- Hardcover: 208 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (August 3, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0199844739
- ISBN-13: 978-0199844739
- Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 0.8 x 6.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,230,744 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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No Longer Invisible: Religion in University Education 1st Edition
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"..a highly nuanced, superb study of exceptional lucidity and concision, a great resource for all educators interested in questions about religion in the public sphere, in different learning communities, and in individual lives."--Journal of Beliefs & Values: Studies in Religion & Education
"Douglas and Rhonda Jacobsen do not expect all their readers to be convinced . . . but they have laid out a playing field in which the serious games of 'religion' and 'university' intersect or are fought." --Journal of the American Academy of Religion
"[The Jacobsens'] model allows even public colleges and universities to understand how religious questions can impact teaching and scholarship." -- Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion
"The authors make a convincing argument that religion is both educationally unavoidable and pedagogically transformative . . . educating the whole student means being willing to take all perspectives - even religious perspectives - seriously, from classrooms to student affairs to administrative offices." --Teaching Theology and Religion
"The authors provide a much-needed source for understanding how religion connects with higher learning and how to capitalize on, rather than ignore, such connections." --Religious Studies Review
"The volume is a helpful guide for educators wishing to understand the evolution of religion in higher education, and challenges readers to understand the multifaceted dimensions of religion in individual, community, and university life." --Journal of College and Character
"Alas, the title lacks soul. But the book does not, and readers will be rewarded for their effort if they read this well-written and inviting volume." --Journal of Education and Christian Belief
"This volume is a wise, sophisticated, eminently readable, and profoundly important contribution to the literature of higher education in America. The Jacobsens eloquently and persuasively shatter the wall that has too often precluded the serious examination of how intimately religion and higher education interact. Religion is already an active agent in higher education, in the lives of teachers and students, as well as in the world that higher education is designed to explain and serve. This book informs, challenges and inspires its readers as it weakens the facile distinctions between religious and secular thought."--Lee S. Shulman, President Emeritus, The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
"An intelligent introduction to perhaps the most confused and contested issue on university campuses today-religion. By mapping key features of the contemporary discourse about religion and spirituality in higher education onto sturdy analytical categories from the academic study of religion, No Longer Invisible significantly advances an important conversation. If you are looking to understand religion on your campus-or wondering why you should bother to-read this book."--Patricia O'Connell Killen, Ph.D., Academic Vice President and Professor of Religious Studies, Gonzaga University
"No Longer Invisible is a hugely valuable book and a highly enjoyable read. Religion is a powerful force in our public square and in our students' lives. How campuses engage this force will help determine what role faith plays in our future - a bridge of cooperation or a barrier of division, a source of inspiration, or an excuse for destruction. This book is a great resource for anyone who wants to work proactively to incorporate religion into higher education." --Dr. Eboo Patel, Founder and President, Interfaith Youth Core
About the Author
Douglas "Jake" Jacobsen (Ph.D., University of Chicago), Professor of Religion, and Rhonda Hustedt Jacobsen (Ed.D., Temple University), Professor of Psychology, jointly direct the Religion in the Academy Project. Their previous publications include Scholarship and Christian Faith: Enlarging the Conversation (OUP, 2004) and the award-winning edited volume The American University in a Postsecular Age (OUP, 2008).
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The first part of the book seeks to describe the enterprise of American higher education and the shifting role of religion over the last four hundred years by identifying three eras: Protestant (1636 - late 19th century), Privatized (Late 19th century - Late 20th century), and Pluriform (Late 20th century - present) . Over the last few decades American religion has undergone two significant changes: (1) increasingly pluralistic culture and (2) the widespread acceptance of a new broader definition of religion that allows people to be viewed as religious who do not belong to an identifiable religious community. This new understanding of religion when combined with changes in university life [including (1) the rejection of epistemological objectivism and embrace of multiculturalism, (2) growth of professional studies and (3) growth of student-centered learning] has created an environment in which religion has regained relevance in higher education.
The second part of the book offers chapter length essays considering six different sites of engagement in areas where religion and higher education overlap. The substantive data and helpful analysis contained within these pages deserves consideration by those involved in all aspects of higher education.
The book ends with a brief conclusion that summarizes the authors' main arguments:
Religion has returned to higher education in the last two decades
Religion, as it is now understood, is not an extraneous add-on to the enterprise of learning
Providing proper attention to religion can be a means to revitalizing higher education
Most Christian leaders are well aware of the changing nature of American religion, but less well informed about the general shifts in higher education. Most professors and administrators are well aware of the changing nature of higher education, but less well informed about the general shifts in religious practice and understanding. Both groups benefit from the understanding advanced by the Jacobsen's. These leaders along with current and future students will benefit from the conversations and potential actions that follow.
Given that a picture is worth a thousand words, this table (56) summarizes the six loci of their concern, forming the titles of the core six chapters of the book. [Amazon reviews doesn't allow including tables, so I convert to an outline.]
A. Historic Religion. 1. Ideas: Religious Literacy. 2. Practices: Interfaith Etiquette.
B. Public Religion. 3. Ideas: Framing Knowledge. 4. Practices: Civic Engagement.
C. Personal Religion. 5. Ideas: Convictions. 6. Practices: Character and Vocation.
Although the primary voice is that of faculty members, we hear also from administrators, co-curricular educators, and students. For example, student voices are reported on pages 109, 123, 125, 129, 135, and 143.
In a mere 200 pages, generalizations are inevitable. For example, "[A]cademically successful scholars usually speak in public only about those fields of study in which they have academic standing." (128) One doesn't have to reach very far to observe loud exceptions--exceptions that form the core of what students usually talk about in late-night dorm bull sessions: religion, sex, and politics. So we have speaking outside their field of "academic standing" evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins on religion, entomologist Alfred Kinsey on sex, and linguist Noam Chomsky on politics.
More to the point, the generalization flies in the face of the very thesis that the Jacobsens promote so well: We are whole creatures who can't be fragmented into the professional and personal quite so easily.
Who is the audience for this book? Maybe because I'm a fish (professing mathematics at the Jacobsens' institution, an institution of Christian higher education) I'm not aware that what I'm swimming in is water (the professional/personal engagement that is higher education). I found myself saying, "I knew that." Reviewer Greg Smith said that the book is for academicians who haven't reflected on the role of religion, and Christian leaders who haven't thought about higher education. Are there such people? Will they read a book like this? I'm not sure.
If this book were titled in 16th century paragraph-as-title fashion, it might read "No Longer Invisible: Three Forms of Religion in Undergraduate University Education in the USA in the Second Decade of the 21st Century as Reported Primarily by Faculty Members in Interviews and in Writings: a Prolegomena."
I finished the book. I am still left with the Jacobsens' big question, "How can we attend to religion in a way that will revitalize higher education?" It's especially hard to do in universities which have no core. As former University of Chicago president Robert Maynard Hutchins famously said, "A university is an aggregation of separate sovereignties connected by a common heating plant."  We academicians have a lot of work to do.
 Mayer, Milton. Robert Maynard Hutchins: A Memoir. Berkeley: U. of California Press, 1993, pp. 97-98.