In 2001 in the wake of September 11th, faculty in the College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters at the University of Michigan-Dearborn established a Center for the Study of Religion and Society.
The Center’s primary focus is to provide interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary scholarly research on religion and its relationship to American society, in addition to promoting interfaith relations and increased cross-cultural understanding.
In 2017, the Center changed its name to the Center for Ethnic and Religious Studies (CERS) to reflect its expanded research and programmatic focus on ethnically and culturally diverse populations and the issues they face in the U.S. society.
Faculty affiliated with the Center for Ethnic and Religious Studies come from a range of disciplines including History, Anthropology, English, Political Science, Psychology, and Philosophy. Many are actively involved in research and outreach with the ethnically and religiously diverse communities in Dearborn and Metropolitan Detroit.
RELS 401/501: Contemporary Religion in U.S. Culture (aka the Worldviews Seminar) is the Center’s signature program is a cultural competency and religious literacy course.
Originally, connected to the Harvard Pluralism Project this innovative and unique course provides an overview of global religions and visits to local worship sites (e.g., Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Native American, Sikh). Offered each summer in June, enrollment in RELS 401/501: Contemporary Religion in U.S. Culture is open to UM-Dearborn undergraduate and graduate students, independent researchers, corporations and organizations, and community leaders.