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The Landscape of Contemporary Asian American Studies (September 2016): Religion

By Mark E. Pfeifer


Several works have addressed religiosity and the role of religion in ethnic adaptation among Asian American immigrant populations.  David K. Yoo and Ruth H. Chung’s Religion and Spirituality in Korean America is a strong edited volume that focuses on the role of religion among Koreans in the United States.  Contributed articles discuss the relationship between religion and family structures, gender identity, the maintenance of ethnic identity, marriage, and adoptions.  The bulk of the articles focus on Korean American Protestants, as they are the majority of the religiously committed Korean population, though individual chapters also focus on Korean Catholics and Buddhists.  Carolyn Chen’s Getting Saved in America: Taiwanese Immigration and Religious Experience focuses on the role of religion in the lives of Taiwanese Americans.  The author posits that religious practices oriented toward transforming moral self-discipline serve to ground Taiwanese immigrants during the unsettling time of migration and its aftermath.  Chen observes that Christianity and Buddhism give Taiwanese immigrants new narratives, practices, and habits that they use to remake their identities as Taiwanese Americans in the United States.