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Global Migration

The present era is not the first to see great trans-regional migrations; the Roman, Muslim, and Mongol empires all saw large-scale movements of people, as did the 19th and early 20th centuries. In the past 40 years, however, migration has gone global. Large numbers of people now move in all directions, temporarily and permanently, with sometimes startling religious consequences.

Sociologists have typically understood religion's role in transnational migration by using the “Ellis Island model”—named after the U.S. immigration station in New York harbor (1892–1954). European immigrants to the United States, the story goes, used religion as a way to adjust to their new surroundings. Swedish and Danish Lutherans, Dutch Calvinists, Scottish Presbyterians, and the like founded ethnic churches in the United States, which gave them a ...

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