Religion

Religion is a synthetic concept for Asian American studies. It represents much of what animates and vexes Asian American studies as a discipline and Asian Americans in their everyday lives, especially in light of the dynamic flux and flow of the alchemy of identity. Deploying religion as a keyword in Asian American studies demands making accounts of generic sociological data such as religious affiliation, the racializing cunning of Orientalism, the American cultural preferential option for Christianity, and the tenacious presence of white supremacy. Situating religion in a racial discourse about Asian America will inevitably reveal racist associations with the “Oriental” religions of Buddhism, Hinduism, and other “exotic,” non-Western traditions in the conversation. These are companion traditions to Christianity in the grand narrative known as the “world religions.” And yet, these notably Asian religions are decidedly “other” to the Christian moral and theological norms that have shaped the mythology of American …

This essay may be found on page 211 of the printed volume.

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