Places of Worship and the Spatial Integration of Immigrants in New Destination Cities: Case Study the Oklahoma City Metropolitan Area

Authors: Michelle Brym*, the University of Central Oklahoma
Topics: Migration, Population Geography, Cultural Geography
Keywords: Immigration, Ethnic Geography and Cultural Geography
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/14/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Studio 4, Marriott, 2nd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This research focuses on the new types of communities that immigrants establish in the Oklahoma City Metropolitan Area, a non-gateway city in the under-researched destination of the U.S. Southwest. Places of worship have been identified as important meeting spaces in immigrant communities that are often otherwise unnoticed in the suburbs where they reside (Jones-Correa 2008). Although geographers have not paid much attention to the relationship between religion and immigration (Holloway and Valins 2002) this study seeks to understand how immigrants use religious spaces as they construct communities and contribute to the development of a translocal environment (Allen and Cochrane 2007). The variety of places of worship founded by recent immigrants and their spatial distribution make visible the plurality of communities newcomers form in an urban area. Interviews with foreign-born members of the Chinese Methodist community and the Islamic community provide different perspectives on the role of religion in the functional integration and the spatial mobility of immigrants within the city.

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