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Living Our Religions

Hindu and Muslim South Asian-American Women Narrate Their Experiences

Anjana Narayan (author) Bandana Purkayastha (author)

ISBN: 9781565492714

Publication Date: Nov 2008

Format: Hardback

Also available as: Paperback  

The population of the South Asian Diaspora in the US is over 2.5 million people. However, rarely are Hindu and Muslim American women—many of whom are social workers, physicians, lawyers, academics, students, homemakers—asked about their everyday lives and religious beliefs. Living our Religions brings out these hidden stories. Their accounts show how diverse and culturally dynamic religious practices emerge within the intersection of histories and politics of specific locales.
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The population of the South Asian Diaspora in the US is over 2.5 million people. Yet in a post 9/11 climate of opinion, little is known about this group beyond images of Muslim and Hindu fundamentalists and terrorists. This is particularly true of women where simplistic assumptions about veils and subordination obscure the voices of the women themselves.

Rarely are Hindu and Muslim American women—many of whom are social workers, physicians, lawyers, academics, students, homemakers—asked about their everyday lives and religious beliefs. .

Living our Religions brings out these hidden stories from South Asian American women of Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Indian and Nepali origin. Their accounts show how diverse and culturally dynamic religious practices emerge within the intersection of histories and politics of specific locales. The authors describe the race, gender, and ethnic boundaries they encounter; they also document how they resist and challenge these boundaries. Living our Religions cuts through the myths and ethnocentrism of popular portrayals to reveal the vibrancy, courage and agency of an “invisible” minority.
Pages 348
Date Published 30 Nov 2008
Publisher Kumarian Press
Subject/s Society & culture: general  
Anjana Narayan is an Assistant Professor at California State Polytechnic University Pomona. She recently completed her dissertation titled “Ethnic Organizations and Ethnic Identities: The Use of Websites for Creating Transnational Gendered Identities”. The study specifically examines how selected religio-nationalist organizations are creating public representations of women and men of “their” ethnic community through their websites, and to analyze what elements are used to create gender distinctions. She is a recipient of several University wide awards including 100 Years of Women's Scholarship Award. She also received a citation from Governor Jodi Rell for her scholarship and activism and commitment to women’s issues. She also has a postgraduate degree in Social Work from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai (India). She was associated with a range of innovative initiatives in the field of women and development in India.

Bandana Purkayastha is an Associate Professor of Sociology and Asian American Studies at the University of Connecticut. She was educated at Presidency College (India), the University of Massachusetts, and the University of Connecticut. Her current research and publications focus on the intersection of racialized ethnicity, gender and class. She has published chapters and articles in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, and India on multiple marginalities that affect Asian American women. She is the author of the book titled Negotiating Ethnicity – Second Generation South Asian Americans Traverse a Transnational World (Rutgers University Press 2005), and the co-editor of The Power of Women’s Informal Networks- Lessons in Social Change from South Asia and West Africa (Lexington Books, 2004). She is also the Deputy Editor of the journal Gender and Society. She has been invited to speak on gender and globalization at universities like Hofstra, Yale, and Visva Bharati (India). She has won several awards including University of Connecticut Women of Color Award for Excellence in Leadership, Achievement, and Service.

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