The American University in a Postsecular Age: Religion and the Academy

Hardcover | January 15, 2008

EditorDouglas Jacobsen, Rhonda Jacobsen

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For much of the 20th century, and especially since WW II, it was assumed that the university was and ought to be a secular institution. The goal of college or university education was to provide students with scholarly ways of understanding the world and themselves that required no appeal toGod, religion, or the sacred. As a result, American higher education came to be seen as not only secular itself, but as a secularizing force within society as a whole, promoting non-religious ways of thinking and living. A common assumption was that the need for faith would slowly evaporate ashumanity more fully understood the world through empirical scientific research. Today, however, this assumption of inexorable secularization is challenged by the resurgence of religion in public life and popular culture. This resurgence is also felt in the academy, and many are seeking to understandwhat the role of faith should be in academic life. The eleven essays in this book examine the intersection of religion with undergraduate education at America's mainstream colleges and universities. The essays in the first part of the book reflect on a variety of national conversations now underwayregarding how religion is or might be included in the academic side of higher education. Subsequent essays consider such specific matters as how faculty define their roles and relations with students in areas where either their own faith or that of their students is involved, and how students bringtheir faith or spirituality into the learning process. The volume is designed not as a work of advocacy either for or against religion in the classroom, but rather is meant to facilitate intelligent conversation about the different roles religion might and might not play in mainstream undergraduateeducation in America in a postsecular era.

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For much of the 20th century, and especially since WW II, it was assumed that the university was and ought to be a secular institution. The goal of college or university education was to provide students with scholarly ways of understanding the world and themselves that required no appeal toGod, religion, or the sacred. As a result, Am...

Douglas Jacobsen is a Distinguished Professor of Church History and Theology at Messiah College. Rhonda Jacobsen is a Professor of Psychology and Director of Faculty Development at Messiah College.

other books by Douglas Jacobsen

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:288 pages, 9.25 × 6.13 × 0.98 inPublished:January 15, 2008Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195323440

ISBN - 13:9780195323443

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"This timely and wide-ranging collection of essays provides an invaluable introduction to ongoing conversations about the place of religion in undergraduate education. If, as the editors contend, we are on the cusp of a 'postsecular' era, then I can think of no better guide to the shifting academic terrain." --Carol Geary Schneider, President of the Association of American Colleges and Universities