Posts Tagged ‘higher education’

September 10th, 2013

Light without Fire: The Making of America’s First Muslim College

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Scott Korb, who teaches at the New School and New York University, recently published a book, Light without Fire: The Making of America’s First Muslim College, that describes the founding of Zaytuna College in Berkeley, California.

July 1st, 2013

No Longer Invisible: Religion in University Education

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In their recent publication, No Longer Invisible: Religion in University Education, Douglas Jacobsen and Rhonda Hustedt Jacobsen discuss how religion has increasingly become more intertwined with the work higher education as well as how the “religious” and “secular” are blending together.

April 12th, 2013

CFP: Religious Studies 50 years after Schempp

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On September 27-29, 2013, the Department of Religious Studies at Indiana University-Bloomington will host a conference entitled “Religious Studies 50 Years after Schempp: History, Institutions, Theory.” Conference organizers have issued a call for papers.

March 19th, 2013

Conference: Religion and the Idea of a University

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Religion and the Idea of a Research University, an interdisciplinary project of the Cambridge Inter-faith Programme at the University of Cambridge, will be hosting an international and interdisciplinary conference (April 3-5) exploring the question of: What place does religion have in the Western research university?

December 5th, 2012

Funding for atheists

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Recently, the University of Wisconsin-Madison gave the student organization, Atheists, Humanists, and Agnostics (AHA) $69,000, the largest amount of grant money ever given to a non-theistic, student-led organization by a college or university.

May 14th, 2012

The graduation wars

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In Il Sussidiario, Michael Sean Winters gives his opinion on the recent controversies surrounding commencement speakers invited to Catholic institutions of higher education.

May 4th, 2012

Catholic doctrine and universities

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In a recent article, Libby A. Nelson discusses the role of faith in Catholic universities and puts forth the question, how Catholic are these institutions?

March 2nd, 2012

College, religion, and Santorum

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A 2007 SSRC study on religion and higher education contradicts Rick Santorum’s claims about loss of faith and college attendance.

February 23rd, 2012

The NYPD’s religious profiling

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Ta-Nehisi Coates comments on the New York Police Department’s profiling of Muslim student populations throughout the northeastern U.S.

July 27th, 2011

The house that D’Souza built?

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Earlier this year, Jonathan D. Fitzgerald, a former adjunct professor at King’s College, wrote an exposé for Killing the Buddha on the small Evangelical and—at least in the eyes of its authorities, if not in those of all of its students—politically conservative college housed in New York’s Empire State Building. Now, Andrew Marantz, of New York Magazine, takes a closer look at D’Souza’s tenure, the college’s sense of its vocation, and the student body being trained to become, in D’Souza’s words, “dangerous Christians.”

July 18th, 2011

The “Axis of Antisemitism”

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Jonathan Rauch responds to James Kirchick’s Tablet Magazine article on the shuttering of Yale’s Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Anti-Semitism.

May 17th, 2011

Claremont School of Theology to train Christians, Jews, and Muslims

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This week, Claremont School of Theology in California announced that a large financial gift will allow them to transform the seminary into an institution that will train Christians, Jews, and Muslims. According to The Los Angeles Times, the new university—which will be called Claremont Lincoln University, in the couple’s honor—will serve as an umbrella for three largely separate programs: the existing program for Christian pastors-in-training, another program for rabbis, and a third for imams.

January 19th, 2011

God, money, and power

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At Killing the Buddha, John D. Fitzgerald describes the inside of a little-known conservative Christian college in the heart of New York City.

January 5th, 2011

The good, the bad, and the ugly

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It is worthwhile to pause and ask why so many educators are committed to the suspension of religious identity in the classroom. After all, educators ordinarily encourage their students to bring to their studies a deep engagement with the material—that is, to bring their perspectives, experiences, commitments, and passions to the topics and issues at hand. But what about students’ religious commitments and perspectives? Why are these seen as a special case? Why ask students to bracket off religious beliefs from the stock of all their other beliefs, especially given the epistemological and psychological implausibility of achieving such bracketing? To some extent, students can express their religious perspectives by other means, including covert ones. Yet from an educational point of view, do we want our students to suppress the actual reasons (in this case, the religious reasons) that tacitly support their perspectives in the classroom? Can we justify placing this particular burden on students with religious perspectives?

January 3rd, 2011

The spiritual and the scholarly

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Just as it is helpful for universities to think through constitutional aspects of federalism within the context of university governance, it can also be instructive for universities to follow a constitutional approach to secularism within a multifaith university environment. Contrary to popular opinion, the First Amendment does not mandate a “wall of separation” between religion and the state but, rather, prohibits the state from establishing or endorsing one religious tradition over another. According to First Amendment jurisprudence, it is possible for the state to engage with religion in a non-preferential, non-proselytizing capacity and still be considered “secular” in a constitutional context.

December 22nd, 2010

Soul-making and careless steps

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For once, practice actually lags behind theory. In their very interesting post on “Reconceiving the secular and the practice of the liberal arts,” Kahn, MacDonald, Oliver, and Speers find that the concerted academic revaluation of secularization and secularism has not trickled down to relatively elite private liberal arts colleges. In their account, these institutions remain committed, both explicitly and implicitly, to some version of a distinction between the secular and the religious: religious belief is fine, but it has no place in the classroom. This distinction, of course, is designed to protect the kinds of things that academic institutions hold dear: critical thought, intellectual freedom, tolerance, diversity. But, the authors wonder, might “uncritical assumptions about the secular” actually make these things harder, by “stripping some students and faculty of fundamental aspects of their identities—in particular, their religious identities”?

December 15th, 2010

Nothing human is foreign to me

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The problem as I see it is not that students in the liberal arts are somehow forbidden to argue their religious views but that, whether they are religious or secular, they do not get sufficient exposure to religious texts. These texts contain many strange and interesting things—often surprising to religious and unreligious students alike. They uncover possibilities of being human. But in order for these possibilities to emerge, they need to be approached in a secular spirit. That is, their specifically theological language needs to be translated into a conceptual language through which people can imagine a given possibility without a prior or subsequent adherence to it as the absolute truth.

July 15th, 2010

Teaching Catholicism and sexual morality

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The dismissal of Kenneth Howell, a University of Illinois adjunct professor of Catholic history and thought, has generated much discussion and commentary in the last week, most of it focusing upon the appropriateness, tone, and argumentative validity of an email that he sent to students prior to their Spring semester exam.

July 14th, 2010

The battle over Islamic Azad University

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A university campus has become the ground for a political battle between conservatives and moderates in Iran.  President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has pushed to take over Islamic Azad University, a private university, after it became a haven for political involvement in the Green Movement.  This action seems to be directed at former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, founder and chairman of the board of Azad, who “all but allied himself with the Green movement” this past year.

June 29th, 2010

The “inter-religious” university and the Christian right

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In early June, the Claremont School of Theology announced that it would merge with its local Jewish and Muslim counterparts to form an inter-religious university this coming fall.  Philip Clayton discusses the controversy this has aroused in conservative Christian communities.

February 22nd, 2010

A trifecta of problems

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Three of Insider Higher Ed’s most recent dispatches focus on a trifecta of problems in the academic study of religion.

January 15th, 2010

The evangelical flagship at a crossroads

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As Wheaton College, known for decades as the “evangelical Harvard,” searches for a new president, the flagship evangelical institution stands at a crossroads.  Writing in the SoMA Review, Cornell University philosopher Andrew Chignell (a member of the class of 1996) reports on the concerns many faculty members have about the school.

February 23rd, 2008

Beyond The God Delusion

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The university classroom has become a battleground in the science and religion wars. In a controversial 2005 state of the university address Cornell University President Hunter Rawlings stated, “Religiously-based opposition to evolution . . . raises profound questions about . . . what we teach in universities and it has a profound effect on public policy.” The growing controversy over the role of religion in higher education led me to ask how top university scientists think they ought to respond to religiously based challenges to science. […]

February 16th, 2008

Religion’s return

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The Immanent Frame symbolizes a sea-change in American higher education. When I was in graduate school in the early 1990s, I don’t recall the SSRC taking a special interest in the academic study of religion. Today a visitor to the SSRC webpage is confronted with an entire program area on “Religion and the Public Sphere,” with links to such topics as “Religion and International Affairs” and “The Religious Engagements of American Undergraduates.” Far from a marginal area at the SSRC, such initiatives have attracted the involvement of such world-class scholars as Talal Asad and Robert Bellah. […]

February 13th, 2008

New freedoms in Turkey — for whom?

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Turkey’s ban of the headscarf on university campuses — rather than the headscarf itself — has become a serious impediment to women’s participation in economic and professional life. Three-quarters of Turkey’s female population covers in some fashion. The ruling Muslim-inflected Justice and Development Party (known by its Turkish acronym AKP) made a deal this week with the nationalist MHP in parliament to secure enough votes to eliminate the ban. […]