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Strategic position

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Importance to faculties

Faculty Council approvals have been given by the Faculty of Religious Studies (January 20, 2005), the Faculty of Education (January 21, 2005 and February 4, 2005), the Faculty of Law (January 21, 2005) and the Faculty of Arts (2006). The Faculty of Medicine is supporting the Centre on the level of projects, programs and units. Cooperation with the Faculty of Management and the Faculty of Music is currently being explored.

Cooperation between the Faculty of Religious Studies and the Faculty of Arts as well as that between the Faculty of Religious Studies and other faculties is the condition sine qua non of the Centre's mission to promote and foster interdisciplinary research on religion from as many angles and on as many levels as possible.

Importance to McGill University

McGill University is able to play a leading role in Québec and in Canada in the effort to make the interaction between religion, society, and culture more intelligible and to develop concepts for the future. Other such research centers on religion already exist, for example at Harvard University, Princeton University, and Duke University in the United States, and at the Université de Montréal and the University of Victoria in Canada.

As stated above, McGill University is particularly well positioned for forming such a Centre in its midst, given its long history, international reputation, and ongoing contribution to scholarship on the different aspects of religion; most prominently within its Faculties of Arts, Education, Medicine, Law, and, of course, within its Faculty of Religious Studies. McGill has particular strength in the fields of social and religious change in Canada, focusing on such fields as health care, human rights, minority politics, and public policy, or specializing in areas such as South Asia, Indonesia, East Africa, and the Middle East, or concentrating on specific historical periods.

What kind of centre is CREOR meant to be? There are two kinds of research centres on religion, the one is of a more generic nature, the other is specifically focused on a certain approach, link or aspect. To start with the latter, centres with either one or more of the following expressions in their title - spirituality, theology, health, healing, interfaith, mind-body, humanism, medicine - exist at the following universities: Duke University, Emory University, George Washington University, Harvard University, Indiana State University, University of South Carolina, University of Florida, University of Minnesota, and the University of Virginia.

Centres with a more generic approach, with "Centre", "Religion" and one of either "Study", "Research" or "Advanced" in their titles, and sometimes with an addition, such as "World Religions", "Religion in Canada", "Civic Culture", "Society, "Philosophy", and the like, are found at Harvard University, The University of Chicago, University of Toronto, Princeton University, University of South Carolina and, in the United Kingdom, University of Leeds and University of Cambridge.

Centres outside of North-America other than the ones at Leeds and Cambridge are not listed here, firstly because centres from countries other than the English speaking ones or from continents other than North-America neither compete with nor complement the Centre, and secondly, other countries, such as Germany, the Netherlands, France and also in part the United Kingdom, have other ways of organizing research, mostly in well-established schools or institutes and societies (CNRS: Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique; Forschungsinstitute and Gesellschaften, such as the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft).

Relation to other units / research centres at McGill University or elsewhere

Existing collaboration within McGill University includes, on the level of teaching and individual cooperation, members of the Faculties of Arts, Education, Law and Medicine, and on the level of sub-faculty units, the Catholic Studies Program, the Classics Program, the Departments of East-Asian Studies, French Language and Literature, History, Jewish Studies, and Philosophy, the Institute for Islamic Studies, the Institute for the Study of Marriage, Law & Culture (ISMLC), as well as the Biomedical Ethics Unit.

However, on the level of research there is hardly any cooperation, a vision of how to work together in an interdisciplinary way, let alone a central place that directs, coordinates, applies for interdisciplinary projects and develops visions for the future. Therefore, the Centre will unite and coordinate research efforts on the various aspects of religion within the five mentioned faculties.

The Centre will also facilitate the many existing links with Canadian and other universities, such as the ones listed above in which one mentions not only the manifold collaboration within McGill University, but also the cooperation with members from other universities, such as Université de Montréal, Concordia University, York University, Universität Erfurt, Universität Göttingen, Universität Münster, Universität Tübingen, Universität Zürich, Michigan State University, Princeton Theological Seminary, University of New York at Albany, and Yale University.