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Volume VII

Volume VII, Number 3                    Spring 2000


From the Chair
Preliminary Program
Joint Sessions with ASR
Job Opportunities
The Polis Center
Faith-Based Initiatives
Member Publications

Officers of the Section

Nancy T. Ammerman, Hartford Seminary,

Rhys Williams, Southern Illinois University,
Past Chair:
Patrick McNamara, University of New Mexico,
Adair Lummis, Hartford Seminary,
Newsletter Editor:
Joseph B. Tamney, Ball State University,

Marie Cornwall (01), Brigham Young University,
Katherine Meyer (01), Ohio State University,
Michele Dillion (02), Yale University,
R. Steven Warner (02), University of Illinois-Chicago,
Penny Edgell Becker (03), Cornell University,
Michael Emerson (03), Rice University,

From the Chair

Nancy T. Ammerman

I can't wait to get to Anaheim! Getting back to Disneyland is going to be a major nostalgia trip for me, after all those days of my youth riding the Matterhorn and date nights watching Tinkerbell fly through the night sky.

Of course, I'll also be enjoying a rich array of sociological fare, as well. As many of you, I'll arrive early to participate in the meetings of the Association for the Sociology of Religion, which begin on Friday. But the highlight will come on Monday night and Tuesday, when the Religion Section reception and sessions will be held. Among the reasons to stay through this final day of the ASA meetings:

  • Our Monday night reception, with the announcement of winners of this year's awards.
  • A Tuesday session on Religion and Public Policy that will take us from local social service settings to issues of nationstate and democracy.
  • A session, jointly sponsored with the Race and Ethnicity Section, that will explore "New Frontiers in the Study of Religion and Race."
  • A set of five roundtables, focused on issues ranging from family and gender to Latin American religion and collective identity.
  • A session that takes up the ASA meeting theme by exploring religion in the city.
  • And a session in which Omar McRoberts, Nancy Nason-Clark, and Mary Jo Neitz will join me in reporting on various ways we are seeking to expand the study of "religious identity."

We are helping ASA to inaugurate a new four-day schedule, with our Section activities placed on the fourth day. Given the shorter overall schedule, I hope you will plan to include this rich day in Anaheim in your meeting schedule.

And when we're not in sessions, I'll see you on Space Mountain!



Religion and Public Policy

Presider & Discussant: John Coleman, Loyola-Marymount, Los Angeles

Religion and Civil Society: Findings from a national survey of faith based community organizing
Richard L. Wood, University of New Mexico and Mark R. Warren, Fordham University

Serving Up God? The manifestations of religion in faith based social service organizations
Rebecca Sager, University of Arizona; Laura Susan Stephens, University of Arizona; Mary Nell Trautner, University of Arizona

Nationalism, National Identity and Democracy: The Role of Religious and Cultural Values in Polish Democracy Since 1989
Joanna Kaftan, University of Notre Dame


Future for Urban Religion:
New Forms, New Faiths, New Seekers

The Urban Geography of Religion and Race
Lowell Livezey, University of Illinois, Chicago

Awakening an Identity: Taiwanese Immigrants Becoming Buddhist in America
Carolyn Chen, University of California, Berkeley

The Church and the Street: Clergy Confront the Immediate Environment
Omar McRoberts, University of Chicago

For the Love of America and Longing for Home: Isma’il al-Faruqi and the Emergence of the Muslim Immigrant Minority of North America
Behrooz Ghamari, Georgia St. University

The Effects of Attendance at Multiracial Churches on the Individualism of European-American and African-American Christians
George Yancey, University of North Texas


New Frontiers in the Study of Religion and Race

(jointly sponsored with the Section on Race and Ethnicity)

Presider: R. Stephen Warner

Panelists: Cheryl Townsend Gilkes, Colby College

Larry Mamiya, Vassar College

Peggy Levitt, Wellesley College

Henry Goldschmidt, New York University


Expanding the Study of Religious Identities

Presider: Nancy T. Ammerman, Hartford Seminary

Constructing the Survivor Identity in a Religious Context
Nancy Nason-Clark, University of New Brunswick

African-American Exilic Consciousness and Religious Identity
Omar M. McRoberts, University of Chicago

Religious Identities in the Light of the PostModern Challenge
Mary Jo Neitz, University of Missouri



1. Religion and Collective Identity

Table Presider: James Cavendish, University of South Florida

The Rhetoric of Black Abolitionism: Moral Claims-Making and Collective Identity in the New York Anti-Slavery Press
Timothy Shortell, Nancy Sanchez, Zuleika Rodriguez, and Enrique Marin, Brooklyn College, CUNY.

This is True Biblical Koinonia: The Construction and Maintenance of Multiculturalism and Multiracialism in a New Evangelical Christian Congregation
Kathleen Jenkins, Brandeis University

Religion and Immigration in Comparative Perspective: Salvadorans in Catholic and Evangelical Communities in San Francisco, Phoenix, and Washington, D.C.
Cecilia Menjivar, Arizona State University

There's Still Plenty of Cloth there to Wrap Myself In: The Fabric of Secular Jewish Identity
Joan Mazelis, University of Pennsylvania


2. Religion, Family, and Community

Table Presider: Mike Leming, St. Olaf College

The Functions Religion May Serve and The Conflicts It May Cause: Various Dimensions of Religion in the Family and How They Affect Adolescent Delinquency
Lisa Pearce, University of Michigan

Religion and Community Among the Elderly: The Relationship between the Religious Secular Characteristics of the Elderly's Social Networks
William Alex McIntosh, Texas A&M University, Dianne Sykes, Fond Du Lac University, and Karen S. Kubena, Texas A&M University


3. Religion and Gender at Colleges and Universities

Table Presider: (pending)

I wear Red, I wear High Heels, I AM a Chestnut Hill Woman: An Exploration of Catholic College Identity
Tia Noelle Pratt, Fordham University

Can Feminism and Religion Co-Exist? Student Attitudes about Feminism and Discussion of Feminism at a Conservative Religious University
Suzanna Crage, Indiana University


4. Movements in Latin American Religion

Table Presider: Robert Woodberry, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Who Commits to Latin American Evangelicalism: Life Problems and Meaning Networks
David Smilde, University of Notre Dame

The Origins of Liberation Theology: A Framework for the Comparative-Historical Study of Progressive Catholicism
Robert S. Mackin, University of Wisconsin-Madison


5. Religion, Attitudes, and Decision-Making

Table Presider: William Mirola, Marian College

Testing the Convergence of Religious Behavior and Beliefs, Social Attitudes, and Social Status of Protestants and Catholics in the United States, 1972-1998: An Application of Chaves's New Differentiation Theory
Tanja St. Pierre, The Pennsylvania State University

Affiliation, Salience, Advocacy: Three Religious Factors in Legislative Decision-Making
David Yamane, University of Notre Dame


See You





Exploring GenerationX Religiosity/Spirituality

Saturday August 18th, 8:30 AM

Presider: D. Paul Johnson, Texas Tech University

Discussant: James C. Cavendish, University of South Florida

Generational Differences and Similarities in Religiosity, Spirituality, Socioeconomic Status, and Race/Ethnicity
Robert E. Beckley and James D. Griffith, West Texas A&M University

The Religious Identity of Young Adult Catholics in the Context of Other Catholic Generations
Mary L. Gautier and Sr. Mary E. Bendyna, Georgetown University

Civic Engagement among American Catholics, Especially the Post-Vatican II Generation
James D. Davidson, Purdue University

Catholic Identity: Are GenXers Different from Other Birth Cohorts?
Andrea S. Williams, Purdue University


Mainstream Participants, Marginal Religions, and the New Age

Saturday, August 18th, 10:30 AM

Presider: Helen A. Berger, West Chester University

Wicca in Europe: Past, Present and Future
Vivianne Crowley, University of London

New Age: Minority Religion with Mainstream Appeal
Michael York, Bath Spa University College

Why Do Mainstream Social Actors Get Involved in Marginal Religions?
Dorothea M. Filus, Monash University


Religion in the Lives of New Immigrants to California

Sunday August 19th, 8:30 AM

Presider: Jon Miller, University of Southern California

Religion and Health Seeking Among Recent Latino Immigrants in the Los Angeles Area
H. Edward Ransford and Frank Carrillo, University of Southern California

A Comparison of Contemporary Clergy Mobilization for the Labor Rights of New Immigrants and the Sanctuary Movement of the 1980s
Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo and Kara Lemma, University of Southern California

Religion as Protection from Joining Gangs
Monica Whitlock, University of Southern California
Cheryl Maxson, University of California, Irvine

‘Money, Money, Money’: Organizational Changes in an Indian-American Christian Church
Prema Kurien, University of Southern California

Indigenous Migrants and Cultural Diversity: Ethnicity and Religion Among Mexican Immigrants in the U.S.
Gaspar Rivera-Salgado, University of Southern California


The Decentering And Recentering Of Religion In Urban Communities

Sunday, August 19th, 2:30 PM

Presider: William A. Mirola, Marian College

Decentering and Anticentering: Tensions in Neighborhood Religious Life
Elfriede Wedam, The Polis Center – Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

The One and the Many: The Domestication of Institutional Religion and the Negotiation of the Sacred in Public Life
Arthur E. Farnsley II, The Polis Center – Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

Centering Religious Conversion, De-centers Criminological Identity, and e-centers the Relationship between Sociology and Theology
Victoria Lee Erickson, Drew University

Ethnic and Religious Identities Among Urban University Asian Americans: A Preliminary Analysis
Jerry Park, University of Notre Dame


Vanderbilt University. The Department of Sociology invites applications for one 1-year or two 1-semester part-time Senior Lecturer positions. The Senior Lecturer(s) will teach: 1) a three-hour undergraduate course on American Social Movements in Fall 2001, commencing August 2001; 2) a three-hour undergraduate course on the Sociology of Religion in Spring 2002, commencing January 2002; or, 3) both courses. Applicants should submit a letter of interest in the position, curriculum vitae, and any supplemental material indicating promise or evidence of teaching excellence. Application materials, including three letters of recommendation, should be received by May 30, 2001. Vanderbilt is an Equal Opportunity - Affirmative Action Employer and women and minority candidates are encouraged to apply. Send all materials to Department Chair, Department of Sociology, 2301 Vanderbilt Place, VU Station B Box 351811, Nashville, TN 37235-1811. Information on the department, the College of Arts and Science, Vanderbilt University and e-mail addresses can be obtained on the Internet at http//



As a member of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, The Polis Center is a service, education, and research institute focusing on a wide range of urban issues. The Project on Religion and Urban Culture (PRUC) of The Polis Center is a major religion project (funded by The Lilly Endowment, Inc.) that combines research, public teaching, and dissemination.

The research inquiries of the PRUC are undertaken by a multidisciplinary team collecting historical and field-based data on the religious landscape of metropolitan Indianapolis. Five books are currently under publishers’ reviews, with the lead volume tentatively entitled Sacred Circles and Public Squares: Religion Decentered and Recentered in Indianapolis and the Nation. This work focuses on urban change and the simultaneously changing role of religious authority in Protestant dominated Indianapolis over the 20th century. It takes up the challenge of disestablishment, showing that religious pluralism is real yet facing the considerable influence of the Protestant establishment. The complex relationship between public and private manifestations of religious life also challenges the secularization thesis. Researchers at the Center are exploring a wide variety of other topics as well. A number of articles exploring issues in government funding of faith-based organizations and congregations in different neighborhood settings have appeared, in addition to edited volumes on faith-based social services or the use of computers in historical study. Other journal articles under preparation concern the role of racially diverse congregations in cross-racial civic dialogue, the public voice of Catholicism in the new pluralism, and different forms of social capital in urban and suburban contexts. Historical topics of monograph length discuss social welfare in 20th century Indianapolis, suburban and religious ecological change, and a five-city comparison of religious regionalism.

One of the goals of PRUC has been to make academic inquiries public-friendly. Through the tools of public teaching, academic research findings are translated into forms that reach a wider audience. For example, The Polis Center is producing a second multi-part video series on religion and culture, has published books of photography and essays by local writers, and has sponsored workshops and conferences dealing with religion in public life.

What lessons have been learned? Because the Center is committed to bridging the academy-community gap, a type of co-learning, in which questions raised by community members are creatively mixed into the research process, takes place. However, challenges of dissemination persist because of reluctance on the part of congregational audiences, nonprofit groups, clergy, and civic leaders to participate in activities traditionally seen as "academic." One approach by the Center has been to find new ways of translating findings for presentation to public groups by using multimedia, brief newsletters, and web features. Activities have been hosted in congregations, schools, libraries, and other non-university settings to make them more inviting. Community leaders--including clergy, community organizations, and political and civic leaders--are regular participants in panel discussions with scholars.

Other experiments, not all successful, have included using community members or even high school students to help collect data in local neighborhoods. Academic training seems still to correlate with reliable results. However, new approaches are sought here as well since some clergy--African-American pastors and pastors of small, conservative congregations, for example--constitute important populations that have been difficult for scholars to reach.

The data from the PRUC--quantitative and qualitative data, historical and contemporary, on over 400 congregations and community organizations--is housed in ACCESS, SPSS, and NUD*IST. Selected quantitative data will be integrated into the SAVI database. These data are being prepared for scholarly use, through an application and approval process, and some limited public use under the Federal Research Guidelines for Human Subjects.


Faith Based Initiatives - Where's the Research?

Nancy T. Ammerman

At least since January, the issue of "faith based initiatives" has been much in the news. We hear stories about how much religious organizations are already doing, about how eager they are to get government money, and -most of all - how they do a better job of delivering services and getting results. The only problem is that the vast majority of this debate is being conducted without the benefit of data (nothing new in Washington, I realize).

It's time for sociologists of religion to step up to the plate. A few studies have already contributed to our base of knowledge. Mark Chaves has given us solid numbers on what congregations are doing and how willing they would be to take government money. My own work has added detail on the existing connections between congregations and various types of social service organizations. But I know of no study that takes up the questions surrounding efficiency and efficacy. Do religious organizations do it more efficiently and "better"?

Nor do I know of any studies that ask the more difficult questions about just what it means, on the ground, for a service to be "faith based." We can have no idea how we really ought to respond to the public policy questions about church-state entanglement unless we have a more accurate picture of how service organizations differ in their practice -- religious v secular, separately-organized 501c3 v congregation-based, evangelical v Catholic v liberal Protestant, etc.

Because this has become a major public policy issue, big funders are in the game. What we need now are the skills of sociological researchers and the insights of scholars who understand the religious domain.



Lee, Daniel B. Old Order Mennonites: Rituals, Beliefs, and Community. Burnham, 2000.



Joseph B. Tamney
Ball State University
Department of Sociology
2000 W. University Ave.
Muncie, IN 47306

Fax: 765-285-8980




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