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Robert Crosnoe, Chair CLA 3.306, Mailcode A1700, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-232-6300

Fall 2007

SOC 308 • Asian American Religions

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
47558 MWF
2:00 PM-3:00 PM
BIO 301
Cherry

Course Description

In the next fifty years the ethnic and racial demographics of the United States are expected to shift dramatically. According to recent census projections, nearly fifty percent of the country will be non-white with a large part of this change occurring through immigration and growth in the Asian American community. As this shift occurs we can expect that Asian Americans will continue to have a profound effect on the future cultural and social dynamics of the country. Historically, Asian immigrants have continually played a role in shaping the diversity of American society but these changes may prove to be more dramatic in the coming years in large part because post 1960s immigrants are markedly different than the immigrant streams prior- they are racially and ethnically more varied, come from a greater variety of countries and bring with them a multitude of linguistic and cultural forms that are either new or little known. Of particular importance is the diversity of religion and religious practices these new immigrants bring with them. This diversity is not limited however to variation across religious traditions in the Asian American community but diversity within religious traditions as well.

In this course we will explore the various religious traditions practiced in the Asian American community and ask the question of what roles religious practice and religious institutions play both at the individual level and in broader communities? Essentially, does religion matter? How and why?

Looking both at new Asian American immigrants and more established communities in the United States, we will evaluate religion as a resource that can facilitate the settlement process of new immigrants, provide a cultural means of preserving individual self-awareness and group cohesion, as well as facilitate civic engagement.

Objectives
1) Develop a clear sense of the role of religion in the Asian American community.
2) Understand the central concepts and major paradigms in the study of religion and society as it pertains to the Asian American community.
3) Analyze specific topics in gender, age, race, ethnicity, and class from a variety of cultural and theoretical perspectives.
4) Gain a sense of appreciation for the complexity and richness of Asian American religious life.

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