EIZWIJ W by the W orld Needs Kehglous btucues | Lulture | Kehglon Dispatches No matter what you “do with it,” really, the study of religion forces you to learn about geopolitics, languages, literatures, sciences, and histories. It’s no shoddy path to cultural literacy. In my own work, actually, religion has often been a gateway more than a destination; it has been an entry point for learning about, and working on, all kinds of other things. An added bonus, especially given the present business climate, is that religious studies raises questions of ethics: the foundations, the content, and the commensurability of various ethical systems. It’s an invitation to a meaningful life, and an examined life, and an ethical one. That, truth be told, is why I’m bothering to write this essay in the first place—I actually think having more religious studies people in high places would make the world better. Taking Over the World Allow me to end by offering a few recommendations for the field that gave me so much. Above all, I think it’s time that religious studies does more to prep its students and faculty for a more direct engagement with what I’ve been calling “the world.” The field is ready for it. On the faculty side, I think this means encouraging and rewarding teachers who gain experience working outside the academy, in other industries and professions where they can use some aspects of their training. Then, when they come back to the university, they’ll be much better equipped to advise students on a broader range of options than just teaching. (This, of course, should never be to the exclusion of those who really do nothing better than study forgotten texts in dead languages or conjure esoteric theories. Supporting these types, I hope against hope, will always be among the university’s chief responsibilities. Here, I’m mainly talking about the rest of us.) As far as students go, they need to practice noticing and talking about the skills and habits they’re getting in religious studies. They’ll have to articulate these things to their parents and prospective employers. I bet they can do it better than I have. When they do, they’ll be a lot more ready to take over the world, and that will be a good thing. This essay is based on a talk given to Brown University undergraduate religious studies majors at the invitation of their department.