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Preserving Ethnicity through Religion in America: Korean Protestants and Indian Hindus across Generations

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Preserving Ethnicity through Religion in America explores the factors that may lead to greater success in ethnic preservation. Pyong Gap Min compares Indian Americans and Korean Americans, two of the most significant ethnic groups in New York, and examines the different ways in which they preserve their ethnicity through their faith. Does someone feel more “Indian” because they practice Hinduism? Does membership in a Korean Protestant church aid in maintaining ties to Korean culture?

Pushing beyond sociological research on religion and ethnicity which has tended to focus on whites or on a single immigrant group or on a single generation, Min also takes actual religious practice and theology seriously, rather than gauging religiosity based primarily on belonging to a congregation. Fascinating and provocative voices of informants from two generations combine with telephone survey data to help readers understand overall patterns of religious practices for each group under consideration. Preserving Ethnicity through Religion in America is remarkable in its scope, its theoretical significance, and its methodological sophistication.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A persuasive book...a fine piece of social science, and a positive contribution to our literature."-Rhys H. Wililams,Journal of Asian American Studies

“A well-crafted comparative study of immigrant religious life and spiritual practices among Korean Protestants and Indian Hindus in the United States based on quantitative survey data and in-depth interviews. It advances a compelling theoretical account about the relationship between religious diversity and immigrant adaptation—a must-read book on the sociology of religion.”
-Min Zhou,co-editor of Contemporary Chinese America: Second Edition

“Pyong Gap Min here exhibits all the methodological skill and interpretive nuance we have come to expect from the foremost sociologist of Asian American religion. . . . The book is a tour de force, one that will cause us to re-evaluate several things we have long thought we knew about how religion shapes ethnicity and vice-versa. The writing is clear and jargon-free, and the narrative is rich in human detail.”
-Paul Spickard,University of California, Santa Barbara

“The book, based on Pyong Gap Min’s exhaustive study of Korean Protestant and Indian communities in the New York area, shows how these ethnic groups move in two different directions regarding religion and ethnicity: the Koreans tend to separate ethnicity and religion as they integrate into society, increasingly stressing the latter, while the Indians maintain their ethnicity through their Hinduism, although with looser religious attachments in the second generation.”-Religion Watch,

"Pyong Gap Min lives up to his stellar reputation as a pioneer and preeminent scholar of Asian American society...Min's latest book is a fresh take on the study of immigrant religions in the United States...This landmark study is sure to spur further research and become a foundatino for many ethnic studies, religion, and sociology courses in the future"
-Karen Chai Kim,The Journal of Asian Studies

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814795859
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 4/5/2010
  • Pages: 276
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Pyong Gap Min is Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Director of Research Center for Korean Community at Queens College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He is the author or editor of several books, including Caught in the Middle: Korean Merchants in America’s Multiethnic Cities.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Introduction 1

1 Theoretical Frameworks 15

2 Religions in India and South Korea 29

3 Korean and Indian Immigrants' Religious Affiliations and Participation in Religious Institutions 47

4 Ethnographic Research on the Shin Kwang Korean Church 75

5 Ethnographic Research on the Hindu Temple Society of North America 91

6 Participation in Religious Institutions, Family Rituals, and Identity 111

7 Younger Generations' Preservation of Ethnicity through Participation in Religious Institutions 129

8 Younger Generations' Preservation of Ethnicity through Domestic Religious Practices 161

9 The Importance of Religion to Younger Generations' Identity, Socialization, and Social Relations 175

10 A Summary of Major Findings and Their Theoretical Implications 197

Appendix 1 213

Appendix 2 221

Notes 237

References 245

Index 259

About the Author 265

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