Race, Religion, Region
Landscapes of Encounter in the American West
This book moves beyond familiar stereotypes to achieve a more nuanced understanding of race while also showing how ethnicity formed in conjunction with religious and regional identity. The chapters demonstrate how religion shaped cultural encounters, contributed to the construction of racial identities, and served as a motivating factor in the lives of historical actors. The opening chapters document how religion fostered community in Los Angeles in the first half of the twentieth century. The second section examines how physical encounters—such as those involving Chinese immigrants, Hermanos Penitentes, and Pueblo dancers—shaped religious and racial encounters in the West. The final essays investigate racial and religious identity among the Latter-day Saints and southern California Muslims. As these contributions clearly show, race, religion, and region are as critical as gender, sexuality, and class in understanding the melting pot that is the West. By depicting the West as a unique site for understanding race and religion, they open a new window on how we view all of America.
“The essays are interesting and well written; they challenge commonly held assumptions and evoke additional questions and areas of research.”—Oregon Historical Quarterly