Gujaratis in the West: Evolving Identities in Contemporary Society
Editor: Sharmina Mawani and Anjoom A. Mukadam
Date Of Publication: Dec 2007
Gujaratis in the West: Evolving Identities in Contemporary Society is uniquely placed in that it is a compilation of the works of scholars focusing on the diverse nature of Gujarati communities. This volume offers an insight, through different lenses and in varying contexts, of the complexities faced by particular Gujarati communities in a specific time and space.
In contemporary societies the concept of identity has taken on greater importance and there are now increasing debates relating to the locality of certain communities, their allegiance to the nation states in which they reside as well as their links to the land of their ancestors. Gujaratis in the West investigates how Gujaratis, who are considered to be successful and integrated, construct and express their complex religious, linguistic and ethnic identities in the contexts of the nations in which they reside.
Most of the previous research on the identities of minority ethnic communities in the West who originate in South Asia has focussed on disadvantaged and less-well integrated groups. In these challenging times for Gujarati, as well as other communities, especially those residing in the West, the location of their identities in an increasingly complex global diversity takes on added significance.
Anjoom Mukadam is Lecturer at the Institute of Ismaili Studies, London. She received her doctorate in Sociolinguistics from the University of Reading. Her thesis is entitled Gujarati Speakers in London: Age, Gender and Religion in the Construction of Identity. The aim of this research was to investigate the formation of new ethnicities of two ethnolinguistic religious communities, the Nizari Ismaili Muslims and Swaminarayan Hindus. The research contested the use of widely accepted terms, such as, ‘diaspora’ and ‘immigrant’ when used in the context of the second generation and generated new models by which the identities of these individuals can be better understood.
Sharmina Mawani obtained her doctorate from the Department for the Study of Religions at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. Her thesis, entitled The Construction of Identities Amongst Young Adult Nizari Ismaili Muslims in Toronto and Mumbai, investigated the centrality of the ginans (devotional songs) in the formation of the ethno-religious identities of the Nizari Ismaili Muslims of Gujarati ancestry. Sharmina is particularly interested in the manner in which traditional religious practices are evolving in contemporary western society. At present she is a Lecturer at the Institute of Ismaili Studies, London.
"This book is the first major study to discuss Gujaratis in the west as diverse communities. Scholarly research has hitherto focused on Gujaratis as separate castes or individual religions whereas Gujaratis in the west acknowledges that Gujaratis comprise a mixture of various Hindu, Jain and Muslim communities who are linked not only by language but by a cultural history as well as patterns of migration.
Anjoom Mukadam and Sharmina Mawani are founders of the Gujarat Studies Association which is an invaluable resource bringing together academics and others interested in the study of Gujarat and its people."
—Professor Rachel Dwyer
, Professor of Indian Cultures and Cinema, Department of the Languages and
Cultures of South Asia,
School of Oriental and African Studies,
University of London
The Gujarati speaking community of the West reflect both the growing diversity of these societies and the changing landscape of academic disciplines that encompass this new experience in a scholarly way.
This volume is an important contribution that makes available ongoing research in the field and the methodological issues that arise for a number of disciplines that formerly constituted Area Studies, Ethnic Studies or Language and Cultural Studies.
Professor Azim Nanji
Director, The Institute of Ismaili Studies
Price Uk Gbp: 34.99
Price Us Usd: 52.99
Sample pdf (including Table of Contents)