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date: 25 June 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter deals with the history of the study of religion as an academic discipline rather than as a field of research. Disciplinary history is often self-justificatory: different narratives emphasize continuity or discontinuity and engage tropes of progress or nostalgia. As an academic discipline, the history of the study of religion is embedded in the wider field of religious studies and in institutional and societal developments. For its emergence, it required an operative concept of ‘religion’ and the institutional setting of the modern research university. The discipline emerged in an international network of scholarly interaction. A new wave of institutional growth and expansion occurred from the 1960s onwards, in the context of a worldwide expansion of tertiary education. Both in institutional and intellectual terms, the study of religion remains a marginal branch of the academy. The development of journals evidences accelerated growth and diversification of publication activities in recent decades.

Keywords: academic disciplines, disciplinary history, academic fields, academic journals, historiography, religious studies, scholarly associations, study of religion, universities

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