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Long Eclipse

Long Eclipse: The Liberal Protestant Establishment and the Canadian University, 1920-1970

Copyright Date: 2004
Pages: 272
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  • Book Info
    Long Eclipse
    Book Description:

    Taking a social and cultural history approach, Gidney argues that for much of the twentieth century a liberal Protestant establishment imparted its own particular vision of moral and intellectual purpose to denominational and non-denominational campuses alike. Examining administrators' pronouncements, the moral regulation of campus life, and student religious clubs, she demonstrates that Protestant ideals and values were successfully challenged only in the post-World War II period when a number of factors, including a loosening of social mores, a more religiously diverse student body, and the ascent of the multiversity finally eroded Protestant hegemony. Only in the late 1960s, however, can one begin to speak of a university whose public voice was predominantly secular and where the voice of liberal Protestantism had been reduced to one among many.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-7232-4
    Subjects: Education

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. xiii-2)

    In October 1967, students and faculty at the University of Toronto organized their third annual teach-in. Previous teach-ins had focused on what we now see as typical sixties topics, with titles such as Revolution and Response – which centred on the Vietnam war – and China: Coexistence or Containment. Yet in 1967 two students, Jeffrey Rose and Michael Ignatieff, persuaded the International Forum Foundation, the organizing body of the teach-in, to let them develop it around the title Religion and International Affairs. These two young men, wrote Kingsley Joblin of Emmanuel College in the alumni magazineVictoria Reports, “had become...

  5. 1 “To live the good life”: The Moral Vision of the University from the 1920s to the 1960s
    (pp. 3-25)

    During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries the university was clearly being reshaped by the growing emphasis on research, graduate studies, and professional education – what A.B. McKillop and others describe as the gospel of research and the culture of utility. Yet these were not the only influences at work, and they were balanced by a different ideal that had long resonated on campus: the idea of the university as a moral community. This latter concept was central in eighteenth-century Scottish common sense philosophy, which shaped the nineteenth–century universities of North America. As its usefulness gradually eroded in...

  6. 2 “Training for freedom”: Moral Regulation in the University from the 1920s to the 1960s
    (pp. 26-47)

    The vision of a moral community that animated senior university administrators and infused their rhetoric from the 1920s to the early 1960s found concrete expression in several ways. One was the process by which student life on campus was regulated. This chapter focuses on the ways in which campus culture, and residence life more particularly, was designed to govern student behaviour and shape it to ends that reflected not simply conventional notions of propriety but specifically Christian and gendered conceptions of morality.¹

    Over the course of a student’s three or four years of university, administrators continued a process begun in...

  7. 3 The Student Christian Movement: The Public Voice of Religion and Reform on the University Campus from the 1920s to the 1960s
    (pp. 48-65)

    In 1920, young men and women arriving in Halifax for the first time in order to attend the provincial university could arrange beforehand to be met at the train station by a member of the Student Christian Movement (scm). The Dalhousie board of governors gave a grant to the Dalhousie scm, as it had previously done for the ymca, to welcome and orient new students to the city. Once settled into a new place of residence, students received a college guidebook. At nondenominational Dalhousie, the students’ handbook printed and distributed in the early 1920s by the scm was clearly Christian....

  8. 4 University Christian Missions during and after the Second World War
    (pp. 66-83)

    In March 1939 the University of Toronto scm initiated a Religion and Life week, a series of sermons, lectures, and small-group discussions, the purpose of which was to present students with the challenge of Christ to their lives.¹ The club invited Dr Howard Thurman, professor of theology at the African-American Howard University in Washington, dc, to head the mission. In preparation for the week the scm asked a number of university leaders to participate in a speakers series at Hart House. Among them was the former president of the University of Toronto, Sir Robert Falconer, whose talk was “I Believe...

  9. 5 Expansion and Transformation: The Context for Changing Values
    (pp. 84-96)

    From the 1920s to the 1940s students lived and learned, faculty and administrators worked and taught, in institutions in which a broad-based adherence to Protestant values was assumed. Support of missions by university administrators and faculty, the presence of an active scm, administrators’ enforcement of and student and faculty acquiescence to moral codes of behaviour, and presidents’ pronouncements all illustrate the presence of a general Protestant atmosphere. Yet new forces were also at work, from curriculum change to changing social mores to unease about the changing place of Christianity on campus. In the 1920s and 1930s these forces only slowly...

  10. 6 Religious Pluralism, the New Left, and the Decline of the Student Christian Movement
    (pp. 97-111)

    The massive changes that took place in Canadian universities in the two decades after 1945 were accompanied by changes in the spectrum of religious activities on campus. Greater religious pluralism challenged the very notion of a liberal Protestant hegemony and along with it the unifying influence of the scm. At the same time new currents of thought, both secular and religious, swept through the campus and contributed their own momentum to undermining the legitimacy of the scm as a voice for a common Christianity.

    One of the most important of these developments was the growing support garnered by the Inter-Varsity...

  11. 7 The Decline of In Loco Parentis
    (pp. 112-124)

    In many respects, during the 1950s and early 1960s attitudes about the nature and role of the university in character formation remained remarkably static. In residence and on campus more generally, administrators and students tended to reinforce preexisting moral and religious views. Deans of women ensured a religious presence in residence. Students were exposed to mainstream Protestantism through initiations, orientations, and carnivals. And many worried about their own personal faith as well. Indeed, students who attended university between the 1940s and early 1960s were part of an institution that was closer to the university of their parents in the interwar...

  12. 8 Responding to Religious and Cultural Fragmentation
    (pp. 125-142)

    In 1952–53 the president of the University of Toronto, Sidney Smith, was invited to participate in the seventy-fifth anniversary of the founding of the University of Western Ontario. He took this opportunity to raise a concern he considered of critical importance:

    I believe that we have gone too far along the road of secularizing institutions of higher learning. There is a gap in liberal education; it has been caused by the policy, which is all too prevalent in universities throughout the English-speaking world, of evading, ignoring, or even opposing, the teaching of religion.

    In any discussion of the teaching...

  13. Conclusion
    (pp. 143-148)

    I began this study with a description of the religious activism that accompanied the teach-ins of the late 1960s, and I suggested that the phenomenon raised unexplored and interesting questions about the place of religion on Canadian campuses even in a period when its role has been generally discounted. To briefly restate the questions: Did Protestantism continue to play a more important role on the twentieth-century campus than the conventional interpretation suggests? If so, how pervasive was it and whom did it affect? And what are my answers to these questions? Certainly, the teach-ins demonstrate a continued interest in religious...

  14. APPENDIX ONE University Presidents and Principals
    (pp. 149-150)
  15. APPENDIX TWO University Christian Missions, 1941–1966
    (pp. 151-152)
  16. Notes
    (pp. 153-214)
  17. Bibliography
    (pp. 215-234)
  18. Index
    (pp. 235-240)