About the discipline
Religion has shaped much in the way of world history on every continent, from the beginning of recorded time. It has led and suppressed the search for information; been the impetus for and result of conquest; provided guidance for civic laws and engagement; and defined national identities. Perhaps the greatest benefit the Center on Religion & the Professions can provide is lending historical background to current problems concerning religion and public life.
Education about history and religion is important in helping people to become more aware of religious faiths in their workplace and in the public arena. Understanding why we sometimes have biases toward or against certain faiths or cultures is often steeped in historical patterns, and identifying those for the purpose of education is useful.
Religion and study of history: A hot topic in religious scholarship is the influence of non-religious researchers. Much has been made of the Jesus Seminar, for example, which brought together scholars for the purpose of determining what actually happened in the life of Jesus. Religious scholars, who operate upon religious presuppositions, tend to object to purely naturalistic inquiry of a topic that deals with the supernatural. Bridging the gap in scholarship, as well as in public life, is one possible avenue of research.
Social studies: Those aiming to teach social studies in primary and secondary education can help inform new generations of youth about an increasingly complex world – made more complex by growing diversity in religion, culture, ethnicity and national identity brought close to home by global communication and national events. Incorporating pertinent religious background and impact on history, geography, economics, civics, psychology, anthropology and world religions (see related links) provides students with a better understanding of past and current events and the complex world in which we live.
Interdisciplinary work: The Center offers chances to link social science inquiry with those in other departments. Historical research or social science research can be combined with other disciplines to produce innovative research into how religion interacts with public life. Much of religious tradition has historical background that it brings to any public interaction, and identifying those traits is important.
The Center’s affiliation with the School of Journalism gives the social science researcher unique opportunities for study. Much of the work being done in journalism research is in the area of social science, utilizing MU’s PRIME lab to conduct research into how people cognitively and emotionally process media. The Center can help partner researchers to do unique studies to answer social science questions. The Center’s partnership with the School of Journalism can also help link historical researchers to ways in which journalists can be better trained in history and religion, better perform their jobs, and increase public understanding of complex issues.
Current issues: Much of what occurs in the world today needs historical background for better understanding. Religious and cultural conflicts in the Middle East and other parts of the world are based on historical factors, which often have religious ties. Researchers can study the impact of historical knowledge on people’s perceptions of current events, or more deeply research past events to provide broader insight in the present day. Researchers could track the influence of religion on historical development over time and map an arc for present religious influence on the future. They may be interested in interdisciplinary study in specific fields that are informed by history and religion.
- “Nazism as a Secular Religion” by Milan Babik. History and Theory. 45, no. 3 (2006): 375-396.
- “Christianity as an Arm of Empire: The Ambiguous Case of India Under the Company, c. 1813-1858” by Ian Copland. Historical Journal. 49, no. 4 (2006): 1025-54.
- “Sikh Community: Over 100 Years in the Pacific Northwest” by Purnima Dhavan, Kym S. Rice and Benjamin Filene. Journal of American History. 93, no. 3 (2006): 819-21.
- “The Limits of Conversion: Ritual Murder and the Virgin Mary in the Account of Adam of Bristol” by Harvey J. Hames. Journal of Medieval History. 33 no. 1 (2007): 43-59.
- “The Dilemma of Quaker Pacifism in a Slaveholding Republic, 1833-1865” by Ryan Jordon. Civil War History. 53, no. 1 (2007): 5-28.
- “The Savage Science: Sigmund Freud, Psychoanalysis, and the History of Religion” by Michael Mack. Journal of Religious History. 30, no. 3 (2006): 331-53.
- “Science and Religion, 400 B.C.-A.D. 1550: From Aristotle to Copernicus” by Margaret J. Osler. Journal for the History of Astronomy. 37, no. 4 (2006): 486-7.
- “The Southern Way of Death: The Meaning of Death in Antebellum White Evangelical Culture” by Randy J. Sparks. Southern Quarterly. 44, no. 1 (2006): 32-50.
- “Nature and the Godly Empire: Science and Evangelical Mission in the Pacific, 1795-1850” by John Stenhouse, International History Review. 29 no. 1 (2007): 143-5.
- “The Sepphoris Synagogue: Deciphering an Ancient Message Through Its Archaeological and Socio-Historical Contexts” by Adam L. Porter. American Journal of Archaeology. 111, no. 1 (2007): 179.
- “A glimpse at religion in Turkey 2,800 years ago.” Dallas Morning News, Nov. 19, 2008.
- “Tomb of Herod the Great may have been found” by Ed O’Loughlin. Sydney Morning Herald, May 9, 2007.
- “Religion can help end wars, too; Faith is sometimes the fuel that feeds conflict and spreads strife. History is a witness to this. But lest we forget, believers also can be the salve to bring people and religions back together” by Tom Krattenmaker. USA Today, July 14, 2008.
- “People of the Book – The Forgotten History of Islam and the West” by Tim Cribb.South China Morning Post, Nov. 18, 2007.
- Women, Gender, and Radical Religion in Early Modern Europe. Sylvia Monica Brown (ed.). BRILL, 2007.
- Reason and Religion in the English Revolution: The Challenge of Socinianism. Sarah Mortimer. Cambridge University Press, 2010.
- Jesuits and the Politics of Religious Pluralism in Eighteenth-Century Transylvania. Paul Shore. Ashgate Publishing, 2007.
- Society Without God: What the Least Religious Nations Can Tell Us about Contentment. Phil Zuckerman. New York University Press, 2008.
- The Natural History of Religion. David Hume. NuVision Publications, LLC, 2007.
- Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years. Israel Shahak. Pluto Press, 1997.
- Islam: Religion, History, and Civilization. Seyyed Hossein Nasr. HarperOne, 2002.
- History of the World’s Religions. David S. Noss. Prentice Hall, 2007.
- Religion in American History. Amanda Porterfield and John Corrigan (eds.). Wiley-Blackwell, 2009.
- Religion in American Life: A Short History. Jon Butler. Oxford University Press, U.S.A, 2007.
- American Religions: A Documentary History. R. Marie Griffith. Oxford University Press, U.S.A., 2007.
- The Reformation: Towards a New History by Lee Palmer Wandel. Cambridge University Press, 2011.
- A People’s History of Christianity: The Other Side of the Story. Diana Butler Bass, HarperOne , 2009.
- Night of the Confessor: Christian Faith in an Age of Uncertainty by Tomas Halik. Image, 2012.
- Religion in American Politics: A Short History. Frank Lambert. Princeton University Press, 2008.
- Homies and Hermanos: God and Gangs in Central America by Robert Brenneman. Oxford University Press, USA, 2011.
- Religion and the Human Prospect. Alexander Saxton. Monthly Review Press, 2006.
- The Christian World: A Global History. Martin Marty. Modern Library, 2008.
- Religion in History: Conflict, Conversion and Co-existence. John Wolffe (ed.). Manchester University Press, 2004.
- Red State Religion: Faith and Politics in America’s Heartland by Robert Wuthnow. Princeton University Press, 2011.
- Aown, Najwa M. “A place for informal learning in teaching about religion: The story of an experienced non-Muslim teacher and her learning about Islam.”Teaching and Teacher Education. Vol. 27, No. 8 (Nov. 2011): 1255-64.
- Regulating religion: Case Studies from Around the Globe. James T. Richardson. Springer, 2004.
- “Religion as Hatred: Antisemitism as a Case Study” by John T. Pawlikowski. Paper presented at the Conference to Establish the Field of Hate Studies, Spokane, WA, March 19, 2004.
- “Religious fundamentalist movements: social movements in the World System? Case study of the Maitatsine Movement in Nigeria, 1980-85” by Katarzyna Skuratowicz. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association, Marriott Hotel, Loews Philadelphia Hotel, Philadelphia, PA, Aug 12, 2005.
Codes of ethics
- American Historical Association – “Professional Standards”
- Oral History Association – Evaluation Guidelines – Principles and Standards
- Social Science Research Council – Mission Statement
- Department of Health and Human Services – Guidance of Engagement of Institutions in Human Subjects Research
- American Association for Public Opinion Research – Code of Professional Ethics & Practices
- American Antiquarian Society – Policy on Professional Ethics
- Organization of American Historians – Statement on Honesty and Integrity
- National Council on Public History – Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct
- History of Religions
- International Review for the History of Religions
- Journal of the American Academy of Religion
- Religion, State & Society
- Church History
- Annual Review of the Social Sciences of Religion
- Journal of Hellenic Studies
- Journal of Religion & Society
- Worldviews: Environment, Culture, Religion
- Sociology of Religion
- Journal of Ritual Studies
- Maps of War – History of Religion
- The Material History of American Religion Project
- Divining America: Religion in American History
- African-American Religion: A Documentary History Project
- Study About Religions in the Social Studies Curriculum, a Position Statement of National Council for the Social Studies
- Religion in the Social Studies Curriculum, ERIC Digest
- Role of Religion in Human History: Interview with Alexander Saxton (March 22, 2007)
Professional associations and faith groups
- American Academy of Religion
- American Jewish Historical Society
- American Society of Church History
- Association for the Study of Classical African Civilizations
- North American Association of Islamic and Muslim Studies
- Association of Muslim Social Scientists UK
- Baptist History and Heritage Society
- British Association for the Study of Religion
- Canadian Society for the Study of Religion
- Committee for the Scientific Examination of Religion
- Conference on Faith & History
- International Association for the History of Religions
- International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies
- Lutheran Historical Conference
- Society for the Scientific Study of Religion
- Babik, Milan. “Nazism as a Secular Religion.” History and Theory. 45, no. 3 (2006): 375-396.
- Copland, Ian. “Christianity as an Arm of Empire: The Ambiguous Case of India Under the Company, c. 1813-1858.” Historical Journal. 49, no. 4 (2006): 1025-54.
- Dhavan, Purnima, Kym S. Rice and Benjamin Filene. “Sikh Community: Over 100 Years in the Pacific Northwest.” Journal of American History. 93, no. 3 (2006): 819-21.
- Hames, Harvey J. “The Limits of Conversion: Ritual Murder and the Virgin Mary in the Account of Adam of Bristol.” Journal of Medieval History. 33 no. 1 (2007): 43-59.
- Jordon, Ryan. “The Dilemma of Quaker Pacifism in a Slaveholding Republic, 1833-1865.” Civil War History. 53, no. 1 (2007): 5-28.
- Kamat, Sangeeta and Biju Mathew. “Religion, education and the politics of recognition: a critique and a counter‐proposal.” Comparative Education. Vol. 46, No. 3 (2010): 359-76.
- Mack, Michael. “The Savage Science: Sigmund Freud, Psychoanalysis, and the History of Religion.” Journal of Religious History. 30, no. 3 (2006): 331-53.
- Sparks, Randy J. “The Southern Way of Death: The Meaning of Death in Antebellum White Evangelical Culture.” Southern Quarterly. 44, no. 1 (2006): 32-50.
- Stenhouse, John. “Nature and the Godly Empire: Science and Evangelical Mission in the Pacific, 1795-1850.” International History Review. 29 no. 1 (2007): 143-5.