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Journal for the Study of Religion

On-line version ISSN 2413-3027
Print version ISSN 1011-7601

J. Study Relig. vol.27 n.1 Durban Jan. 2014

 

Preface

 

 

Johannes A. Smit

Dean and Head of School. School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics. University of waZulu-Natal; and Editor in Chief. Journal for the Study of Religion. Association for the Study of Religion in Southern Africa. smitj@ukzn.ac.za

 

 

It gives me great pleasure to convey my heartfelt congratulations to the team that put together this volume of the Journal for the Study of Religion in honour of the very significant research leadership and research outputs of Prof. Cornelia Roux. Roux has been the most important academic who has promoted Religion in Education (RiE) and Religion and Education (RaE) in South Africa. In her career that stretches over more than thirty years, she has tirelessly done research, lectured and provided guidance in these vital areas of study in southern Africa. Most significant are the three research projects that she headed during the last decade. These are:

  • Understanding Human Rights through Different Belief Systems: Intercultural and Interreligious Dialogue (2005 - 2008);
  • Human Rights Education in Diversity: Empowering Girls in Rural and Metropolitan School Environments (2010 - 2013); and
  • Human Rights Literacy: A Quest for Meaning (Roux & Du Preez 2013).

Given South Africa's legacy of the anti-colonial and anti-apartheid struggles, the combined quest embedded in 'Understanding Human Rights'; 'Human Rights Education in Diversity'; and 'Human Rights Literacy' constitutes one of the most significant contributions to the South African academy and more particularly, the broad field of Education. Not only has it succeeded in putting the concerns and hopes embedded in 'Human Rights' as it relates to Education firmly on the academic and educational agendas; it also ground-breakingly succeeded in producing the requisite scholarship and graduate students to develop the discourse further.

Roux has also succeeded in creating a research community of practice that is operating not only in South Africa, but internationally. Contributions to this volume by colleagues in the field are indicative of both the international significance and appreciation of her work as well as those of her students. As such, her research as well as those of the students who graduated under her supervision, are impacting both internationally and locally. Since it is in countries such as ours, where we continue to develop systems and institutions conducive to the facilitation of a new citizenry -beyond the legacies of colonialism and apartheid - the knowledge production around human rights fills an important gap in discourse development. In this regard, what really gives Roux's work a cutting edge quality is that she has produced this in the education domain. Since it is impacting on learners in education and through them on the teaching profession as such, it will have lasting impacts in our country. So, if we want to talk about the future of our country and its people, the corpus of research around Roux's three research projects mentioned earlier, is a benchmark for research still to be engaged by the South African academy. I also hope that this journal issue of the Journal for the Study of Religion will make a not insignificant contribution to this developing discourse.

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