Religion and Philosophy

Religion and Philosophy Overview

The courses offered by the religion and philosophy department are designed to help students explore the elemental questions of religious and philosophical inquiry, both as an academic discipline and as a constructive force to be applied to personal concerns and practical ethical issues. Students become familiar with ideas from diverse perspectives and are encouraged to clarify and gain confidence in their own informed viewpoints. Students are challenged to consider the many ways in which religious, philosophical, and ethical viewpoints have an impact on the contemporary world.
Suffield’s religion & philosophy curriculum teaches students to:
  • Think about and respond creatively to the important moral issues of our time
  • Understand diverse religious and philosophical traditions
  • Prepare for college admission tests

Course Descriptions

List of 6 frequently asked questions.

  • Eastern Religions

    This course will present a survey of the more well known Eastern religions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, and Islam. Their historical presence and their fundamental philosophies will be discussed, using Huston Smith’s The World’s Religions and other excerpted texts. Students will be able to differentiate between the essential forms of these religions and some current-day applications that are present in Hollywood films and in the news. This class is discussion-oriented, and students will complete small papers and media projects in relation to what they have learned.
  • Environmental Philosophy 

    This course traces the development of Western attitudes toward the environment. The core of the course revolves around a study of humankind’s relation to nature and its implications and consequences. Particular emphasis is placed on developing a new understanding to our present way of thinking. Readings include the writings of Henry David Thoreau, John Muir, Aldo Leopold, Arne Naess, and Edward Abbey. The texts include Nash’s Wilderness and the American Mind and Thoreau’s Walden and Walking.
  • Honors Comparative Religions

    As the world becomes more accessible through travel, the Internet, and other media sources, it is important we understand the religious issues that impact cultural perspectives. In this course, we will address stereotypes and review common knowledge by reading and discussing actual religious texts. Additional sources of information, such as documentaries, guest speakers, and other texts will broaden students’ understanding of each religion or philosophy. Students are expected to read analytically and independently, and use outside sources to understand nightly assignments. Essays, tests, presentations, and projects are part of this course; discussion is essential. Students who complete the course will have a better appreciation for the complications that followers and detractors bring to each faith.
  • Native American Studies

    Students in this class are exposed to many aspects of Native American life. Perspectives are developed through the writings of native and non-native authors. Video, outside resources, recordings, and hands-on opportunities allow students to experience the richness of Native American cultures. Texts include A Long Terrible Shadow, Keeping Heart on Pine Ridge, How It Is, and The Way to Rainy Mountain.
  • Philosophy of Education

    Through an examination of philosophical thought from Plato to Rousseau to Foucault, students will have the opportunity to consider various perspectives and proposals for the ideal educational system. This course will focus on a critical analysis of educational thought and practice to gain a greater understanding of the forces that shape our education. Texts include editor Joy Palmer’s Fifty Major Thinkers on Education and Fifty Modern Thinkers on Education.
  • Political Philosophy

    This course examines the following areas: The State of Nature, Justifying the State, Who Should Rule?, The Place of Liberty, The Distribution of Property, Individualism, and Justice and Feminism. The course also includes a unit on fascism. All of this helps us to explore one subject above all: the mystery of human nature and the eternal search to define it and to create a better social order based on it. The text is Jonathan Wolff’s An Introduction to Political Philosophy.

Religion and Philosophy Office

List of 1 members.

  • David Rockwell 

    Director of Leadership Program; Director of the SOLO Program
    Emporia State University - B.S., M.A.
    Wesleyan University - C.A.S.
    Read Bio
Suffield Academy   185 North Main Street   Suffield, Connecticut 06078   Phone 860.386.4400  |  Fax 860.386.4411