In addition to working in an area of specialization, all graduate students and faculty in the department also participate in the exploration of one or more focus areas. These focus areas identify problems, chart trajectories cutting across different field specialties, and set the parameters for theoretical and methodological questions. Graduate students select one primary focus area as a subject of one of their comprehensive examinations. Work in the focus area consists of courses, which are integrated in the departmental curriculum and independent reading. At the programmatic level, the Department, in cooperation with the Institute for Religion, Culture, & Public Life sponsors seminars, courses, visiting lectures, and other events on issues related to the focus areas.
The reading list for each zone is intended to be a resource for faculty and students as they create syllabi, prepare for exams, and conduct research with a zone focus. We understand the lists as starting points for shared conversation and inquiry. As such they do not comprise a comprehensive canon of work in any of these areas. Faculty who teach a zone seminar or who administer a zone exam will consult the list and draw from it, but they will not include all the works that appear on the list and will add other works that do not appear. Students who focus on a zone will draw from it when tailoring their exam list in consultation with faculty, but they are not bound to stay within it.
Reading Lists can be found in the Graduate Forms Library and below descriptions of each zone.