Special Issue "Race-Ethnicity and American Religion: Solidarities and Separations"

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A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 August 2014)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Christine Soriea Sheikh (Website)

Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Metropolitan State University of Denver, P.O. Box 173362, Campus Box 28, Denver, CO, 80217-3362, USA
Phone: +303-556-3167
Fax: +303-556-5360
Interests: religion; race/ethnicity; immigration; culture; gender

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Despite emerging claims that the United States is a “post-racial” society, it is clear that racial-ethnic identities and inequalities remain quite salient in American institutions and culture.  Religion, considered in terms of both identity and institutions, simultaneously proffers racial-ethnic solidarity, particularly for immigrants and minority group members, and insight into the continued salience of racial-ethnic divisions in American life.  There is a robust social scientific literature assessing the significance of racial-ethnic identities to religious identity and community.  This issue of Religions will highlight two main streams of research in this area: immigration and religion, and multi-ethnic congregations.

The guest editor of this Special Issue, Christine Sheikh, seeks empirical studies in race-ethnicity and religion, principally those focusing on the areas of immigration and religion and multi-ethnic congregations. Contributions from a variety of fields, including but not limited to history, anthropology, sociology, or cultural studies, are welcome for review.  Scholars are invited to contribute articles from a broad range of methodological approaches, and levels of analysis, that investigate how racial-ethnic identities and communities are shaped, transformed, critiqued, embraced, and otherwise in dynamic interrelation with racial-ethnic identities and congregations.

Dr. Christine Soriea Sheikh
Guest Editor

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed Open Access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 300 CHF (Swiss Francs). English correction and/or formatting fees of 250 CHF (Swiss Francs) will be charged in certain cases for those articles accepted for publication that require extensive additional formatting and/or English corrections.


Keywords

  • immigration and religion
  • congregational studies
  • religious identity
  • race and religion
  • american religion
  • multiethnic congregations
  • second-generation americans

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Conceptual Pathways to Ethnic Transcendence in Diverse Churches: Theoretical Reflections on the Achievement of Successfully Integrated Congregations
Religions 2015, 6(3), 1048-1066; doi:10.3390/rel6031048
Received: 18 June 2015 / Revised: 3 July 2015 / Accepted: 17 August 2015 / Published: 2 September 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (213 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The concept of ethnic transcendence—defined as the process of co-formulating a shared religious identity among diverse members that supersedes their racial and ethnic differences through congregational involvement—captures a critical aspect of successfully integrating different racial and ethnic groups into a single, [...] Read more.
The concept of ethnic transcendence—defined as the process of co-formulating a shared religious identity among diverse members that supersedes their racial and ethnic differences through congregational involvement—captures a critical aspect of successfully integrating different racial and ethnic groups into a single, commonly shared, multi-ethnic congregation. Drawing on classic theoretical resources from Max Weber and Emile Durkheim, this paper expands on previous scholarship by conceptually articulating two different paths for the achievement of ethnic transcendence in multiracial congregations. In the first path, ethnic transcendence supports and encourages congregational diversification by inspiring members and mobilizing them to contribute their efforts to accomplish a common religious mission. In the second path, the achievement of ethnic transcendence involves the sublimation of congregational members’ religious selves to an overarching moral collective. Both paths involve privileging religious identities in favor of a particularistic ethnic or racial identity. Moreover, through both paths, the development of congregationally specific religious identities results in joining with co-members of different ethno-racial ancestries as a type of spiritually-derived kinship. Due to the fact that ethnic transcendence is an interactive process, congregational diversity is a bi-directional phenomenon representing the extent to which members allow for the integration of separate ethnicities/races into a common congregation through idealized and richly-symbolic notions of connection and belonging to a congregation. Overall, this paper suggests a heuristic framework that productively expands the concept of ethnic transcendence, allows an approach for observing cross-ethnic/inter-racial organizational processes, and ultimately contributes toward understanding how congregations (whether church, temple, or mosque) pursue alternative identity reconstruction projects to sustain cohesive collective identities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Race-Ethnicity and American Religion: Solidarities and Separations)
Open AccessArticle Congregational Size and Attitudes towards Racial Inequality among Church Attendees in America
Religions 2015, 6(3), 781-793; doi:10.3390/rel6030781
Received: 10 September 2014 / Revised: 15 March 2015 / Accepted: 18 May 2015 / Published: 25 June 2015
PDF Full-text (208 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Research suggests that congregational characteristics are associated with the racial attitudes of American churchgoers. This study examines the relationship between congregational size and beliefs about the Black/White socioeconomic gap among religious adherents. Method. Drawing upon data from the General Social Survey and [...] Read more.
Research suggests that congregational characteristics are associated with the racial attitudes of American churchgoers. This study examines the relationship between congregational size and beliefs about the Black/White socioeconomic gap among religious adherents. Method. Drawing upon data from the General Social Survey and the National Congregations Study, we fit binary logistic regression models to estimate the association between congregational size and Americans’ explanations of Black/White economic inequality. Results. Findings reveal that attendees of larger congregations are less likely than attendees of smaller congregations to explain racial inequality as the result of the racial discrimination. The likelihood of explaining racial inequality in terms of personal motivation does not vary by congregation size. Conclusion. Despite the growing diversity in larger congregations in America, such congregations may steer attendees’ views about racial inequality away from systemic/structural factors, which may attenuate the ability of such congregations to bridge racial divisions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Race-Ethnicity and American Religion: Solidarities and Separations)
Open AccessArticle Responses by White Christians to Recent Latino Immigration in the Rural U.S. Midwest
Religions 2015, 6(2), 686-711; doi:10.3390/rel6020686
Received: 3 February 2015 / Revised: 31 May 2015 / Accepted: 8 June 2015 / Published: 15 June 2015
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Abstract
Over the last twenty-five years, the rural U.S. Midwest has undergone dramatic demographic changes as the population of white people decreased in many areas and the number of Latinos surged. These shifts are especially noteworthy in areas that had stable, relatively homogeneous [...] Read more.
Over the last twenty-five years, the rural U.S. Midwest has undergone dramatic demographic changes as the population of white people decreased in many areas and the number of Latinos surged. These shifts are especially noteworthy in areas that had stable, relatively homogeneous populations over at least the last half-century. Many Christian churches, both Protestant and Catholic, are responding by reaching out to new residents. Such efforts have sometimes led to tension as Anglo Christians seek to reconcile the moral claims of their faith communities with the prejudices and fears they have of Latino immigrants. This article describes how Anglo-majority mainline Protestant congregations and Catholic parishes are responding to these demographic changes, notes key differences between the two groups’ responses, and then sketches several possible explanations for the differences, including the underlying theology of their efforts, the prior religious affiliation of Latino newcomers, the organizational structure of church bodies, and varying impetuses for action. The paper concludes with observations about the future of Christian communities in the rural Midwest. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Race-Ethnicity and American Religion: Solidarities and Separations)
Open AccessArticle Ethno-Religiosity in Orthodox Christianity: A Source of Solidarity & Multiculturalism in American Society
Religions 2015, 6(2), 328-349; doi:10.3390/rel6020328
Received: 2 August 2014 / Revised: 5 March 2015 / Accepted: 18 March 2015 / Published: 31 March 2015
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Abstract
This study will analyze the processes of community organization implemented by Eastern Orthodox Christian ethno-religious groups, and Greek Orthodox Christian communities in particular, to establish themselves in American civil society. It will be argued that the symbiotic relationship formed between ethnicity and [...] Read more.
This study will analyze the processes of community organization implemented by Eastern Orthodox Christian ethno-religious groups, and Greek Orthodox Christian communities in particular, to establish themselves in American civil society. It will be argued that the symbiotic relationship formed between ethnicity and religion in this tradition, as well as the democratized grassroots mode of community organization that American civil society fosters, contributes to a strong sense of belonging amongst members of the ethno-religious Orthodox Christian congregations. In turn, this sense of belonging has produced a multi-layered mechanism for solidarity-building in these communities. It will then be suggested that in addition to contributing to America’s religious diversity, the preservation of ethno-linguistic heritage by the various Orthodox Christian churches simultaneously contributes to America’s poly-ethnicity and linguistic diversity as well. Last, it will be argued that the continued survival of ethno-religiosity in American Orthodoxy can either lead to further isolation amongst the separate ethnic congregations, or it can alternatively open avenues for the cultivation of a form of Orthodox Christian multiculturalism that supports neither homogeneity nor isolationism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Race-Ethnicity and American Religion: Solidarities and Separations)
Open AccessArticle Whither Shall We Go? The Past and Present of Black Churches and the Public Sphere
Religions 2015, 6(1), 245-265; doi:10.3390/rel6010245
Received: 20 October 2014 / Accepted: 10 March 2015 / Published: 18 March 2015
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Abstract
In this paper, I analyze the contemporary role of the Black Church in the public sphere. Some argue that despite the historical role of the Black Church in addressing racial inequality, it should not be involved in the public sphere, as there [...] Read more.
In this paper, I analyze the contemporary role of the Black Church in the public sphere. Some argue that despite the historical role of the Black Church in addressing racial inequality, it should not be involved in the public sphere, as there should be a clear separation between church and state. I argue that black churches are filling a gap created by the self-help ideology of a neo-liberal era where addressing the outcomes of contemporary racial inequality is left to private sector organizations, such as churches, rather than the federal government. I assert that the Black Church should remain engaged in the public sphere for two reasons: first, black churches are operating in the absence of state welfare rather than as an alternative to it and second, black churches are among the few institutions providing race-specific remedies that have been abandoned in a colorblind era. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Race-Ethnicity and American Religion: Solidarities and Separations)

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