About the Program

The department and its faculty have played a critical role in the development of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program, the Department of Religious Studies, the Jewish Studies Program and the Environmental and Sustainability Studies Program. This affinity to enrich the campus community and academic offerings continues today.

Women's and Gender Studies Program

  • In the mid-1980s, Cheshire Calhoun, Ph.D. taught a Women & Philosophy course.  She would go on to be the founding Coordinator of the Women's Studies program, 1988-91.  
  • LaVerne Shelton, Ph.D., a feminist philosopher, taught in the department from 1985-86. She was one of the first African American women to earn a Ph.D. in Philosophy as well as one of the first African American women faculty members at the College. 

Jewish Studies Program

  • Marty Perlmutter, Ph.D. helped establish the Yaschik/Arnold Jewish Studies program in the 1980s and served as a beloved director. In honor of him and his four decades of service to the College, Jewish Studies created Perlmutter Fellows – a three-year community leadership development and academic enhancement program.  

Environmental Studies

  • Ned Hettinger, Ph.D. was a member of the Committee on Environmental Studies and chaired the subcommittee on undergraduate development. The Minor in Environmental Studies was established in 1994. He co-taught the first instantiation of Introduction to Environmental Studies (the one required course in the minor) with Arch McCallum, Ph.D. of Biology in 1995. 
  • Ned Hettinger, Ph.D. also developed and taught the first version of the environmental studies seminar in 1996.  In addition of his academic contributions, Prof. Hettinger helped create the student club, Alliance for Planet Earth, and served as its Faculty advisor from 1989-2006.

Religious Studies

  • Marty Perlmutter, Ph.D. laid the groundwork for what is now a robust department. He sought administrative approval to establish a faculty line with a specialization in religion (Biblical studies).
  • The first religious studies instructor was Fred Branfon, Ph.D. Thanks to the popularity of these courses, the administration approved an additional faculty hire. June McDaniel, Ph.D. specialized in religious experience, specifically in Hinduism.
  • With the department’s expansion came a name change to the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies. By the early 2000s, the Religious Studies Department was formed as a separate entity from the Philosophy Department. 

Philosophy, Politics, and Law Concentration

  • In 2012, Larry Krasnoff, Ph.D. helped establish the Philosophy major with a concentration in Philosophy, Politics, and Law (PPLW) - one of the most popular concentrations at the College of Charleston.