Monday, October 25, 2010

Integration and Dis-integration

This rather neat picture was produced for me by the Distance Ed department at the University of Guelph for my online course Religion & Society in the Modern World .  The term dis-integration came to me while teaching this class in, of all places, a classroom, and to real people in real time!   I was attempting to explain a process I am thinking about where religion gradually[in the Atlantic world, anyway] became a separate activity/function/belief from the lives of individuals, and societies.  This is all tentative as I am not entirely convinced by myself yet.... but my reading of historical change thus far sees a time when asking a person in the street 'what is your religion?'.... would be as difficult for that person to understand as an interviewer asking someone today, 'What is your physics?'  This is the point I have arrived at in my thinking based on historical evidence thus far.  This is also one of the three themes I thread through [integrate!] as I teach any history of religion course [I now teach three] - but it is not a settled subject - this is an essai  - in true Montesquian [hmmmm... not sure how to make his name into an English adjective] form - an intellectual effort to understand.. and being an historian, to understand a process .....

So, I have begun serious research into this issue with the goal of a 'big' book on the topic that will consider this theme... and the two others displayed in this picture [I am avoiding the use of the word graphic as it annoys me mightily].  Today I hope to return to note-taking on the revision of the revision of the English Reformation..... many miles to go before I sleep!

Friday, October 8, 2010

World Religions Conference!

Every year since 1981, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama ̀at  has sponsored a World Religions' Conference.  For the past many years it has been held at the University of Waterloo on a Saturday.  The conference is free, with free food!  It is a chance to hear speakers from several religious traditions speak about their beliefs in a passionate and friendly manner, and to experience snippets of worship from them.

This year's conference is on Saturday, October 16.  Browse around their site by clicking on the title of this entry above, and also look at their facebook page here:  WRC Facebook page

Also see past conferences on youtube here:  WRC Youtube

or follow it on twitter:    WRC twitter


Thursday, October 7, 2010

An Historian's Code - from the U.S. army of all places!

A Historian's Code (1)

1.      I will footnote (or endnote) all my sources (none of this MLA or
social science parenthetical business).
2.      If I do not reference my sources accurately, I will surely
perish in the fires of various real or metaphorical infernal regions and
I will completely deserve it.  I have been warned.
3.      I will respect the hard-won historical gains of those historians
in whose steps I walk and will share such knowledge as is mine with all
other historians (as they doubtless will cheerfully share it with me).
4.      I will not be ashamed to say "I do not know" or to change my
narrative of historical events when new sources point to my errors.
5.      I will never leave a fallen book behind.
6.      I will acknowledge that history is created by people and not by
impersonal cosmic forces or "isms."  An "ism" by itself never harmed or
helped anyone without human agency.
7.      I am not a sociologist, political scientist, international
relations-ist, or any other such "ist."  I am a historian and deal in
facts, not models.
8.      I know I have a special responsibility to the truth and will
seek, as fully as I can, to be thorough, objective, careful, and
balanced in my judgments, relying on primary source documents whenever
9.      Life may be short, but history is forever.  I am a servant of

(1)    Stewart, Richard, Ph.D., "Historians and a Historian's Code,"
ARMY HISTORY, No. 77 (Fall 2010), p. 46.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

From my web page

Religion & Society in the Atlantic World edit delete
Friday, August 06, 2010

This book is being created from the ground up as an interactive, multi-media ebook.  I see writing as concentric spheres, overlapping and separate at other points that readers will surf through to think and comprehend, rather than merely understand. 

The intellectual foundation for this book length essay is a study of three particular concentric circles:

1. The interactions of religion - both institutional and the beliefs of followers - with the institutional structures of societies in the Atlantic world and their cultures (anthropologically defined).

2. A concept I label 'dis-integration' - the change from an integration of religion into daily life and its apparent (though this will be debated in the work) removal, or dis-integration in the present day.

3. A consideration of the place of the 'other' in the societies under consideration.

I list these as discrete points here, which serves to emphasize my contention that this is an inadequate technique for analysis of religion and society - that the use of interactive multimedia technology in the writing process will allow me to show the nuances and points of integration among these themes by using the technique of concentric, spheres populated with points of reference in the Atlantic world.

The book is mapped out in three dimensional form with preliminary secondary reading done, and intensive secondary reading begun. 

I hope to  hit the archives soon!