We hear a great deal about the diversity of contemporary American society, racial, religious and otherwise. Sometimes, our diversity has caused commentators, and leaders, to fear that we are headed toward a divisive "culture war." At other times, we have celebrated our diversity and understood it as being at the heart of our values and vitality as a nation.
Sponsored by the David Edelstein Family Foundation, this ongoing project has explored these issues, with a particular focus on race and religion as key forms of difference that shape American life and experience. A nationally representative telephone survey measured attitudes about diversity, racial and religious identification, and discrimination, more specifically. Through in-depth interviews and fieldwork across the country, we further explored the various contexts in which Americans experience diversity, focusing in particular on religious interfaith organizations, neighborhoods, and festivals.
The American Mosaic Project is designed to contribute to our understanding of what brings Americans together, what divides us, and the implications of our diversity for our political and civic life. We are most concerned with how Americans themselves understand the nature and consequences of diversity for their own lives and for our society as a whole. How do Americans understand ethnic, religious, and racial diversity? How do Americans respond to calls for greater recognition of diverse groups and lifestyles? How do our ethnic, racial, and religious identities shape the way we understand the obligations of citizenship and our vision of "the good society?"