Group Research

Group Research Assignment

Your assignment is to prepare an ethnographic profile of a religious congregation or community in Flushing, based on observational fieldwork, interviews, and collaborative research.  Based on the material you collect, the entire class will create a web site that features each profile and ties them together into a general discussion about the intersections of religion, ethnicity, and immigration in Flushing.

The profiles that you develop will inform the final papers that you submit as individuals.

Primary Research Aims

In general, your research should address three main sets of questions. These are basic guidelines. Bear in mind that other questions may emerge depending on your research.

1)    The People: Who are the people that make up the congregation?  Which different ethnic groups, social classes, and nationalities are represented?  What languages are spoken?  Where do members live/work? Etc.

2)    The Institution: What are the religion’s basic doctrines? What is the history of the particular congregation (church, temple, etc.)? What kinds of rituals, events, and gatherings take place there?  How does the congregation serve the needs of the community represented by its membership (and others)?  Etc.

3)    The Context:  How does the congregation fit within the larger socio-cultural context of Flushing (in terms of history, immigration, demographics, etc.)?  How do members regard the neighborhood and their place in it? What, if anything, does the congregation reveal about the wider changes or dynamics in the region in the last twenty years?

  • Note: You may decide as a group to focus on a specific ritual or community event, or on very specific themes. That’s fine…it’s actually a good idea…but remember that your goal is speak to broader questions about the role of religious institutions and traditions in the lives of Flushing residents from diverse backgrounds.

Getting Started:

Choose the site you will study. Use various sources (Internet, friends, newspapers, etc.) to identify potential sites that are relatively close to downtown Flushing and represent the religious tradition your group is assigned to. Select one place of worship or organization that best suits the aims of the project and seems most interesting to you.  When you decide on a site, please run it by me for approval before moving forward.

Consult the web and other local resources to get as much preliminary information as you can, such as upcoming events, weekly services, and contact info.

Plan your first site visit.  Set a date when you can all go, decide who is responsible for what, and figure out ahead of time things like how you should dress and if you’ll be able to take pictures, notes, etc. (Note: Ideally, you’ll go there at least two or three times.)

Make contact with someone at the institution, someone who will know when you plan to visit and why you are visiting, and who can possibly assist you, either as a consultant or by helping you make other contacts. (you may even want to do this before the previous step)

Soak in all the information you can, meet as many people as you can, and have fun!

Group One: Hinduism

Sandra Lau, Olivia Veizas, Katherine Roszkowski

Group Two: Judaism

Clarissa Baquiran, Paramjoat Singh, Michelle Martins

Group Three: Christianity (Protestant)

Alyssa Blumenthal, Corina Yee, Daniel Stalbow

Group Four: Islam

Jeffrey Chen, Sara Wertenteil, David Rand, Nicole Zeblisky

Group Five: Buddhism

Erica Gailing, Tamar Herman, Marisa Oppenheim

Group Six: Sikhism

Valini Rohit, Dalya Arussy, Karla Padawer Solomon

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