University of Southern California

Center for Religion & Civic Culture

Religion in Southern California

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While many of our research projects are conducted outside of Southern California, the region will always remain an important part of the CRCC’s research and community interests. Southern California, a major gateway for immigrants, is also a laboratory for new religious movements.

In 1994, before the Center was officially established, John Orr, Donald Miller, Wad Clark Roof, and J. Gordon Melton published a report entitled “Politics of the Spirit: Religion and Multiethnicity in Los Angeles.” Their groundbreaking work led to CRCC’s creation in 1996. Since then, CRCC has undertaken numerous projects, such as John Orr’s “Los Angeles Religion: A Civic Profile” (1998), which described the religious pluralism of the City of Angels. Subsequently, we conducted research projects on immigrant religion, community organizing, faith-based child care, and many other topics.

Today, CRCC is involved in research projects on the Los Angeles Dream Center, the development of post-1992 faith-based coalitions, and the capacity of congregations in South Los Angeles to address issues surrounding community violence. In addition, we are working to build the capacity of congregations and faith leaders through several training institutes. Another project focuses on several important aspects of Pentecostal and charismatic Christianity in Los Angeles.

Related Initiatives

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Pentecostal and Charismatic Research Initiative

Providing scholarly resources for the study of Pentecostal and charismatic Christianity around the world

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Cecil Murray Center for Community Engagement

Promoting economic development and civic engagement in low-income communities

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Civic Role of Religion in Los Angeles

Examining the legacy and impact of post-1992 riots community organizing among faith-groups in Los Angeles

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Los Angeles Dream Center

Examining organizational and personal motivations, experiences and transformations in Urban social ministries

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Passing the Mantle

Restoring the legacy of the African-American church in civic engagement

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Census Outreach in Los Angeles

Encouraging faith-based organizations to reach hard-to-count populations for the 2010 Census

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Faith Communities and Disasters

Identifying the resources and capacities of California congregations for mobilization in man-made and natural disasters

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Vietnamese Immigrant Congregations in California

Tracing indigenous Vietnamese religions as they establish themselves in the United States

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Jewish Community Organizing to Save Darfur

Studying the efforts of synagogue-based organizing in Los Angeles related to the genocide in Darfur

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Institute for Violence Prevention

Bridging the divide between Black and Latino religious leaders to reduce gang-violence in South Los Angeles.

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Exploring Community, Worth and Life on the Slabs

Employing photography and oral history to examine the role of community in “Slab City” near the Salton Sea

CRCC Events