RLPI Symposia adopt a case study approach to the subject matter at hand. The RLPI Symposium on Government will present three location-based case studies that engage different ways in which government agencies address immigration and refugee issues in the greater Boston area, Middle Tennessee, and the Arizona-Mexico border.
Each of these areas offers numerous, content-rich dynamics that can provide the foundation for productive conversation and greater reflection on the benefits of religious literacy and means to cultivating it. While some general themes and questions apply to all three areas and will be discussed throughout the symposium, each area also offers the opportunity to focus on particular questions.
Questions to consider in all the case studies:
- Where do governmental agencies and employees get their information about the religious dynamics of immigrant groups? How receptive are different government agencies to religious literacy education? How can the academy help provide salient and accessible information for governmental workers?
- How dependent are government employees on journalism for their information about religion and the religious dynamics of the communities to which they are accountable?
- How do government employees understand the relationship between (secular) government agencies and faith-based organizations and NGOs? This is relevant for refugee resettlement as well as community partnerships.
- How do the religious assumptions (and personal experiences?) of government employees affect they way they understand and address immigration issues? To what extent do agencies cultivate a basic grasp of situatedness? Should they?
- How do government agencies that work with immigrants understand and address conflicts between immigrant groups or immigrant groups and receiving communities that have roots in religious conflict? Muslim/Jewish? Buddhist/Muslim? Protestant/Catholic? Christian/Muslim?
We recommend reading the Religious Literacy Project's Method in addition to the individual case studies in preparation for the symposium.