An examination of the extent to which liberal Protestantism continued to exert a vision of moral and intellectual purpose at many universities during the first half of the twentieth century, explaining the gradual erosion of this vision in the period afte
At the turn of the century Protestantism permeated the cultural fabric of English-Canadian society. By 1970, however, universities were primarily secular. Was this change the result of the changing nature of Protestantism at the turn of the century or forces external to it? By examining the role Protestantism played on university campuses from 1920 to 1970, Catherine Gidney furthers the debate over the nature and process of secularization in English Canada.
Taking a social and cultural history approach, Gidney argues that for much of the twentieth century a liberal Protestant establishment imparted its own particular vision of moral and intellectual purpose to denominational and non-denominational campuses alike. Examining administrators' pronouncements, the moral regulation of campus life, and student religious clubs, she demonstrates that Protestant ideals and values were successfully challenged only in the post-World War II period when a number of factors, including a loosening of social mores, a more religiously diverse student body, and the ascent of the multiversity finally eroded Protestant hegemony. Only in the late 1960s, however, can one begin to speak of a university whose public voice was predominantly secular and where the voice of liberal Protestantism had been reduced to one among many.