Trail Markers in a Time of Transition

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:
Trail Markers in a Time of Transition

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As religion began to “return” to higher education in the late twentieth century, faculty and administrators developed a number of informal guidelines for dealing with religion when it appeared on campus. Generally these were “tactical” responses—ways of handling religion so it would not get out of control. These guidelines or “trail markers” charted safe routes for educators to follow through the new terrain of religion on campus. Four trail markers are widely used: (1) spirituality (versus religion); (2) teaching about religion (versus teaching religion itself); (3) difficult dialogues; and (4) big questions. Each of these trail markers points toward a significant issue related to religion, but each has limitations. Even taken together, they fail to provide a comprehensive map of religion’s current place within higher education. A better map of religion is needed, one that helps colleges and universities ask more fruitful questions about religion and its connections with higher learning.

Keywords: spirituality; teaching about religion; religious studies; difficult dialogues; big questions

Chapter.  7130 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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