1st Edition

Religion in Los Angeles Religious Activism, Innovation, and Diversity in the Global City

Edited By Richard Flory, Diane Winston Copyright 2021
    318 Pages
    by Routledge

    318 Pages
    by Routledge

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    Why has Los Angeles been a hotspot for religious activism, innovation, and diversity? What makes this Southern California metropolis conducive to spiritual experimentation and new ways of believing and belonging? A center of world religions, Los Angeles is the birthplace of Pentecostalism, the site of the largest Roman Catholic diocese in the United States, the home of more Buddhists anywhere except for Asia, and home base for myriad transnational, spiritual movements. Religion in Los Angeles examines historical and contemporary examples of Angelenos’ openness to new forms of belief and practice in congregations, communities, and civic life. Case studies include

    • Latino spiritualities and social activism
    • Hybrid Jewish identities
    • Capitalism and fundamentalism in early twentieth-century Los Angeles
    • The impact of the 1960s on Roman Catholic Angelenos
    • Christianity through a Hindu lens.

    Highlighted throughout the work are themes including the impact of the city’s diversity on religious experimentation, the importance of Los Angeles’ location in relation to the Mexican border and as a gateway to the Pacific, and the impact of local politics, social trends, and cultural change on religious innovation. The volume also examines the creative pull between change and continuity and the recognition that religious communities participate in civic and global conversations.

    Religion in Los Angeles includes contributions by leading sociologists, anthropologists, and historians. This cutting-edge work will be of interest to students and scholars of religious history, religion in America, sociology of religion, American studies, urban studies, and race/ethnic studies.

    Section One: Then

    1. Rivers of Living Water: Radical Social Behaviors and Religious Innovations on Azusa Street, 1906-1909.

    Caroline Bunnell Harris

    2. Funding Fundamentalism: Lyman Stewart, Hard Financing and the Creation of the Bible Institute of Los Angeles

    Christina Copland

    3. International Guru as Local Swami: Yogananda and the Religious Culture of Southern California

    David J. Neumann

    4. Borderlands Believers: Migrant Laborers and the Growth of Pentecostalism from Los Angeles

    Lloyd Barba

    5. Religion and the Urban Civic Landscape: The Case of the Los Angeles County Committee for Church and Community

    Mark Wild

    6. A Respectable Militancy: Rev. J. Raymond Henderson & the Civil Rights Struggle in Los Angeles, 1941-1963

    David J. Neumann

    7. The Pentecost Moment: Los Angeles as Global Christian Space in the Late-20th Century

    Sean Dempsey

    8. The "Flying Nun" and the "Painting Nun": Gender, Conflict, and Representation in 1960s Los Angeles.

    Diane Winston

    9. Theosophy and the Realization of Southern California’s Divine Destiny

    Grace Converse

    Section Two: Now

    10. Redeeming the City: Los Angeles in the Social Imagination of an Urban Social Ministry

    Richard Flory and Bradly Nabors

    11. Expanding Never Again: The Cosmopolitan Parochialism of Los Angeles Jewish Mobilization on the Genocide in Darfur

    Brie Loskota, Jennifer Thompson and Tobin Belzer

    12. Justice Activism and Latino Spiritualities: Los Angeles as a Post-Colonial Border Space

    Helene Slessarev-Jamir

    13. Sustaining Borderlands Traditions in a Latinx Pentecostal Church

    Jonathan Calvillo

    14. Aum Shalom: Jews, Gurus and Religious Hybridity in the City of Angels

    Amanda J. Lucia and Michael Scott Alexander

    15. Korean Diaspora Churches in Los Angeles: Place Matters

    Sung Gun Kim

    16. Japanese Americans and the Birth (and Rebirth) of Buddhism in the City of Angels

    Jean-Paul R. deGuzman

    17. The Legacy of Religious Diversity in Southern California.

    Bruce Phillips


    Richard Flory is Senior Director of Research and Evaluation at the USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, USA.

    Diane Winston is the Knight Chair in Media and Religion at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, USA.

    "The twenty-seven scholarly pieces that make-up Religion in Los Angeles: Religious Activism, Innovation, and Diversity in the Global City are a valuable contribution to what appears to be a growing body of literature examining the relationship between cities and their religious components." - Stephanie L. Derrick, independent scholar