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Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life

Religion(s) and American Public Schools

Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life

Religion(s) and American Public Schools

THEO 5492 / EDCU 4402
(formerly known as Theology 492 / Education 402)
Spring 2014
Professor Erik Owens

Meets Tuesdays 4:00 - 7:00pm
Boisi Center Seminar Room (24 Quincy Road)


About the class:

In this class we’ll examines a controversial but surprisingly unfamiliar topic: religion(s) in American public schools. In a seminar format that brings together graduate and advanced undergraduate students in education, theology and other disciplines, we will cover the topic with several goals in mind:

  1. to understand the complex role religions have played in the development of American public schools and the political and educational philosophy that undergirds them;
  2. to examine the principled philosophical and theological issues behind contemporary legal cases about religion and public education; and
  3. to understand how constitutionally sound approaches to religion in schools can help to modulate or resolve the pedagogical and administrative issues that arise across the curriculum and within school culture.


About the professor:

Erik Owens is associate director of the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life, and adjunct assistant professor of theology and international studies at Boston College. In addition to his other scholarly work on domestic and international issues, he is the author of several articles on religion and public education in the US and Europe, and is working on a book about religious freedom and civic education in American public schools. Owens co-chairs the American Academy of Religion’s Religion and Politics Section, sits on the steering committee of the AAR’s group on comparative religion education, and was recently appointed to the AAR's Committee on the Public Understanding of Religion.