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New Roots in America's Sacred Ground

Religion, Race, and Ethnicity in Indian America

Khyati Y Joshi

Publication Year: 2006

In this compelling look at second-generation Indian Americans, Khyati Y. Joshi draws on case studies and interviews with forty-one second-generation Indian Americans, analyzing their experiences involving religion, race, and ethnicity from elementary school to adulthood.  As she maps the crossroads they encounter as they navigate between their homes and the wider American milieu, Joshi shows how their identities have developed differently from their parents’ and their non-Indian peers’ and how religion often exerted a dramatic effect.

            The experiences of Joshi’s research participants reveal how race and religion interact, intersect, and affect each other in a society where Christianity and whiteness are the norm. Joshi shows how religion is racialized for Indian Americans and offers important insights in the wake of 9/11 and the backlash against Americans who look Middle Eastern and South Asian.

            Through her candid insights into the internal conflicts contemporary Indian Americans face and the religious and racial discrimination they encounter, Joshi provides a timely window into the ways that race, religion, and ethnicity interact in day-to-day life.


Published by: Rutgers University Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

No person is an island, and a book is a product not only of the author but of the minds and spirits of those around her. Along the long path from first ideas to final galleys, I benefited from the support and input of many, many gifted people. ...

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pp. 1-14

The post-1965 wave of immigration—the largest in U.S. history—has brought an infusion of color that is challenging traditional understandings of race and racism, the so-called straight line assimilation theory of ethnicity, and the normative place of Christian traditions in society and religious scholarship.1 ...

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Chapter 1: Religion in America

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pp. 15-33

One of the first things we all learned in elementary school was that America is the land of freedom—specifically, that people in the United States are allowed to practice whatever religion they want, because our nation grew out of a quest for religious freedom. This is one of the most enduring and powerful misconceptions about religion in American history: ...

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Chapter 2: Ethnicity and Religion

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pp. 34-61

Scholarly work on the “identity question” for Indian Americans often springs from analysis of cultural, racial, and national-origin traits such as language, immigrant tradition, and assimilation. This theoretical approach, by itself, disserves second-generation Indian Americans. ...

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Chapter 3: Facets of Lived Religion

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pp. 62-88

In the preceding chapters, religion largely came to the research participants, and not the other way around. Their parents designed Sunday schools for them, their peers illustrated new ways of thinking about themselves, and the world around them simply existed as the backdrop and scenery of their lives’ drama. ...

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Chapter 4: What Does Race Have to Do with Religion?

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pp. 89-117

This is a book about religion and its myriad impacts on the lives of secondgeneration Indian Americans, an inherently dynamic phenomenon, lived religion must be situated within the whole life of the individual. As we explore religion’s role in second-generation Indian American ethnic identity development, ...

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Chapter 5: Religious Oppression

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pp. 118-144

Religious discrimination in the United States of America is not a post-9/11 phenomenon. Indeed, it is not even a twentieth-century phenomenon, nor has it been limited to non-Christian faiths. The United States has a history of religious intolerance from its beginnings. ...

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Chapter 6: Case Studies

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pp. 145-193

What follows are three case studies. As described in the Introduction, these case studies are for the reader’s use in applying and interpreting the material in the first five chapters of the book. Each one presents the experiences of a single research participant across his or her lifespan to date, drawing heavily on the individual’s own voice. ...

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pp. 194-198

This work, like any in a nascent field of scholarship, is more a beginning than a resolution of the questions, opportunities, and challenges of the subject matter. It can and should nevertheless be the basis for rethinking both how we do our scholarship on religion and how America’s K–12 school system responds to and protects Indian American students. ...


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pp. 199-204


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pp. 205-220


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pp. 221-234


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pp. 235-240

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About the Author

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Khyati Y. Joshi is an assistant professor of education at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, New Jersey. Before joining the faculty of FDU, she taught Asian American studies and comparative ethnic studies at Princeton University and at Columbia University’s Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race. ...

E-ISBN-13: 9780813539881
E-ISBN-10: 0813539889
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813538006

Page Count: 256
Publication Year: 2006