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Allen  Richardson - Cedar Crest College. Allentown, PA, UNITED STATES

Allen Richardson Allen  Richardson

Professor of Religious Studies | Cedar Crest College


Professor, Department of Religious Studies at Cedar Crest College



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Following graduation from the University of Arizona in 1979 with a Ph.D. in Oriental Studies and a specialization in South Asia, I began to explore the transplantation of mainstream Asian religions to the United States. This Asian diaspora had happened because of major changes in U.S. immigration law. In 1965 under the Johnson Administration, the first amendment to the Johnson Reed Act of 1924 was passed, reopening migration to the United States from the Eastern Hemisphere in more than 40 years. This legislation has dramatically changed the religious landscape of America.

As a result of my research in this area I wrote, East Comes West: Asian Religions and Cultures in North America (Pilgrim Press, 1984), exploring patterns of adaptation of Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, and Muslims. Four years later I wrote a sequel, Strangers in This Land: Pluralism and the Response to Diversity in the United States (Pilgrim Press, 1988). This text examined the conflict about religious diversity that, originating in the colonial period, continued to shape our nation's history. Strangers in This Land was used by a new program on American religious diversity, The Pluralism Project, at Harvard University. This project has evolved as a clearinghouse of information about the new patterns of religious diversity in America.

I am currently engaged in a revision of Strangers in This Land which will be republished by McFarland Press. The revision incorporates recent data on the growth of religious diversity in the United States as well as my own continuing research on Hinduism in America. I have also prepared several online publications for the Pluralism Project ().

I have been invited by Cambridge University Press to write a chapter on American religious diversity in the 19th and early 20th centuries for their forthcoming publication, Religions in America.

In addition to these interests, I have continued to study a Hindu devotional sect, the Vallabha Sampradaya, that was the subject of my Ph.D. dissertation. I work closely with the Pushti Margiya Vaishnava Samaj of North America in Schuylkil Haven, Pennsylvania and have assisted them in a number of programs including an annual retreat for students in college and graduate school.

Industry Expertise (5)

Education/Learning Religious Institutions Research Writing and Editing Public Policy

Areas of Expertise (4)

Religious Diversity Hindu Religions Pluralism Eastern Religions

Accomplishments (2)

Cedar Crest Annual Teaching Award (professional)


Recipient of the Cedar Crest College Alumnae Association's annual teaching award, 2000-2001

"A World of Difference" Award (professional)


"A World of Difference" award for community service, presented by the Allentown Human Relations Commission

Education (1)

University of Arizona: Ph.D., Oriental Studies 1979

Affiliations (1)

  • Cedar Crest Interfaith Council

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