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Module 17

Secularization in Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century English Canada

Lynne Marks

While most Canadians would agree that Canada is now more secular than it was 100 years ago, exactly when secularization started is a subject of major dispute among English Canadian historians. This module features the work of David Marshall, Nancy Christie and Michael Gauvreau, and Catherine Gidney, some of the major scholars on either side of ‘the secularization debate’. The role of the social gospel in either furthering secularization or strengthening the churches’ social and cultural influence is integral to the debate and this module features documents by social gospel leader Salem Bland, as well as by Ralph Connor, whose religious novels were wildly popular in early twentieth century Canada.

Primary sources:

  1. Text: Black Rock, by Ralph Connor (Charles William Gordon) (1898)
  2. Photograph: Rev. Dr. Charles W. Gordon (no date)
  3. Photograph: A Melbourne, Australia Newsstand (no date)
  4. Text: Salem Goldworth Bland, The New Christianity: Or, The Religion of the New Age (1920)
  5. Painting: Lawren S. Harris Dr. Salem Bland (1925)
  6. Photograph: Children at All People’s Mission, Winnipeg (1909)

Secondary sources:

  1. David B. Marshall. Secularizing the Faith: Canadian Protestant Clergy and the Crisis of Belief. (1992)
  2. Nancy Christie and Michael Gauvreau, A Full-Orbed Christianity: The Protestant Churches and Social Welfare in Canada, 1900-1940 (1996)
  3. Catherine Gidney ‘The Athletics–Physical Education Dichotomy Revisited: The Case of the University of Toronto, 1900–1940’ Sport History Review (2006)

Introduction

List of Modules -- 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | 45 | 46 | 47 | 48 | 49 | 50