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.
Bandana Purkayastha is Associate Professor of Sociology and Asian American Studies at the University of Connecticut. She is the author of the book titled Negotiating Ethnicity - Second Generation South Asian Americans Traverse a Transnational World (2005), and the co-editor of The Power of Women's Informal Networks- Lessons in Social Change from South Asia and West Africa (2004). She is also the Deputy Editor of the journal Gender and Society. Anjana Narayan is an Assistant Professor at California State Polytechnic University Pomona.
Introduction - Anjana Narayan and Bandana Purkayastha; Part I. Religion, Gender, Boundaries:; 1) Transgressing the Sacred-Secular, Private-Public Divide; 2) The Interconne(A)cting Humanity: Connections Between Our Spiritual And Secular World; 3) Islam Through a Mosaic of Cultures; 4) At the Cross Roads of Religions: The Experiences of a Newar Woman in Nepal and the US; 5) Color of God: Resplendent Clay of Hindu Images as the Glow of the Ineffable; 6) I am Muslim First; 7) Red, Bulls and Tea: Cultural Hashing of a 1.5er (a.k.a. Second-Generation Reflections); 8) Interpretive Intervention: Religion, Gender, Boundaries; Part II. Religion, Practices, Resistances:; 9) Many Facets of Hinduism; 10) Living Hinduism: Striving to Achieve Internal and External Harmony; 11) Growing Up Hindu: Mapping the Memories of a Nepali Woman in the US; 12) Bengali, Bangladesh yet Muslim; 13) Religion as Inspiration, Religion as Action; 14) Muslim Women Between Two Realities; 15) Challenging the Master Frame through Dalit Organizing in the US; 16) Interpretive Intervention: Religion, Practices, Resistances; 17) Conclusion: Human Rights, Religion, and Gender.
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