Emma Fountain

Emma Fountain

Religion, International Relations, Spanish Majors

Religion became my third major after I saw just how deeply it is interwoven with international politics. I started at Syracuse University as an International Relations (IR) major, but quickly added Spanish after focusing on Latin American politics. Religion was always mentioned in my IR courses, but was never the focal point, yet I wanted to learn more about this complimentary subject. So I took Religion courses dealing with the impact of religious traditions on legal systems and perceptions of morality, and eventually declared Religion as a minor. I continued to be fascinated with religion not simply as an organized (and inevitably politicized) force, but also as a matter of personal identity. One thing that first drew me to the study of religion was the ambiguity of the subject. I have always thought of religion as personal spirituality and belief. It, however, is also an essential building block of every community. After I spent a semester in Chile, I was convinced that an understanding of the way in which religion influences choices would be invaluable in shaping foreign policy and improving diplomatic relations – pursuits I have dreamed of since high school. I strongly believe that religion exists because we exist: the two are inseparable and mutually dependent. I chose to study religion, then, because I think that attempts to make sense of any sort of relationship (between individuals, national representatives, or multinational organizations), while ignoring the influence of religion, is irresponsible and dangerous. I love this major and I know it will help me as I move forward. To study religion is to study humanity.