God's New Whiz Kids?

Korean American Evangelicals on Campus

193 pages

December, 2006

ISBN: 9780814747902



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Rebecca Kim is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Pepperdine University.

All books by Rebecca Y. Kim

In the past twenty years, many traditionally white campus religious groups have become Asian American. Today there are more than fifty evangelical Christian groups at UC Berkeley and UCLA alone, and 80% of their members are Asian American. At Harvard, Asian Americans constitute 70% of the Harvard Radcliffe Christian Fellowship, while at Yale, Campus Crusade for Christ is now 90% Asian. Stanford's Intervarsity Christian Fellowship has become almost entirely Asian.

There has been little research, or even acknowledgment, of this striking development.

God’s New Whiz Kids? focuses on second-generation Korean Americans, who make up the majority of Asian American evangelicals, and explores the factors that lead college-bound Korean American evangelicals—from integrated, mixed race neighborhoods—to create racially segregated religious communities on campus. Kim illuminates an emergent “made in the U.S.A.” ethnicity to help explain this trend, and to shed light on a group that may be changing the face of American evangelicalism.


  • God’s New Whiz Kids? fully exemplifies the spirit of Asian American Studies by crossing broad disciplinary boundaries to provide the deepest understanding of Korean Americans’ religious lives. Kim deftly weaves together the best literature on identity and power construction from the broader Asian American Studies canon.”

    Journal of Asian American Studies

  • “In this fascinating book, Kim explores why second-generation Korean American college students are disproportionately joining Korean ethnic campus ministries over pan-Asian, multiracial, or predominantly white campus ministries. Providing a wealth of detail and information about both campus ministries and second-generation Korean evangelical Christians, God’s New Whiz Kids? is an essential volume for researchers and students of both Asian American and immigrant religious experiences.”

    —Pyong Gap Min, co-editor of Building Faith Communities: Religions in Asian America

  • “This pioneer study on the emergence of Korean American and Asian American Evangelicals on college campuses makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the complex processes of ethnic formation, identity work, and religious participation. . . . A must-read for students of immigration and religion and an indispensable sourcebook for ministers, pastors, and other church leaders who wrestle with questions of diversity and ministry among immigrants and their offspring at the turn of the twenty-first century.”

    —Min Zhou, University of California, Los Angeles

  • “Packed with information on historical context and deeply informed by a growing literature. . . . First-rate sociology and essential reading.”

    Christian Century

  • “Paints a richly contextualized portrait of conservative evangelical campus ministry groups in general.”

    Religious Studies Review

  • “Kim describes a group on the cusp of change, from an immigrant community to a cosmopolitan university campus with a marketplace of religious options.”

    —Kate Bowler, Duke Divinity School