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SOC 3333 Religion in Society

Fall 2005

Instructor and Contact Information


Dr. Bobby C. Alexander
Office: GR 3.516
Office Hours: TR 3:15-4:30 p.m., and by appointment
Phone: 972-883-6898
E-mail: bcalex@utdallas.edu

Course Objectives
This course examines immigrant religion in U.S. society. Course themes include: religious congregations
as important social institutions within U.S. society; their role as providers of social services in adapting
their members to U.S. society; social identity and assimilation; reproducing ethnic identity and resistance
to assimilation; the second generation; pan-ethnic congregations and ethnic diversity in religion;
transnational immigrant religion; diasporic religious communities; and the future of immigrant religion.
The course considers Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and other religions found
among new immigrants coming to the U.S. from Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia, and other parts
of the world.

Course Requirements:

Readings
The two required texts are: Religion and Immigration: Christian, Jewish, and Muslim Experiences in the
United States, edited by Yvonne Yazbeck Haddad, Jane I. Smith, and John L. Esposito (AltaMira
Press, 2003) and Religion and the New Immigrants: Continuities and Adaptations in Immigrant
Congregations, edited by Helen Rose Ebaugh and Janet Saltzman Chafetz (AltaMire Press, 2000).
Both are available in the UTD Bookstore and at Off Campus Books. The reading assignments are
printed in the course calendar below. Students are required to read the assigned materials before class
in order to contribute to class discussion. Students will select three articles from current scholarly
sources on a topic they choose on religion and immigration, and one approved by the professor, to
round out the required reading. These will be the basis of a short literature review (see below).

Exams
Students will write three in-class exams. Exam due dates are printed in the course calendar below.
Each exam will cover material assigned after the preceding exam. The third exam is not cumulative.
Each exam will count as 25% of the course grade; combined, the exams together count as 75% of the
course grade.

Short Literature Review


Students will write two one-page literature reviews on a topic related to religion and immigration in U.S.
society that interests them. Topics must be approved by the course instructor. Students are required to
use at least one peer-reviewed academic journal article for the two sources.
The instructor will provide detailed instructions on how to make a review of the literature and
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how to find information on electronic databases for the journal article(s). The due dates of the reviews
are printed in the course calendar. Each of the reviews will count as 10% of the course grade; the two
together count as 20% of the course grade.

Late Work
Students must notify the instructor before the exam dates or due dates for the literature reviews as soon
as they foresee being late in order to receive approval to make up an exam or submit work late.
Students must have a legitimate excuse and must put their reason in writing. Documentation will be
required in most cases. Students who face emergencies and are unable to request permission in
advance must submit documentation as soon as they are able. The policy is intended to promote
fairness to other students who do the work on time.

Course Grade
The course grade is based on the three exams (75% of the grade), the two literature reviews (20%),
and class participation and contribution to the course (5%). Students are asked to check their grades
on WebCT periodically for accuracy.

Scholastic Dishonesty
Scholastic dishonesty is a serious offense and is governed by official university policy, which students
can find on UTD’s web site.

Course Calendar

August 18
Orientation to the Course

August 23, 25
New Immigrants and the Changing American Religious and Demographic Landscape

Read:
From Religion and Immigration:
Introduction: “Becoming American—Religion, Identity, and Institution
Building in the American Mosaic,” and
Chapter 12: “Exploring the Religious Preferences of Recent Immigrants to
the United States: Evidence from the New Immigrant Survey Pilot”
by Douglas Massey and others

August 30, September 1


New Immigrants and the Changing American Religious and Demographic Landscape
continued

Read:
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From Religion and the New Immigrants:
Chapter 3: “Environmental Impacts: Opportunities and Constraints” (on
majority and minority faiths and their impact on society)

September 6, 8
Immigrant Congregations as Social Institutions, Social Services, and Adaptation to the
Immigrant Context

Read:
From Religion and the New Immigrants:
Chapter 4: “Structural Adaptations to the Immigrant Context”
Chapter 5: “Providing for the Needy: Social Services and Immigrant
Adaptation”

Topic for Literature Review due September 8th

September 13, 15
Immigrant Religion, Social Identity, Assimilation, and Reproducing Ethnicity in Relation
to Resistance

Read:
From Religion and the New Immigrants:
Chapter 6: “Reproducing Ethnicity”
Chapter 8: “Passing it On: The Second Generation”

From Religion and the New Immigrants:


Chapter 9: “Is the Past Prologue to the Future?”

September 20, 22
Immigrant Religion, Social Identity, Assimilation, and Reproducing Ethnicity in Relation
to Resistance

Read:
From Religion and Immigration:
Chapter 7: “American Jews and the New Millenium”
Chapter 11: “How Muslims Use Islamic Paradigms to Define America”

September 27, 29
Muslim Immigrant Religion

Read:
On reserve: article on Middle Eastern Americans
4
th
First Exam September 29

October 4, 6
Diversity among Catholic Immigrants: Latinos and Asians

Read:
From: Religion and the New Immigrants
Chapter 13: “St. Mary’s Catholic Church: Celebrating Domestic Religion”
Chapter 14: “St Catherine’s Catholic Church: One Church, Parallel
Congregations”

First Literature Review due October 6th

October 11, 13
Pan-Ethnic Congregations

Read:
From: Religion and the New Immigrants
Chapter 15: “Southwest Assembly of God: Whomsoever Will”

October 18, 20
Divers ity among New Muslim Immigrants

Read:
From Religion and Immigration:
Chapter 9: “Islam in America: The Mosaic”
Chapter 10: “Constructing the American Muslim Community”

October 25, 27
Transnational Religion and Mexican Migrants

Read:
From Religion and Immigration:
Chapter 3: “Crossing the Borders: Evangelicalism and Migration”
Chapter 4: “Colonization versus Immigration in the Integration and
Identification of Hispanics in the United States”

Second Exam October 25th

November 1, 3
Transnational Religion and Mexican Migrants continued
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Diaspora Religion

Read:
On Reserve: Fortuny on a case study of Mexican transnational church as a
diasporic religious community

November 8, 10
Diaspora Religion continued

Read:
From Religion and Immigration:
Chapter 7: “American Jews in the New Millenium”

November 15, 17
Asian Immigrant Religion

Read:
From: Religion and the New Immigrants
Chapter 10: “Jyothi Hindu Temple: One Religion, Many Practices”
Chapter 11: “Center for Vietnamese Buddhism: Recreating Home”

November 22 Class does not meet on November 24th : Thanksgiving Holiday


Asian Immigrant Religion continued

Read:
From: Religion and the New Immigrants
Chapter 12: “Chinese Gospel Church: The Sinicization of Christianity”

Second Literature Review due November 22

November 29

Third (Final) Exam