Dr. David W. Odell-Scott and Dr. Surinder M. Bhardwaj

Dr. DavidDavid was the King of Israel (c. 1000 BCE) credited with uniting the many tribes of Israel into a centralized kingdom with Jerusalem as its capital. David is said to have planned for the Temple in Jerusalem, which was subsequently built by his son Solomon... Odell-Scott and Dr. Surinder Bhardwaj became Pluralism Project affiliates in 1999. Together, Drs. Odell-Scott and Bhardwaj engaged their students in a study of immigrant religious communities in northern Ohio. Currently, Dr. David Odell-Scott is an associate dean at Kent State University and directs the College of Arts and Science’s Center for Comparative and Integrated Programs. Dr. Surinder Bhardwaj is professor emeritus in the geography department at Kent State University. Upon Dr. Bhardwaj’s retirement, Dr. Odell-Scott was joined in 2013 by Rev. Lauren M. Odell-Scott in the continuation of this project.

Mapping Post-1965 Immigrant Religious Communities in Northern Ohio

This project aimed to “map” religious communities of post-1965 immigrants in Northern Ohio. In this region, the highest concentration of religious centers pertinent to this study were in the urban areas of Greater Cleveland, Akron, Youngstown and Toledo. In the past 30 years, Northern Ohio has experienced a remarkable change in composition of its already diverse ethnic landscape due to immigration, especially from Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America. The research team identified and mapped at least one if not many centers associated with the following religious traditions in Northern Ohio: Buddhist (with representative groups of MahayanaMahayana, the “Great Vehicle,” is a form of Buddhism the originated in India and spread to Central and East Asia, encompassing schools in Tibet, Mongolia, China, Vietnam, Korea, and Japan. Its primary characteristics include a more supernatural view o..., including Soka Gakkai InternationalSoka Gakkai was founded in Japan in 1930 by an educator named Tsunesaburo Makiguchi. Soon after its founding, it became associated with Nichiren Shoshu, a sect of Nichiren Buddhism. In the early 1990s, all formal ties between Soka Gakkai International and..., and TheravadaTheravada, literally “the way of the elders,” was one of the eighteen earliest sub-schools of Buddhism. Today, the term designates the various traditions of Buddhism most prominent in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia. Although these traditions differ in i... traditions, drawn from diverse national and ethnic populations), Hindu (both North and South Indian, Radhaswami, Sant Nirankari Mission, SwaminarayanThe Swaminarayan Hindu movement began in early nineteenth century Gujarat with a religious and social reformer named Sahajanand Swami. It is a devotional bhakti movement, focusing on Vishnu in the form of Krishna and Radha and also on Sahajanand Swami him..., and Hare KrishnaThe International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), often referred to as the Hare Krishna movement, was founded by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (1896-1977) who brought his tradition of devotion to Krishna to the United States in 1965. Thi...), Jain, SikhSikhs call their tradition the “Sikh Panth,” meaning the “community (panth) of the disciples of the Guru.” The tradition reveres a lineage of ten Gurus, beginning with Guru Nanak in the 16th century and coming to a clos. with the death of Guru Gob..., and Muslim (SunniSunni Muslims emphasize the authoritative role of the consensus of religious scholars (‘ulama) in interpreting the Qur’an and the Sunnah (custom) of the Prophet. The community could thus choose any good Muslim as a successor (khalifah) to Muhammad, th..., ShiaThe Shi’at ‘Ali (the party of ‘Ali, for which Shi’ah is an abbreviation and from which the adjective Shi’i comes) believed that the Prophet Muhammad designated his son-in-law ‘Ali and his descendants to be leader (Imam) of the ummah after his ..., and the AhmadiyyaThe Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam was established in 1889 in India by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. He claimed to be the Messiah of this age, awaited by Muslims, Christians, and others. The missionary movement of his followers is now established in more than 144 coun...). The team also identified and mapped post-1965 ethnic immigrant Christian communities including Korean and Hispanic (Roman Catholic and ProtestantProtestant is a term used for the range of reform movements that broke with the Roman Catholic Church during the period called the Reformation. There are many branches of Protestantism, including the Lutherans, Anabaptists, Anglicans, Methodists, Baptists...). A number of unity movements in the region, including Bahá’í and the Unification ChurchThe term church has come to wide use to refer to the organized and gathered religious community. In the Christian tradition, church refers to the organic, interdependent “body” of Christ’s followers, the community of Christians. Secondarily, church ..., were also been identified by the study.

Research assistants for this project included Brian Vollner (2003-2004), JosephIn the Christian tradition, Joseph is the earthly father of Jesus and husband of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Wilson (2001), and Dennis Tobin (1998). Research teams were comprised of Kent State University Honors College students enrolled in “Comparative Religious Thought I/ Philosophy 2102” (Spring 1999): Timothy Anderson, Kristen Biller, Kathryn Common, Emily Cooper, Michael Derienzo, Jason Dunick, Melinda Mohler, John Morrison, Melissa Pahls, Michelle Rush, Anne Sampsel, Nathan Stine, Justine Stratton, Michael Taylor, Lisa Viertel, Derek Wilkinson, Joe Wilson); and students in the Sophomore Honors Colloquium/Honors 20197 (Spring 2001): Hardesty, Jacobs, Kepple, Mittleman, Ross, Sharma, Willis, and Wilson.

Funding for the Ohio Pluralism Project and the Gulf Coast Project was provided, in part, by the University Research Council of Kent State University and the Pluralism Project at Harvard University. Photographic digital assistance provided by David Maxwell Photography, Kent, Ohio.

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