Study of Religion in Canada

Published by: Wilfrid Laurier University Press

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Study of Religion in Canada

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Religious Studies in Alberta

A State-of-the-Art Review

This first volume on the “state-of-the-art” in religious studies in Canada offers a description and critique of the field in the colleges, universities, and secondary schools in Alberta. Among the findings: philosophical-theological and textual approaches to the study of religion predominate, to the relative neglect of methodologies employed in fields such as sociology and anthropology; the quality and quantity of published research is significant but focusses on Christian studies; some interdisciplinary study is being carried on and benefits religious studies as well as other fields; religious studies scholars in Alberta have a relatively high public profile, but their exercise of public responsibility is time consuming and can jeopardize career advancement; in view of wide-spread religious illiteracy among students, descriptive courses must not be neglected in favour of analytical ones. An appendix listing courses offered in the schools surveyed concludes the volume.

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Religious Studies in Atlantic Canada

A State-of-the-Art Review

What is “Religious Studies” and what is its future in Atlantic Canada? How have universities founded by Roman Catholic and Protestant denominations, and public universities, differed as they approached the study of religious life and traditions?

Religious Studies in Atlantic Canada surveys the history and place of the study of religion within Canadian universities. Following a historical introduction to the public and denominationally founded universities in the Atlantic region, the book situates the departments of religious studies in relation to the distinctive characteristics of the various universities in the region, focusing on curriculum, research and teaching.

Bowlby examines the current strengths of the religious studies departments in Atlantic Canada, and where those departments are fragile, i.e., where departments have thrived because of careful long-term planning, as well as where crises of retirements have radically affected the size and strength of departments. In conclusion Bowlby suggests strategies for future survival and growth in the field of religious studies.

Religious Studies in Atlantic Canada is the last of a six-part series on the state of the art of religious studies in Canada, a unique account of the regional differences in the development of religious studies in Canada. Written for anyone interested in the teaching of religion as well as the specialist, the book provides an introduction and an overview of religious studies curricula, faculty research, and teaching areas at the region’s universities.

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Religious Studies in Manitoba and Saskatchewan

A State-of-the-Art Review

This fourth volume in a series of state-of-the-art reviews of religious studies programs in Canadian provinces traces the formative role of religion in the establishment of the universities in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Despite strong roots in denominational colleges, with their confessionally oriented study of religion, by the 1960s, “there was a diffused sense in the culture of the need for a religious perspective, and even a quest for religious experience, but at the same time there was a growing dissatisfaction with the conventional ways of being religious.” This new perspective, coupled with rising enrollments and increased funding, both a result of the explosion of post-secondary education in Canada, was reflected in a shift away from the theological study of religion to an academic one.

New Religious Studies departments that reflected a “science of religion” philosophy were founded, and faculty hired and curricula developed to meet these broader concerns. Current issues, such as graduate studies, research and publication, and faculty hiring are also treated, as are the Bible colleges and theological seminaries which play such an important role in both provinces. Assessments of religious studies research programs and their relation to the general community situate the programs in a wider context and indicate future directions. This solid, sensitively written volume adds considerably to our knowledge of religious studies in Canada and illustrates how yet another region is meeting the needs of a pluralistic society by providing new contexts for the study of religion.

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Religious Studies in Ontario

A State-of-the-Art Review

Most Ontario universities were established by Christian denominations; a Christian ethos was assumed and pervasive, and students were required to take courses designed to teach and inculcate religion. This insightful and comprehensive study demonstrates how, as Ontario society became secularized and pluralistic, so too did universities. Today, religion is again studies in university classrooms but as “religious studies,” a relatively new field that reflects the religiously pluralistic nature of Ontario and the world-wide explosion of knowledge.

This authoritative volume will be of interest to students of religion in and outside academic circles, to adminstratots of academic institutions and granting agencies and to persons wanting to know more about the social and cultural changes that have transformed Ontario and Canadian society.

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The Study of Religion in British Columbia

A State-of-the-Art Review

The Study of Religion in British Columbia is a story of enterprise, innovation and isolation. In this unique survey Brian J. Fraser examines the history and development of the institutions of higher education where religion is taught and describes the methods used to understand the religious dimension of human endeavour in Canada’s westernmost province.

Fraser analyzes the sources, development and persistence of two distinct approaches to the study of religion in British Columbia: theological studies and religious studies. He traces the early strength and recent expansion of theological studies, especially among conservative evangelical Christians, and sets the creation of British Columbia’s only department of religious studies at the University of British Columbia in this context. He also describes the innovative curricula designed by several of the institutions for the study of religion in the province. Finally, he contends that the differing views on the nature of religion held by these institutions and their constituencies have led to a continuing isolation from each other.

The Study of Religion in British Columbia is the latest volume in the Canadian Corporation for the Study of Religion’s series on the study of religion in Canada. Readers interested in the rich diversity of personalities and perspectives that have shaped religious studies in British Columbia will find here a concise description of its evolution and a thought-provoking examination of its significance.

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