The nature and role of religious studies at the University of Zambia: 1985-2005
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The study examines the nature and role of Religious Studies at the University of Zambia (UNZA) from inception in 1985 to 2005. In doing so, the study first highlights some perspectives on the history of Religious Studies, method and content, and later developments.Principally, the study was conducted at UNZA though graduates of Religious Studies programme from outside the university were also included in the study. Academic staff, graduates and students were targeted as principal informants of data collection. Special attention was given to the Religious Studies section because it occupies a central role in the teaching of Religious Studies at the University. All schools in the University were considered as a way of getting a wide range of views on the subject. Some educationalists who were instrumental in the creation of the Religious Studies section were consulted as a way of enriching and consolidating data and also giving the original outlook of Religious Studies at inception.The principles of the phenomenological and interpretive approaches were key considerations in the methodological perspectives, in that every effort was made to get 'insiders' views. The qualitative approach was the main technique used supplemented by quantitative material. Principally the study was qualitative. Ethical and methodological issues including participants' right to privacy, dignity, self-determination and the researchers' right to know were considered in the research.The findings revealed that Religious Studies at UNZA has remained an academic discipline. It includes historical, sociological, philosophical and educational dimensions. Religious Studies is also multi-faith in its orientation. It is not theology. Religious Studies at UNZA has been challenged to continue research and publications as it remains instrumental in providing a holistic University education. It has also been challenged to expand its role.
- Education