Completion of Study of Religious Studies Programs in the Southeast

Project Number: 
Start Date: 
Mon, 07/01/1985
End Date: 
Mon, 12/01/1986

The 1950s proved to be a pivotal decade in the history of teaching about religion in American higher education. Prior to World War II, the serious study of religion was largely confined to the seminaries, some private colleges, and a handful of public institutions. The post-war years brought a decisive change as more public and private institutions added departments of religious studies, as seminaries encountered increasingly stiff competition from public institutions. Questions raised about this state of affairs included: Is a cleaner division of labor possible? What is the distinctive work of each kind of institution? How can needless overlap be avoided? A group of scholars at the University of Tennessee investigated these questions. Over the two years prior to this grant, they visited representative institutions throughout the southeastern region of the United States. Their inquiry yielded promising clues to needed reforms. Two major books on the subject were completed. (KA)