Collegium on Religion in American Intellectual Life

Project Number: 
Start Date: 
Sun, 12/01/1996
End Date: 
Thu, 05/31/2001

The National Humanities Center (NHC) developed a focused interdisciplinary collegium to encourage religious research and teaching in the humanities. Each year four scholars (a distinguished senior scholar, two junior scholars, and a post-doctoral scholar) are selected as part of the NHC's residential fellowship program. These scholars work on a variety of individual projects, usually book-length manuscripts, and they form the core of monthly interdisciplinary seminars that also includes scholars interested in religion who are either in residence at NHC or in the region. The program also sponsors a colloquium featuring five major speakers on issues related to teaching and scholarship concerning religion.
<p>Discussions at the various conferences and the scholarship produced by the fellows suggest that the place of religion in higher education cannot be revitalized by focusing on isolated areas of intellectual life. Instead, the general culture of contemporary American colleges and universities must be considered. The contemporary culture of higher education, with its emphasis on religious phenomena merely as aspects of history, sociology, literature, etc., does not promote explorations of religion for religion’s sake. In order to restore the profile of religion in higher education, the center has fostered discussion around the issues of resistance to religion and mainstreaming religion into intellectual culture. (KH)