Gingrich, “Out of Place”

In July, Toronto University Press released Out of Place: Social Exclusion and Mennonite Migrants in Canada by Luann Good Gingrich (York University). The publisher’s description follows:Out of Place

The flow of migrants from south to north and east to west carries with it growing concerns about the economic integration, political incorporation, and social inclusion of newcomers and their children. But what happens when a group of people deliberately excludes themselves from mainstream society? How can social policies, human services, and communities best understand and respond to them?

In Out of Place, Luann Good Gingrich explores social inclusion and exclusion in relation to the approximately 60,000 Low German-speaking Mennonites who have migrated from traditionally self-sufficient and agrarian colonies in Latin America to rural areas of Canada. By examining the free-market principles that organize the human services industry the author exposes the inherent conflict that arises when this “market logic” is imposed on a group that does not embrace these ideals. The author’s innovative approach to social policy and human services which emphasizes the relationship between dominant and subordinate cultures, encourages us to find new ways to authentically engage with difference and bridge the gaps that divide us.


Hanson, “City of Gods”

In July, the Oxford University Press will release “City of Gods: Religious Freedom, Immigration, and Pluralism in Flushing, Queens,” by R. Scott Hanson (University of Pennsylvania).  The publisher’s description follows:

Known locally as the birthplace of American religious freedom, Flushing, Queens, in New York City is now so diverse and densely populated that it has become a 9780823271597microcosm of world religions. City of Gods explores the history of Flushing from the colonial period to the aftermath of September 11, 2001, spanning the origins of Vlissingen and early struggles between Quakers, Dutch authorities, Anglicans, African Americans, Catholics, and Jews to the consolidation of New York City in 1898, two World’s Fairs and postwar commemorations of Flushing’s heritage, and, finally, the Immigration Act of 1965 and the arrival of Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims, Buddhists, and Asian and Latino Christians.

A synthesis of archival sources, oral history, and ethnography, City of Gods is a thought-provoking study of religious pluralism. Using Flushing as the backdrop to examine America’s contemporary religious diversity and what it means for the future of the United States, R. Scott Hanson explores both the possibilities and Continue reading

Connor, “Immigrant Faith: Patterns of Immigrant Religion in the United States, Canada, and Western Europe”

This month, NYU Press releases “Immigrant Faith: Patterns of Immigrant Religion in the United States, Canada, and Western Europe” by Phillip Connor (Pew Research Center). The publisher’s description follows:

Immigrant Faith examines trends and patterns relating to religion in the lives of immigrants. The volume moves beyond specific studies of particular faiths in particular immigrant destinations to present the religious lives of immigrants in the United States, Canada, and Europe on a broad scale.
Religion is not merely one aspect among many in immigrant lives. Immigrant faith affects daily interactions, shapes the future of immigrants in their destination society, and influences society beyond the immigrants themselves. In other words, to understand immigrants, one must understand their faith.
Drawing on census data and other surveys, including data sources from several countries and statistical data from thousands of immigrant interviews, the volume provides a concise overview of immigrant religion. It sheds light on whether religion shapes the choice of destination for migrants, if immigrants are more or less religious after migrating, if religious immigrants have an easier adjustment, or if religious migrants tend to fare better or worse economically than non-religious migrants.
Immigrant Faith covers demographic trends from initial migration to settlement to the transmission of faith to the second generation. It offers the perfect introduction to big picture patterns of immigrant religion for scholars and students, as well as religious leaders and policy makers.

France to Facilitate Asylum for Iraqi Christians

France has offered to facilitate asylum for Iraqi Christians who have fled Mosul since the takeover of that city by ISIS, the jidahist group. The announcement came in a joint communiqué by Foreign Minister Laurence Fabius and Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve.

Granting asylum is a very imperfect solution to the crisis Mideast Christianity currently faces. Indeed, Mideast Christian leaders typically resist the “escape option,” out of concern that Christian emigration will put an end to faith communities that have endured for thousands of years. For many Mideast Christians, though, emigration may be the only option left.

Fast-tracking asylum is the least the West can do for Iraqi Christians–but it may also be, sadly, the most. France, which traditionally has seen itself as the protector of Christians, especially Catholics, in the Middle East, deserves credit for taking this step. It would be nice if the United States, which bears principal responsibility among Western countries for what has happened to Iraqi Christians, would do the same thing. (H/T: Rod Dreher).

Cherry, “Faith, Family, and Filipino American Community Life”

Last month, Rutgers University published Faith, Family, and Filipino ProductImageHandlerAmerican Community Life, by Stephen M. Cherry (University of Houston-Clear Lake). The publisher’s description follows.

Stephen M. Cherry draws upon a rich set of ethnographic and survey data, collected over a six-year period, to explore the roles that Catholicism and family play in shaping Filipino American community life. From the planning and construction of community centers, to volunteering at health fairs or protesting against abortion, this book illustrates the powerful ways these forces structure and animate not only how first-generation Filipino Americans think and feel about their community, but how they are compelled to engage it over issues deemed important to the sanctity of the family.

Revealing more than intimate accounts of Filipino American lives, Cherry offers a glimpse of the often hidden but vital relationship between religion and community in the lives of new immigrants, and allows speculation on the broader impact of Filipino immigration on the nation. The Filipino American community is the second-largest immigrant community in the United States, and the Philippines is the second-largest source of Catholic immigration to this country. This ground-breaking study outlines how first-generation Filipino Americans have the potential to reshape American Catholicism and are already having an impact on American civic life through the engagement of their faith.

Sarat, “Fire in the Canyon: Religion, Migration, and the Mexican Dream”

This month, New York University Press will publish Fire in the Canyon: Religion, Migration, and the Mexican Dream by Leah Sarat (Arizona State Fire in the CanyonUniversity).  The publisher’s description follows.

The canyon in central Mexico was ablaze with torches as hundreds of people filed in. So palpable was their shared shock and grief, they later said, that neither pastor nor priest was needed. The event was a memorial service for one of their own who had died during an attempted border passage. Months later a survivor emerged from a coma to tell his story. The accident had provoked a near-death encounter with God that prompted his conversion to Pentecostalism.

Today, over half of the local residents of El Alberto, a town in central Mexico, are Pentecostal. Submitting themselves to the authority of a God for whom there are no borders, these Pentecostals today both embrace migration as their right while also praying that their “Mexican Dream”—the dream of a Mexican future with ample employment for all—will one day become a reality.

Fire in the Canyon provides one of the first in‑depth looks at the dynamic relationship between religion, migration, and ethnicity across the U.S.-Mexican border. Faced with the choice between life‑threatening danger at the border and life‑sapping poverty in Mexico, residents of El Alberto are drawing on both their religion and their indigenous heritage to demand not only the right to migrate, but also the right to stay home. If we wish to understand people’s migration decisions, Sarat argues, we must take religion seriously. It is through religion that people formulate their ideas about life, death, and the limits of government authority.

Yukich, “One Family Under God: Immigration Politics and Progressive Religion in America”

9780199988679_450This month, Oxford University Press releases One Family Under God: Immigration Politics and Progressive Religion in America by Grace Yukich (Quinnipiac University). The publisher’s description follows.

Behind the walls of a church, Liliana and her baby eat, sleep, and wait. Outside, protestors shout ”Go back to Mexico!” and ”Tax this political church!” They demand that the U.S. government deport Liliana, which would separate her from her husband and children. Is Liliana a criminal or a hero? And why does the church protect her?

Grace Yukich draws on extensive field observation and interviews to reveal how immigration is changing religious activism in the U.S. In the face of nationwide immigration raids and public hostility toward ”illegal” immigration, the New Sanctuary Movement emerged in 2007 as a religious force seeking to humanize the image of undocumented immigrants like Liliana. Building coalitions between religious and ethnic groups that had rarely worked together in the past, activists revived and adapted ”sanctuary,” the tradition of providing shelter for fugitives in houses of worship. Through sanctuary, they called on Americans to support legislation that would keep immigrant families together. But they sought more than political change: they also pursued religious transformation, challenging the religious nationalism in America’s faith communities by portraying undocumented immigrants as fellow children of God.

Yukich shows progressive religious activists struggling with the competing goals of newly diverse coalitions, fighting to expand the meaning of ”family values” in a globalizing nation. Through these struggles, the activists both challenged the public dominance of the religious right and created conflicts that could doom their chances of impacting immigration reform.

Call for Papers: “The New Cosmopolitanism”

The Contending Modernities Global Migration Working Group has issued a call for papers for a conference to take place in London in October, “The new cosmopolitanism: Global migration and the building of a common life”:

The global expansion of migration, within and between the global north and south, and the global resurgence and “publicization” of religion – have combined to bring religious and secular models of citizenship and civic education to the fore.  Nonetheless, there is surprisingly little consensus among religious leaders, educators, and policy makers as to what framework might allow people from different religious and ethical backgrounds to live together tolerantly and inclusively.  The lack of consensus is all the more vexing in that migration and religious revitalization today have created multicultural and multi-ethical landscapes all over the globe.  The question of the place of religion in modern multicultural societies is not an academic one, then, but one of the most pressing ethical challenges of our age.

Details are here.

Conference: Religion, Values and Immigration (March 21)

On March 21, the Brookings Institution will host a forum in connection with the release of a new national opinion survey on religion, values, and immigration reform. The event, in Washington, will be webcast live. Details are here.

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