“At Home in Academia?” is a series of symposia for early career scholars that promotes informal and interactive discussions about how different religious, racial, and ethnic communities in the United States negotiate their relationship to American society.

This meeting of the symposium will examine the role of religion, language, and citizenship in shaping American identities. Scholars from all areas of the humanities and social sciences are invited to participate.

This symposium is free and open to all scholars. However, you must register in order to attend.

Symposium Begins at 9:00am

  1. Religion:

If we are to believe historian Jon Butler, religion has not fared well in the historiography of modern America (see Journal of American History, March 2004). And if we are to believe our journalists, pollsters and pundits, religion is extraordinarily-perhaps singularly-important in American life today. In this panel, we are asking you to consider whether religion makes a difference to the topics you study, and how you address religion in your scholarship.

Your task is by no means easy since, from the start, you may well want to ask what we mean by religion. We, however, intend to turn that very question back to you: do you define religion as vital or marginal to American history? To what extent do you believe that narratives of American culture-whether focusing on politics, economics, popular culture, foreign relations, intellectual movements, gender relationships, ethnicity, race, or social trends-must take religion seriously? Is religion simply a lens into other social patterns, or is religion its own historical variable? You may wish to consider the sway of the secularization thesis in sociology and history. For some years, scholars predicted that twentieth-century America was on a straight course toward secularization. The public role of religion was assumed to be diminishing in favor of other ideologies and discourses. To what extent have we inherited this thesis, and to what extent are we interested in overturning it? Challenges to the secularization model also reflect on the way we think about the public and private. Do private religious commitments have an effect on the public realm? Does the American political system foster a division between the public and the private in its constitutional approach to religion and national governance? Can the category of "identity" exist without taking religion into account?

Moderator: David Kaufman, Hebrew Union College

  1. Wendy Klein, University of California, Los Angeles,Sikhs in Los Angeles
  2. Ghada Osman, San Diego State University, Arab-Americans
  3. J. Shawn Landres, Synagogue 3000, Jewish Americans
  4. David Holland, University of Las Vegas, Colonial Christian
  1. Citizenship:

In recent years, the category of citizenship has emerged as a site of renewed debate and reappraisal for scholars across the humanities and socialsciences. Researchers and policymakers from a variety of fields have called for a reconsideration of traditional notions of juridical citizenship in the United States in light of both contemporary events and new assessments of the American past. Globalization, the rise of multinational corporations, and the impact of transnational migration have reshaped our understanding of the boundaries of citizenship, while the complex legacy of the 20 th century civil rights movement has highlighted historical questions of representation, exclusion, and participation left unresolved by de jure equality. As a result, citizenship has acquired a more expansive meaning: as not only a legal term but also a broad framework to considerdifferent forms of membershipand enfranchisementin a national community. This roundtable discussion will be an opportunity for a wide-ranging discussion of the past, present, and future meanings of citizenship within and across the formal borders of the United States.

Moderator: Roger Waldinger, University of California, Los Angeles

  1. Alyosha Goldstein, University of New Mexico, Poverty, liberalism, and American domestic and foreign policy
  2. Yoon-Jung Lee, Stanford University, Asian immigrants and collective citizenship in Silicon Valley
  3. Arpi Miller, University of California, Los Angeles, Migration and national identity among El Salvadoran immigrants to the United States
  4. Mia Bruch, Stanford University, American Jews and cultural citizenship


  1. Language:

This session focuses on how members of various ethnic and religious groups in America create and maintain distinct linguistic practices and how they are socialized to these practices. The growing field of language socialization examines how people learn language patterns and how this helps them learn to be part of a community. Children are socialized as they learn their first language, and adults are socialized when they join new communities.

The discussion in this panel will be framed by several questions, including:

  1. How do individuals use language to index their membership in various groups and to fashion a distinctive self?
  2. How does language interact with race, ethnicity, gender, religion, and socioeconomic class in the United States?
  3. How do newcomers to a community learn the group's distinctive language patterns?

Moderator: Mary Bucholtz, University of California, Santa Barbara

  1. Sarah Bunin Benor, Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion, Orthodox Jews
  2. Elaine Chun, University of Texas, Austin, Asian-Americans
  3. Lanita Jacobs-Huey, University of Southern California, African-Americans
  4. Shlomy Kattan, University of California, Berkeley, Israeli emissaries on assignment in America


If you plan to attend "At Home in Academia?" please submit the form below.

Name: Affiliation:
Address: Email:

For further information email us at athome@ajhs.org or call 212-294-6160.
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