

For questions, please contact the graduate advisor Dr. Cynthia Visscher.

Study religion at WMU

Do you want to know more about religion, the role and significance of religion in societies and the ways in which academics think about and analyze religion? Areas of study in Western Michigan University's Department of Comparative Religion provide knowledge and skills relevant to many careers and professions.

The 2021 Japanese Religion and Culture Study Abroad Seminar

See the attached flyer for info regarding the 2021 Japanese Religion and Culture Study Abroad Seminar and/or contact Dr. Covell if you want to go or know someone who might be interested. We take students from other schools who want a unique experience in Japan. If you have friends or family studying elsewhere, bring them with you! This year we split the program into two halves to make more affordable options. The first half is the original two-week three-credit hour course that centers around the home base Zojoji in downtown Tokyo. The second part includes Kyoto, Hiroshima and Miyajima.

There are few things more important to study today than religion

Don't take our word for it, just listen to the US Secretary of State John Kerry: "I often say that if I headed back to college today, I would major in comparative religions rather than political science." This is a great read.

Scholarships available

Take advantage of these great opportunities for funding.