University Curriculum and Religions: Museum, Mausoleum, or Mansion?
International Journal of Learning
This paper takes as its starting point an “exemplar” of Religious Studies education in the Ontario Secondary School System where students curated a museum exhibition of a religion. Taking the inherent implications of “museum” culture using Benedict Andersons’ Imagined Communities, this investigation imagines the death and rebirth of Religion in University education in a global world. The argument dissects the divisions and obvious exclusion of living religions from the more secular public space of learning and integration, and challenges the nature of this curriculum by proposing a grounded and centered application of religious knowledge at the post-secondary level as a natural concomitant to understanding the profoundly religious construction of the secular “mansion”, and its applicability in a world where boundaries have been eradicated by the Internet and other forms of telecommunications. While a curriculum and research fully integrates religious content, especially in the Social Sciences and literature, there remains a sense of remoteness. Finally, the paper concludes that the mansion model differs substantially from the “museum” of labels, glass cases, and disembodied scholarship into religions.