Given the breadth and diversity of religious studies, there is no way we can map all the possible sorts of research projects that could qualify for comps. The following categories of paper topics are suggestive of directions you might consider, together with titles of comps projects from recent years that exemplify these possibilities.

A. Comparing particular religious phenomena across two religious traditions (or within the same tradition in different periods), or comparing ideas discussed by two religious thinkers or scholars

  • “Modern Muslims: Rethinking conversion in the autobiographies of Malcolm X and Muhammad Asad”
  • “The Ultimate Question: A Nietzschean Critique of Paul Tillich’s Conception of Doubt”
  • “Translatable Traditions: Spaces for Moral Discourse in Pluralistic Societies”
  • “Rendering the Moon: The Apophatic Discourses of Ibn ‘Arabi and Eihei Dōgen”
  • “Faith in Suffering: Engaging James H. Cone and Delores S. Williams”

B. In-depth studies of a particular religious figure, concept, or movement

  • “Buddhists Who Kill: Buddhist War Ethics in Sri Lanka”
  • “Christian Folk Art in Socialist Modernity: Visual Culture of China’s Protestant Revival”
  • “Qur’an Schools: Agents of Qur’anic Embodiment, Rhetorical Training, and Pedagogical Preservation”
  • “Here I am: The Vulnerability of the Self and Language in Emmanuel Levinas’ Ethics and Radical Feminist Discourse”
  • “Choosing Not to Be Chosen: Reconceptualizing Jewish Chosenness in Modernity”
  • “Voices from Outside: An Appeal for a Radical Womanist Mariology”
  • “Metro-Evangelization: Faith, Religion, and Social Capital in American Metropolitan Politics”
  • “Mary Magdalene and Claims to Authority in Early Christianity”
  • “Guadalupe: Devotion, Identity, and Power”
  • “Old Earth, New Heaven: The Evangelical Mission and the Saving of the Environment”
  • “Bending Towards Justice: Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Faith in the Beloved Community”

C. Studies of lived religion

  • “Suburban Holy Lands: The Battle for Hindu Presence in Suburban New Jersey”
  • “Walking to a New Self: An Ethnography of Spiritual but not Religious Pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago”
  • “Carrying the Torch of Columbine Martyrs: Narrative Construction in American Evangelicalism”
  • “Summoning Sango: The Moving Body in Sango Spirit Possession”
  • “Heirs of the Prophets: Knowledge and Authority in “Al-Jumuah” Magazine”
  • “Calling on the Lord: An Analysis of the 700 Club Prayer Counseling Center”

D. Exploring the intersection between religion and other areas of analysis (politics, gender, ecology, race, law, medicine)

  • “William James, Alcoholics Anonymous, and Religious Freedom: The Twelve Steps as an American Religious Movement”
  • “Women in Pain: How Narratives of Pain and Sacrifice Complicate the Debate over the Catholic Provision of Obstetrical Care”
  • “Prescribing Pranayama: The Integration of an Indic Breath Practice into American Biomedicine”
  • “A Mirror Every Moment Changing:” The Poetics of Muslim Identity in South Asia”