Welcome to the Department of Religion at UH Mānoa

Religion is one of the most pervasive and powerful realms of human experience. Our programs are designed to provide students with a broad knowledge of the world’s religious traditions and the skills necessary for analyzing and understanding their various dimensions. Students from our department learn to interpret religions as systems of meaning and are able to explore the numerous cultural phenomena that comprise them – the peoples, texts, sacred places, practices, rituals, art, music, and beliefs that perpetuate specific ways of living.

As a department within a major public research university, we are dedicated to the cultivation of a humanistic understanding of a wide range of religious traditions. Given our location in the Pacific and the multicultural environment we enjoy in Hawai‘i, our programs take the religious traditions of Asia and the Pacific as its special focus. Our expert faculty offers a unique set of research strengths, including: Buddhism in Asia and the West, Japanese religions, Hawaiian and Polynesian religions, Christianity in Asia and the Pacific, Indian religions and new religious movements. Students with advanced levels of language skills will also have the opportunity to translate and work with primary sources in Japanese, Chinese, Indian, and Polynesian languages.

Thank you for your interest in our department. We invite you to explore our website and discover more about our programs, our faculty, additional resources that we offer, and the career options that will be available to you with a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in Religion.



Contestation over the construction of telescope observatories on Mt. Graham and Mauna Kea exemplifies longstanding disputes about whether the sacred is here on Earth or somehow above and beyond the biosphere. For some, these telescopes are technologies of the sacred that can provide, awe, wonder, meaning, and even reverence for the universe and Earthly life. For others, these telescopes represent desecration and cultural genocide; they are imposed by the laws and martial powers of imperial settler societies that have deracinated indigenous peoples from most of their traditional lands. Bron Taylor, Professor of Religion, Nature, and Environmental Ethics at the University of Florida and a Rachel Carson Fellow in Munich Germany, seeks to illuminate these competing perspectives while putting them in global context by analyzing how they reflect emerging trends in nature-based spiritualities and citizen activism. This broader picture may indicate that, despite painful and fraught histories, new opportunities may be emerging for a rapprochement between those with worldviews that have long been, and have accurately been, seen as intractable.

December 3, 2019

3:00pm – 4:30pm

Kuykendall 209

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa


Bron Taylor is an interdisciplinary environmental studies scholar whose research and writing explores, through the lenses of the sciences and humanities, the complex relationships religion, ecology, ethics, and the quest for sustainability. His books include Dark Green Religion: Nature Spirituality and the Planetary Future (2010), Avatar and Nature Spirituality (2013), and Ecological Resistance Movements (1995). He is also editor of the Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature (2005) and the Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture. Taylor is Professor of Religion and Nature at the University of Florida and a Fellow of the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society in Munich, Germany. In 2017 he was recognized with a Lifetime Achievement award by the International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture. See also www.brontaylor.com.