Following is an excerpt:
This interview was conducted via e-mail by Russell C. Leong in March 2015 for CUNY FORUM.
Sociology, Religion, and Migration
Leong: You have stated that sociologists of religion rather than sociologists of immigration, have different approaches to the role of religion in shaping migration patterns. How do you situate yourself as a sociologist who studies both religion and immigration?
Kurien: Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity to discuss my work. I started out as a sociologist of immigration with no training in the sociology of religion. Religion was not on my radar at all, and I stumbled onto the importance of religion in shaping patterns of migration by accident during my dissertation research. I have since found it to be central to all my projects, even ones where I had decided not to focus on religion! I think this makes me different from most other sociologists of immigration who generally do not include religion in their analyses. I still see myself as a sociologist of immigration first, but someone who understands how religion can interact with migration and settlement processes through a variety of direct and indirect mechanisms. My interest in how religion can impact the lives of migrants and their children in indirect ways distinguishes me from most sociologists of religion, who tend to focus on religious institutions or on people’s religious beliefs and practices.
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