Religious Studies in Atlantic Canada: A State-Of-The-Art Review

By Paul W. R. Bowlby; Tom Faulkner | Go to book overview
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3
Departments and
Degree Programs in
Religious Studies

The study of religion is a meditation on cultural difference, the deep differences in what is ultimately valued.

Stephen D. Crites

Religious studies departments plan the requirements for a major, minor and honours degree program. They also plan how their subject can be developed and integrated into the general degree requirements of the humanities and social sciences of the Faculty of Arts and the university as a whole. The starting point for an understanding of the state of the art of religious studies is a comprehension of the place of religious studies within the universities of which it is a part and of each religious studies department's contribution to the Bachelor of Arts degree.
The Formative Traditions of Universities
Religious studies is a hotly contested field with many subjects, methods, assumptions, philosophies and theologies. No department in the Atlantic region ignores that fact. What departments are doing in their respective programs is defined by several formative elements:
the department'sfaculty, each with specific scholarly training;
the university'shistory and often very different contemporary culture;
the scholarly field of religious studies both nationally and internationally; and
the community at large.

These four formative elements are consistent with the 1990 study “scribed” by Stephen Crites, who observed that

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