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!