Last night’s shooting during a prayer service in Charleston, SC, an abhorrent act, targeted the black church, an American institution that has stood since slavery for justice, compassion, and non-violence. It echoes other attacks on African-American communities of faith that span US history and reveal, again and again, our failure to accept and redress this country’s pathological racial past. The calculated and ruthless murders of worshipers in the act of prayer, coming after months of brutality against black men, women, and children by those who are sworn to protect them, underscores the depths of racial hatred and injustice that persist in the United States. As scholars who study religion and culture, human behavior, and political history, we categorically reject the response of those that declare “we will never understand” acts like this. Violence, bias, and hatred have social and historical causes that can and must be confronted. The Center for the Study of Religion, Culture, and Society stands with those who mourn and those who continue to condemn this pervasive injustice.


The Elon Center for the Study of Religion, Culture, and Society is the research arm of the Elon University multi-faith center, which is located in the heart of campus and seeks to foster a diverse community of study, discourse and practice that promotes mutual understanding and respect across and within religious traditions and belief systems and contributes to the development of global citizenship.

The Elon Center for the Study of Religion, Culture, and Society highlights and promotes the interdisciplinary study of religion, culture, and society. This faculty-led center draws together faculty from disciplines across Elon’s campus, with students, staff, community members, and experts from the region and beyond. The Center will work to foster research, teaching, and dialogue that informs community knowledge and action.

The Center offers rich and varied resources to fulfill the university’s vision of encouraging spiritual formation and expression, promoting religious literacy and respect for diverse faith traditions and world views, examining the role of religion in society, and supporting research and scholarship on religion. The Center invites broad participation of community members into meaningful dialogue, regardless of personal professions of faith, as a reflection of our commitment to modeling the respectful exchange of ideas and perspectives.

Center Intiatives include:

  • Supporting the interdisciplinary study of religion on Elon's campus among faculty and students;
  • Sponsoring colloquia on emerging and enduring issues related to the role of religion in culture and society;
  • Promoting excellence in undergraduate research related to the study of religion;
  • Establishing an international scholar-in-residence program;
  • Offering support for faculty on engaging the topic of religion in academic settings.

News and Events

Geoffrey Claussen publishes on "War, Scripture, and Moral Accounting"

Claussen's article was published in the June 2015 issue of The Journal of Scriptural Reasoning

Geoffrey Claussen presents at international conference on religion and violence
Geoffrey Claussen, Lori and Eric Sklut Emerging Scholar in Jewish Studies and Assistant Professor in the Department of Religious Studies, presented a paper at Wake Forest University's April 2015 International Conference on Religion, Violence and Peace. 


Brian Pennington presents research on 'Entrepreneurial Hinduism'

The director of Elon's Center for the Study of Religion, Culture, and Society discusses religion as livelihood in a developing region of the Indian Himalayas

Elon professor awarded Fulbright for work on Hindu death rituals

Assistant Professor Amy L. Allocco, the university's distinguished emerging scholar in religious studies, will conduct ethnographic fieldwork to achieve a better understanding of Hindu practices in modern day India.

Scholar gives talk about French Muslims in contemporary France

A Feb. 19, 2015, guest lecture by Professor Michel Bondurand of the NC Consortium Paris program spoke about the way Muslims in France practice their faith.