The History of Religion in American Higher Education

Douglas Jacobsen and Rhonda Hustedt Jacobsen

in No Longer Invisible

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199844739
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199950331 | DOI:
The History of Religion in American Higher Education

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The history of religion in American higher education can be divided into three periods or phases: Protestant, Privatized, and Pluriform. During the Protestant era (from the colonial period to about 1900), religion and character formation were central concerns even for schools not associated with a specific church or denomination. During the Privatized era (most of the twentieth century), religion was generally pushed into the private sphere of personal preference as the work of teaching and learning focused increasingly on objectivity and practicality. We are now living in a new Pluriform era in which various types of religion are prominent in cultural discourse. Religion’s “return” has been facilitated by several broad developments within higher education, including new emphases on multiculturalism, professional studies, and student-centered learning. The increasing religious diversity of the nation has also been a factor in making religion more visible on college and university campuses.

Keywords: Protestant era; privatized religion; pluriform religion; secularization; multiculturalism; professional studies; student-centered learning

Chapter.  6425 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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