Scope and Content of Collection
Title: Religious Studies Board records
Collection number: UA 90
Religious Studies Board
12.5 linear feet,
25 half cartons
University of California, Santa Cruz. University Library.
Santa Cruz, California 95064
Abstract: This collection contains the Religious Studies Board office files, and correspondence pertaining to the short-lived Religious
Studies major at UCSC.
Physical location: Stored offsite at NRLF: Advance notice is required for access to the papers.
Languages represented in the collection:
Collection open for research.
Property rights reside with the University of California. Literary rights are retained by the creators of the records and
their heirs. For permission to publish or to reproduce the material, please contact the Head of Special Collections and Archives.
Religious Studies Board Records. UA 90. University Archives, University Library, University of
California, Santa Cruz.
Transfer from the Religious Studies Board, 1980.
During the academic year 1967-68 a number of UCSC faculty formed an interdisciplinary program in religious studies. Initially
this involved only a committee providing a framework for independent majors. By the following year the interdisciplinary
committee became a Committee of Studies in Religious Studies, with Noel Q. King as its Chair. An enlarged staff was soon
assembled, new courses added, and the Committee's size doubled. In the academic year 1970-71 religious studies was still
administered by a Committee, but it had become a full and official major, granting a Bachelor of Arts degree. According to
UCSC Catalog for 1971 it was an interdisciplinary program "seeking to bring out the religious, moral, and numinal dimensions of such fields
as history, psychology, philosophy, anthropology, and art." The program continued to expand for a couple of years, and then
in 1973 was granted the status of a Board of Studies, receiving four full-time appointments. The mid-1970's saw annual curricula
of 10 to 15 courses, with 500 to 800 students enrolled any given quarter.
A proposal for redesigning the program was accepted in 1975-76, but soon an ideological split developed within the faculty
over the role of the program in regard to relating to the students. The Board became "paralyzed," and with the arrival of
a new Dean for the Humanities Division in the spring of 1978, an external review was undertaken. The result was a recommendation
for a complete redesign and reconception of the program's curriculum, while stablizing the number of core faculty. However,
timing was such that extraordinarily severe budget restrictions were being imposed by the State of California, and two of
the four faculty positions which were being vacated by resignations were axed. By January 1979 it became clear the program
would likely be phased out.
The UCSC Religious Studies Board was formally disestablished in 1980.
[This short history is paraphrased from an essay by Gary Lease, a former head of the program. See
Method & Theory in the Study of Religion, v.7:4 (1995), pages 305-324.]
Scope and Content of Collection
This collection contains office files and correspondence pertaining to the Religious Studies major at the University of California
at Santa Cruz, covering from its inception around 1970 to its official disestablishment in 1980.
The collection follows the original office arrangement as received during the transfer of the records.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
University of California, Santa Cruz. Religious Studies Board.
University of California, Santa Cruz--Curricula.
Religion--Study and teaching (Higher)--California--Santa Cruz--History--20th century.
UA 89 Noel Q. King Papers