African Immigrant Religions in America / Edition 1

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African immigration to North America has been rapidly increasing. Yet, little has been written about this significant group of immigrants and the particular religious traditions that they are transplanting on our shores, as scholars continue largely to focus instead on immigrants from Europe and Asia.

African Immigrant Religions in America focuses on new understandings and insights concerning the presence and relevance of African immigrant religious communities in the United States. It explores the profound significance of religion in the lives of immigrants and the relevance of these growing communities for U.S. social life. It describes key social and historical aspects of African immigrant religion in the U.S. and builds a conceptual framework for theory and analysis.

The volume broadens our understandings of the ways in which new immigration is changing the face of Christianity in the U.S. and adds needed breadth to the study of the black church, incorporating the experiences of African immigrant religious communities in America.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“A much needed scholarly study of first—generation African immigrants who have come voluntarily to America for the first time. In their search for better opportunities they have brought with them a wide diversity of religious and moral traditions as their legacy to the cultural life of this nation. This book will be a necessary resource for all who study contemporary religions in America.”
-Peter J. Paris,Princeton Theological Seminary

African Immigrant Religions in America . . . is a very important book, which has wide implications for sociology of immigration, race, ethnicity, gender, and international studies, in addition to religion. They compile an impressive and diverse array of experts on African immigrant religious communities.”

-Sociology of Religion


“A masterful study of the role African immigrants play in shaping religion in the United States and Canada. This significant publication should be required reading for all those interested in understanding the links between ethnicity, transnationalism, and religion.”
-Tite Tienou,Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, Illinois

“An excellent collection of essays. . . . Highly recommended.”


African Immigrant Religions in America is a significant contribution, laying the foundation for what promises to be a rich field of study.”

-Peter Pham,James Madison University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814762127
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 5/1/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Jacob K. Olupona is Professor of African and African American studies, Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Professor of African Religious Traditions, Harvard Divinity School, Harvard University. His publications include African Traditional Religions in Contemporary Society; African Spirituality: Forms, Meanings, and Expressions; and Beyond Primitivism: Indigenous Religions and Modernity.

Regina Gemignani is a Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Davis.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     vii
Introduction   Jacob K. Olupona   Regina Gemignani     1
Historical and Theoretical Perspectives
Communities of Believers: Exploring African Immigrant Religion in the United States   Jacob K. Olupona     27
African Immigrant Churches in the United States and the Study of Black Church History   David D. Daniels     47
The Andrew Syndrome: Models in Understanding Nigerian Diaspora   Ogbu M. Kalu     61
Reverse Mission: Faith, Practice, and the Immigrant Journey
Non-Western Christianity in the Western World: African Immigrant Churches in the Diaspora   Akintunde Akinade     89
Portable Faith: The Global Mission of African Initiated Churches   Elias Bongmba     102
Gender, Ethnicity, and Identity
Gender, Identity, and Power in African Immigrant Evangelical Churches   Regina Gemignani     133
Gender and Change in an African Immigrant Church: An Anthropologist and a (Former) Prophetess Reflect   Deidre Helen Crumbley   Gloria Malake Cline-Smythe     158
West African Muslims in America: When Are Muslims Not Muslims?   Linda Beck     182
African Religious Beliefs and Practices in Diaspora: An Ethnographic Observation of Activities at an Ethiopian Orthodox Christian Church in Los Angeles   Worku Nida     207
Civic Engagement and Political Incorporation
Transnationalism, Religion, and the African Diaspora in Canada: An Examination of Ghanaians and Ghanaian Churches   Wisdom J. Tettey     229
Singing the Lord's Song in a Foreign Land: Spirituality, Communality, and Identity in a Ghanaian Immigrant Congregation   Moses Biney     259
African Immigrant Churches and the New Christian Right   Mojubaolu Olufunke Okome     279
African Muslims in the United States: The Nigerian Case   Yushau Sodiq     306
Conclusion   Jacob K. Olupona   Regina Gemignani     325
Contributors     335
Index     339
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