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The Decline of the Secular University: Why the Academy Needs Religion


reviewed by Darryl G. Hart — March 29, 2007

coverTitle: The Decline of the Secular University: Why the Academy Needs Religion
Author(s): C. John Sommerville
Publisher: Oxford University Press, Oxford
ISBN: 0195306953 , Pages: 160, Year: 2006
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With The Decline of the Secular University, C. John Sommerville joins the chorus of recent scholars, including George M. Marsden, Mark Schwenn, Warren A. Nord, and Douglas Sloan that laments in various minor keys the secularization of American higher education. But this book goes farther than the others by positing that the university is now irrelevant to American society. The culprit is the university's disdain for religion. In the introduction, Sommerville illustrates the irrelevance of the university by asking where do students go to learn how to spend their money. "We have lots of programs that tell you how to make money and be useful to the economy," he writes (p. 8). But to learn what "the point" of money is, or what is "valuable in and of itself," is something the university fails to address. In Sommerville's estimate, "universities fail to connect with people's most urgent questions" (p. 9). The... (preview truncated at 150 words.)


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record, Date Published: March 29, 2007
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 14013, Date Accessed: 10/18/2017 2:44:10 PM

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About the Author
  • Darryl Hart
    Intercollegiate Studies Institute
    E-mail Author
    D. G. HART is the Director for Partnered Projects at the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. He is the author of The University Gets Religion: Religious Studies and American Higher Education (1999) and most recently of A Secular Faith: Why Christianity Favors a Separation of Church and State (2006). He is currently writing a book on the Religious Right and American Conservatism.
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