Becoming American, Being Indian: An Immigrant Community in New York City / Edition 1

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Since the 1960s the number of Indian immigrants and their descendants living in the United States has grown dramatically. During the same period, the make-up of this community has also changed—the highly educated professional elite who came to this country from the subcontinent in the 1960s has given way to a population encompassing many from the working and middle classes. In her fascinating account of Indian immigrants in New York City, Madhulika S. Khandelwal explores the ways in which their world has evolved over four decades.How did this highly diverse ethnic group form an identity and community? Drawing on her extensive interviews with immigrants, Khandelwal examines the transplanting of Indian culture onto the Manhattan and Queens landscapes. She considers festivals and media, food and dress, religious activities of followers of different faiths, work and class, gender and generational differences, and the emergence of a variety of associations.Khandelwal analyzes how this growing ethnic community has gradually become "more Indian," with a stronger religious focus, larger family networks, and increasingly traditional marriage patterns. She discusses as well the ways in which the American experience has altered the lives of her subjects.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Madhulika S. Khandewal's book offers an informative addition to the growing literature emerging from the US about Indian immigrants and their settlement trajectories. . . . Khandelwal clearly sees the formation of American Indian identity as a process, a process that relies on internal and external qualities and events. . . . What is particularly appealing about the book is the exploration of class and race as influences on the emergence of a distinct ethnicity."—Hasmita Ramji, City University, Ethnic and Racial Studies 27:3, May 2004

"In acknowledging her involvement with the immigrant communities in Queens as 'participant observation,' Khandelwal subtly frames her position or, perhaps more directly, her level of interest in the issues significant to that portion of the Indian immigrant population in New York City area. . . . Khandelwal distinguishes the differences in how Indian immigrants occupying different socio-economic positions in the United States transplant their cultural practices. . . . The suggestion here is that the cultural activities of upper-class Indians, coupled with their absence from Queens neighborhoods where the concentration of Indian immigrants is the highest in the country, functionally set them apart from a growing and perhaps more vibrant culturally 'real' experiences of being Indian American."—Cara N. Cilano, University of North Caroline at Wilmington, South Asian Review, 2003, vol. 24, no. 2

"Bursting with humanity, Becoming American, Being Indian reveals identity as wonderfully variegated and contradictory, whole and fractured, stable and in motion. In determining what it means to be 'Indian' in the U.S., these migrants have redefined what it means to be 'American.'"—Gary Y. Okihiro, Professor of International and Public Affairs and Director of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race at Columbia University

"Becoming American, Being Indian is an important history of the Indian community in Queens. The oral narratives in Madhulika Khandelwal's book lend significant insights and enrich the overall portrait of Indian immigrants in New York."—Margaret Abraham, author of Speaking the Unspeakable: Marital Violence among South Asian Immigrants in the United States

"Becoming American, Being Indian is the foundational book about Indians in New York City! Madhulika S. Khandelwal is a keen chronicler of this dynamic, multifaceted community."—John Kuo Wei Tchen, New York University and cofounder, Museum of Chinese in the Americas, New York City

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801488078
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/2002
  • Series: The Anthropology of Contemporary Issues Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Ch. 1 The Landscape of South Asian New York 12
Ch. 2 Transplanting Indian Culture 35
Ch. 3 Worship and Community 67
Ch. 4 Building Careers, Encountering Class 91
Ch. 5 Family and Gender 117
Ch. 6 Elders and Youth 139
Ch. 7 The Evolution of South Asian Organizations 160
Notes 181
References 183
Index 193
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