Gatherings in Diaspora: Religious Communities and the New Immigration

By R. Stephen Warner; Judith G. Wittner | Go to book overview

political interests." 22 Despite its short history, FHA leaders have become a highly visible and influential presence at all Hindu functions in southern California. While the OHM leadership and most members emphasize that they are against "Hindu fundamentalism," the OHM is a registered member of the FHA, and FHA officeholders have given speeches pushing the Hindutva agenda at the OHM's function on the occasion of Onam, the most important Kerala Hindu festival. The articles of FHA leaders have also been published in the OHM's annual Souvenir for the past two years. The implications of this development for the OHM and for other satsangs, and for the construction of a Hindu American identity and politics, remain to be seen.

Because of the distinctiveness and fluidity of Hinduism as a religion and the racial identity of Indian Americans, it seems unlikely that either Hinduism or Hindu Indian communities in the United States will disappear in the near future. Since Hinduism, at least to some extent, seems to be serving as a substitute for an Indian racial identity, its future also depends largely on how race and racial politics evolve in this country. Based on the evidence from countries around the world with long-established Hindu Indian communities, such as Southeast Asia ( Mearns 1995), Fiji ( Kelly 1991), Africa ( Bhachu 1985), and the Caribbean ( Vertovec 1992b, 1994), where the communities remain distinct, it does seem as though Hindu Indian ethnicity in the United States will continue to play a substantial role in shaping the lives of its members for a long time to come (although the content of that ethnicity will undoubtedly be much modified).


NOTES
1.
I am greatly indebted to R. Stephen Warner for pointing this out to me.
2.
This is despite the fact that they may be part of the "neo-Hinduism" of the modern Hindu revivalist movements.
3.
A more recent estimate puts the population at 1,300,000. This statistic, provided by Krishna Reddy, president of the local branch of the Federation of Hindu Americans at a recent meeting, is not unreasonable in the light of the 126% growth rate the group experienced in the 1980s.
4.
In John Y. Fenton study ( 1988, 39), 78% of the Indian respondents indicated that they intended to stay in America.
5.
For poignant accounts of the Indian immigrant experience, see Priya Agarwal ( 1991), Sathi S. Dasgupta ( 1989), Maxine P. Fisher ( 1980), Usha R. Jain ( 1989), Arthur W. Helweg and Usha M. Helweg ( 1990), and Parmatma Saran ( 1985).
6.
According to Fenton ( 1988, 50), "92.4%, of the Indian survey popula-

-65-

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Gatherings in Diaspora: Religious Communities and the New Immigration
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction 1
  • I- Religion and the Negotiation of Identities 35
  • Notes 65
  • Notes 67
  • 2- From the Rivers of Babylon to the Valleys of Los Angeles- The Exodus and Adaptation of Iranian Jews 71
  • Notes 90
  • Notes 92
  • II- Transnational Migrants and Religious Hosts 95
  • Notes 117
  • Notes 117
  • Notes 120
  • 4- The Madonna of 115th Street Revisited- Vodou and Haitian Catholicism in the Age of Transnationalism 123
  • Acknowledgments 155
  • Notes 155
  • Notes 157
  • III- Institutional Adaptations 161
  • References 195
  • References 195
  • 6- The House That Rasta Built- Church-Building and Fundamentalism among New York Rastafarians 197
  • Notes 228
  • Notes 228
  • 7- Structural Adaptations in an Immigrant Muslim Congregation in New York 235
  • Acknowledgments 258
  • Acknowledgments 259
  • Acknowledgments 259
  • IV- Internal Differentiation 263
  • 8- Caroling with the Keralites- The Negotiation of Gendered Space in an Indian Immigrant Church 265
  • Notes 291
  • References 293
  • 9- Competing for the Second Generation- English-Language Ministry at a Korean Protestant Church 295
  • References 323
  • References 328
  • 10- Tenacious Unity in a Contentious Community- Cultural and Religious Dynamics in a Chinese Christian Church 333
  • Notes 357
  • Notes 357
  • Notes 360
  • Conclusion 363
  • Acknowledgments 382
  • References 382
  • Project Director''s Acknowledgments 385
  • About the Contributors and Editors 389
  • Index 391
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