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1. “Bringing to Presence That Which Is Other”: Religious Discourses, Public Pedagogy, and the University Classroom

by Seán Henry (Author)
20 Pages
Open Access
Journal: PHILOSOPHY AND THEORY IN HIGHER EDUCATION Volume 2 Issue 3 Year 2020 pp. 11 - 30

Summary

The relationship between religion and higher education is often characterized by anxieties around religion in the university classroom. These concerns frequently leverage around the assumption that religion is necessarily contentious for the public university, either because of the need to resist the exclusionary privileging of religions in public spaces, or because of sensitivities around the preservation of traditional religious orthodoxies in increasingly pluralist times. Interestingly, both approaches to the relationship between religion and university education rest on the assumption that religion is fundamentally immutable, incapable of contestation, re-interpretation, or change. With the view to moving past the limits of such perspectives, I suggest that religious language and symbol (as two features of religious discourse) are far more poetic, fluid, and open-ended than is often assumed, and that it is precisely this open-endedness that underscores the possibility of engaging pedagogically with religion in the context of the university classroom. In this regard, I trace the affinities between the open-endedness of religious discourses and the “publicness” of pedagogy, suggesting that both registers open up possibilities for new ways of existing and relating in the world that are at once activist, experimental, and demonstrative. I conclude by reflecting on how these affinities offer resources for recalibrating what we mean by student “becoming” at the interface between religion and the university

Biographical notes

Seán Henry (Author)

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Title: 1. “Bringing to Presence That Which Is Other”: Religious Discourses, Public Pedagogy, and the University Classroom