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Peggy Levitt

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Title: Peggy Levitt  
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Subject: List of religious studies scholars, List of Wellesley College people
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Peggy Levitt

Peggy Levitt is Chair and Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at Wellesley College. Peggy specializes in religious transnationalism, the immigrant experience, the migration and development nexus, and economic, political and cultural globalization.


Peggy Levitt is an expert on immigration and how the religious practices of both new and established immigrant groups are changing America and the homelands from which they come. She codirects the Transnational Studies Initiative and is a Research Fellow at the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations and the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University.

Her new book, God Needs No Passport, is about how immigrants are changing the American religious landscape. Levitt argues that to understand immigration, one must first understand the impact of religion. She claims that immigration globalizes American religion as well as economics and politics and creates a more pluralistic, cosmopolitan American society. Simultaneously, American core values of family, community and hard work are replenished and exported.

Levitt states that Americans used to believe that immigrants came to America to “become American”, or at least to become hyphenated Americans, however she believes that this is no longer the case. The United States is increasingly becoming home to millions of people whose values are derived from countries and cultures around the world, and are therefore making the U.S. a place of greater religious and cultural diversity – a truly cosmopolitan nation. Levitt claims that it is no longer meaningful to talk about “us against them”, “English-only”, or to view America as a Judeo-Christian nation.

In Levitt's first book, The Transnational Villagers, Levitt argued that remittances are not just about money. Migrants also send social remittances, or ideas, practices, identities, and social capital back to the communities they come from, creating important catalysts for change.


  • The Transnational Studies Reader (Routledge, 2007)
  • God Needs No Passport: Immigrants and the Changing American Religious Landscape (The New Press, 2007)
  • The Transnational Villagers (University of California Press, 2001)
  • The Changing Face of Home (Russell Sage Publications, 2002)

Opinion pieces

  • The Huffington Post, June 11, 2007, “Transnational Problems Need Transnational Solutions”
  • The Huffington Post, June 6, 2007, “Dios Ha Muerto?”
  • The Boston Globe, May 27, 2007, “Life, Liberty, and the Folks Back Home”
  • The Boston Globe, May 27, 2007, “The Global in the Local”
  • The Huffington Post, May 18, 2007, “Religion Isn’t One-Size-Fits-All”
  • Seattle Post Intelligencer, May 15, 2007, “’Us vs. them’ mentality holds us back”
  • The New York Times, May 6, 2007, “A Good Provider is One Who Leaves” (letter to the editor)

Works with References to Peggy Levitt

  • Anglican Communion in Crisis: How Episcopal Dissidents and their African Allies are Reshaping Anglicanism (Princeton University Press 2007)
  • Shades of the Planet: American Literature as World Literature (Princeton University Press 2007)
  • International Migration: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press 2007)
  • Diaspora Criticism (Edinburgh University Press 2007)
  • Glass Towns: Industry, Labor, and Political Economy in Appalachia, 1890-1930s (University of Illinois Press 2006)
  • The Devil behind the Mirror: Globalization and Politics in the Dominican Republic (University of California Press 2006)
  • Passing on the Faith: Transforming Traditions for the Next Generation of Jews, Christians, and Muslims (Fordham University Press 2006)
  • Paper Families: Identity, Immigration Administration, and Chinese Exclusion (Duke University Press 2006)

External links

  • Peggy Levitt's website
  • Wellesley College
  • The Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations
  • The Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University
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