Middlebury

Immigrant religions in America to be focus of Middlebury College lecture series March 1-April 19

February 16, 2007

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. ? Beginning Thursday, March 1, and continuing through Thursday, April 19, Middlebury College will host the 2007 Charles P. Scott Lectures. The series of five talks will highlight immigrant religions in America and focus on issues of identity and the intersection of ethnicity, religion and nation. The lectures are free and open to the public and will take place in Robert A. Jones '59 House, located on Hillcrest Road off College Street (Route 125).

The reworking of one's identity is an ongoing challenge for immigrants as they seek to adjust to American society, and religion is a central factor. Five speakers from various institutions and organizations will discuss these issues through lecture topics that range from transnational religions and pluralism to multiculturalism and Islam as an American religion. The talks will explore how religious, ethnic, and civic identities interact and evolve.

The lecturers include Raymond Williams, a professor emeritus in humanities at Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Ind., and a pioneer in the area of immigrant religions; Sharon Suh, a professor of theology and religious studies at Seattle University and the recent author of a book on Korean Buddhists; Fenggang Yang, a professor of sociology at Purdue University and an expert on Chinese Christian immigrants; Prema Kurien, a professor of sociology at Syracuse University and an authority on American Hinduism; and Jane Smith, a professor of Islamic studies and co-director of the Duncan Black MacDonald Center for the Study of Christian-Muslim Relations at the Hartford Seminary in Hartford, Conn. 

The lecture series is sponsored by several Middlebury College organizations: the Department of Religion, the Charles P. Scott Fund, the American Studies Program, Atwater Commons, Brainerd Commons, Cook Commons, Ross Commons, Wonnacott Commons and the Rohatyn Center for International Affairs. For more information, contact Charlene Barrett in the Middlebury College religion department at cmbarret@middlebury.edu or 802-443-5289.

To follow is a schedule of lectures:

2007 Charles P. Scott Lecture Series Schedule

Thursday, March 1, at 4:30 p.m.
"Transnational Religions and American Identities"

Raymond Williams, Charles D. and Elizabeth S. Follette Distinguished Professor in the Humanities, Emeritus, Wabash College and author of "Religions of Immigrants from India and Pakistan" (1988) and co-author of "Buddhists, Hindus and Sikhs in the United States" (2001).

Friday, March 9, at 12:15 p.m.
"Religion, Immigration and the Quest for a Self: An
Examination of Contemporary Korean American Buddhism"    
Sharon Suh, Associate Professor in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at Seattle University and recent author of "Being Buddhist in a Christian World" (2004) about the Korean Buddhist community in Los Angeles. 

Thursday, March 15, at 4:30 p.m.
"The Pluralism Project of Distortion: What do Asian Americans Really Believe?"

Fenggang Yang, Associate Professor of Sociology at Purdue University and author of "Chinese Christians in America: Conversion, Assimilation, and Adhesive Identities" (1999) and co-author of "Asian American Religions: The Making and Remaking of Borders and Boundaries" (2000) and "State Market and Religions in Chinese Societies" (2005).

Monday, April 9, at 4:30 p.m.
"A Place at the Multicultural Table: The Development of an American Hinduism"

Prema Kurien, Associate Professor of Sociology at Syracuse University and author of "Kaleidoscopic Ethnicity: International Migration and the Reconstruction of Community Identities in India" (2002) and the forthcoming "Multiculturalism and Immigrant Religion: The Development of an American Hinduism" (2007).

Thursday, April 19, at 4:30 p.m.
"Islam: A Truly American Religion?"
Jane Smith, Professor of Islamic Studies and Co-Director of the Duncan Black Macdonald Center for the Study of Christian-Muslim Relations at the Hartford Seminary and expert on Muslim communities in America, as well as co-author of "Muslim Women in America" (2006) and "Islam and the West Post 9/11" (2005).
  
The series of lectures will take place in Robert A. Jones '59 House, located on Hillcrest Road off College Street (Route 125), and is free and open to the public.

For more information, contact Charlene Barrett in the Middlebury College religion department at cmbarret@middlebury.edu or 802-443-5289.