Getting Saved in America: Taiwanese Immigration and Religious Experience

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9780691119625: Getting Saved in America: Taiwanese Immigration and Religious Experience
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What does becoming American have to do with becoming religious? Many immigrants become more religious after coming to the United States. Taiwanese are no different. Like many Asian immigrants to the United States, Taiwanese frequently convert to Christianity after immigrating. But Americanization is more than simply a process of Christianization. Most Taiwanese American Buddhists also say they converted only after arriving in the United States even though Buddhism is a part of Taiwan's dominant religion. By examining the experiences of Christian and Buddhist Taiwanese Americans, Getting Saved in America tells "a story of how people become religious by becoming American, and how people become American by becoming religious."


Carolyn Chen argues that many Taiwanese immigrants deal with the challenges of becoming American by becoming religious. Based on in-depth interviews with Taiwanese American Christians and Buddhists, and extensive ethnographic fieldwork at a Taiwanese Buddhist temple and a Taiwanese Christian church in Southern California, Getting Saved in America is the first book to compare how two religions influence the experiences of one immigrant group. By showing how religion transforms many immigrants into Americans, it sheds new light on the question of how immigrants become American.


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"Clearly and engagingly written, this book pays close attention to the details of language and life through which meaning emerges, but it also stays in constant conversation with the larger theoretical and conceptual questions at the heart of sociological inquiry. I strongly recommend it."--Robert Wuthnow, Princeton University


"Based on thorough, sensitive ethnography, this book explores the role of religion in helping Taiwanese immigrants adapt to American society and develop a new, American identity. It is distinguished by an unusually good ethnography--an especially close attention to the fine-grained realities of everyday life--and by its attempt to wrestle with large, classical questions about the comparative sociology of religion."--Richard Madsen, University of California, San Diego


"Once I picked up this book I could not put it down. It is full of fascinating stories, lucid descriptions, eloquent arguments, and penetrating analyses. Getting Saved in America is a significant contribution to the study of immigrant religion and the sociological understanding of American religion."--Fenggang Yang, Purdue University


About the Author:

Carolyn Chen is assistant professor of sociology and Asian American studies at Northwestern University.

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