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God Needs No Passport: Immigrants and the Changing American Religious Landscape

Overview

Millions of New Immigrants from Asia, Africa, and Latin America have arrived on America's shores over the past decade, transforming its cultural landscape. Yet unlike previous generations of immigrants, these new global migrants now keep one foot in their countries of origin and become part of the American fabric by participating in religious institutions that span international boundaries. This new phenomenon is changing the face of religious diversity in the United States, ...

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Overview

Millions of New Immigrants from Asia, Africa, and Latin America have arrived on America's shores over the past decade, transforming its cultural landscape. Yet unlike previous generations of immigrants, these new global migrants now keep one foot in their countries of origin and become part of the American fabric by participating in religious institutions that span international boundaries. This new phenomenon is changing the face of religious diversity in the United States, helping to make American religion just as global as U.S. corporations.

In this pathbreaking book with stunning implications for today's immigration debates, author Peggy Levitt shows that the new realities of religion and migration are subtly challenging the very definition of what it means to be an American. Filled with impressive firsthand accounts of the contemporary immigrant experience, God Needs No Passport reveals that American values are no longer just made in the U.S.A. but around the globe.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Levitt (sociology, Wellesley Coll.; The Transnational Villagers) opens with the experiences of U.S. immigrants from a small city in interior Brazil and similar places in India, Pakistan, and Ireland, drawing from extensive surveys and interviews with 247 first-generation immigrants. Her charts and statistics give an excellent overall view of the results of her thorough on-site research; the illustrations show how immigration is affecting American values because of, e.g., migratory experiences, family ties, educational attainments, political participation, and social inclinations. Levitt describes specifically the way religion is being challenged and changed; "that it is alive and well"; and that it operates across cultures, much like today's global corporations. Finally, she suggests that robust pluralism may be an answer to the threats of future terrorism. General readers will appreciate the summary comments and charts in the appendix (though, by the same token, all the minute observations and examples may cause them to lose interest); sociologists will appreciate the specifics. Recommended for academic libraries.
—George Westerlund

From the Publisher

"A crucial look at the extraordinarily complex issue of migration in the world today." —Jorge G. Castañeda, author of Ex Mex and Utopia Unarmed

"Levitt takes the trouble to listen to immigrants themselves. . . . The book is timely in countering one-dimensional views of both religion and immigration." —George Rupp, President, International Rescue Committee

"Levitt puts a human face on the globalization of religion. A wise and indispensable guide to understanding twenty-first-century American society." —Mary C. Water, Harvard University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781595581693
  • Publisher: New Press, The
  • Publication date: 6/1/2007
  • Pages: 270
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author


Peggy Levitt is a professor of sociology at Wellesley College. She is also a research fellow at the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations and the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University. She is the author of God Needs No Passport: Immigrants and the Changing American Religious Landscape (The New Press); The Transnational Villagers; and a co-editor, with Mary Waters, of The Changing Face of Home. She lives in Concord, Massachusetts.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

Prologue 1

1 Redefining the Boundaries of Belonging 9

2 Transnational Lives 27

3 Between the Nation, the World, and God 67

4 Values and Practices: "You Do Your Best and You Leave the Rest" 93

5 A New Religious Architecture 113

6 Getting to the Other Side of the Rainbow with Faith as the Car 137

Conclusion Tolerance in the Face of Terrorism 165

Appendix Demographic Characteristics and Transnational Ties: Similarities and Differences 175

Notes 201

References 235

Index 257

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2007

    Making sense out of what many refer to as nonsense

    Finally! A book that addresses both the immigration and religion issues, which are both current, hot topics in America. The writer, Peggy Levitt, steps right into the lives of various people and explores their perspectives on Americanization and religiousity. It is an interesting read, filled with diverse stories of the Irish Catholic in Boston to Brazilians in Framingham. Immigrants who come to America in hopes of becoming financially sound enough to return to their country to provide a better living for their families. Immigrants who come to America seeking political justice and have no desire of ever moving back. The author examines how these migrants adjust, maintain their interests in their mother country, and how Americans react to this influx in a post 9/11 society. I recommend this well-written book to everyone: Democrats, Republicans, liberals, conservatives, and especially college students, who themselves may be experiencing self-discovery of a person they are just becoming.

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