In International Affairs 18, no. 2 (Summer 2020), pp. 30-43, 10.1080/15570274.2020.1753944

How did the Western university, originally a Christian institution, become a predominantly secular one? This article briefly surveys the main scholarly approaches to secularization, identifying a historicist approach as the most useful for understanding the secularization of universities. The article then sketches an account of the secularization of Western universities spanning four countries—Germany, France, England, and the United States—highlighting events in the 18th and 19th centuries, the role of states and academic guilds, and differences between national contexts. It concludes with some implications of this historicist explanation for understanding the relationship between universities and the secular order today.

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Dr. Kevin Flatt

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International Affairs

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