Churches, Cultures & Leadership


Books on American Studies and Ethnicity

We recommend these books on American studies and ethnicity. Our friend Craig Hendrickson helped prepare this list. We welcome your comments and recommendations.

Cornell, Stephen, and Douglas Hartmann. Ethnicity and Race. Newbury Park, Calif.: Pine Forge, 2007. Explores the various forces that construct ethnic and racial identities over time at the group level, such as politics, social institutions, culture and labor markets.

Gallagher, Charles A., ed. Rethinking the Color Line. 3rd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2007. A compilation of writings from selected race scholars providing an overview of the racial dynamics characteristic of American society.

Omi, Michael, and Howard Winant. Racial Formation in the United States. New York: Routledge, 1994. Posits ways in which racial categories are created, maintained and transformed at the individual and group level through racial projects.

Stewart, Edward C., and Milton J. Bennett. American Cultural Patterns. Rev. ed. Yarmouth, Maine: Intercultural Press, 1991. A helpful analysis of white American middle-class patterns of thinking and behavior compared with other cultures.

Takaki, Ronald. A Different Mirror. Rev. ed. New York: Back Bay, 2008. A very readable narration of America’s history with attention to perspectives of oppressed minority groups.

———. A Larger Memory. New York: Back Bay, 1998. Helps the reader develop awareness and empathy by experiencing America through the personal stories of individuals from minority cultures.

Wuthnow, Robert. American Mythos. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2006. Examines the narratives and embedded cultural assumptions, from the viewpoint of immigrants, that both legitimize American society and prevent it from fully realizing its ideals.

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By engaging ethnic histories and hearing personal autobiographies we are participating in God's creative work of shaping and reshaping church life and mission.

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Part I: Theology and Context

Using the frameworks of practical theology and missional ecclesiology, we provide an introduction to the work of leadership and to social theory, including matters of social contexts, cultural variables, and ethnic identity.

Part II: Sociocultural Perspectives

Cultural anthropology provides insights into social power and human dynamics that vary among cultures. Topics include worldviews, relationships, identity, language, and perception and thinking.

Part III: Leadership, Communication and Change

We need to develop the skills and capacities for communication and leadership in intercultural settings in order to engage the challenges of church life and mission in multicultural contexts.


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