Ethan Schrum is a 2017-2018 CREV Faculty Fellow

Posted: January 19, 2018


Ethan Schrum (Department of History), The Rise of Secular America: The Secular Realm in the Post-World War II American Imagination.

This project investigates how religious thinkers in the United States developed the concept of a "secular America," along with the related concepts "secular education" and "the secular university," from the 1950s up until the publication of Harvey Cox's landmark  The Secular City in 1965. In so doing, it re-evaluates the common portrayal of the 1950s as a decade of religious revival in the United States and contributes to a greater understanding of “the secular” and its implications. Concern about education was one of the leading facilitators for this new concept of the secular. The 1940s witnessed an upsurge of Supreme Court cases concerning religious liberty and the government relationship to religion in both public and private schools. This project shows how concerns about the secular related to this nexus of law, education, and religion.