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Imagining Religious Communities: Transnational Hindus and Their Narrative Performances

Jennifer B. Saunders (Author)

Satya's story: transnational social networks, narrative performances and religion. 1. On the importance of Mandalis: transnational communities, social imaginaries and narrative performance. 2. New opportunities, the brain drain and the Guptas. 3. Growing up Indian, becoming immigrants: interpreting immigration narratives. 4. "One's own home is better than all other places": creating family and home as trans-migrants. 5. Neither black nor white: moving to the Atlanta of the New South. 6. Sundarkand: Performing community and religion. Conclusion: Toward a Transnational Hinduism. Notes. Bibliography. Index. Imagining Religious Communities tells the story of the Gupta family through the personal and religious narratives they tell as they create and maintain their extended family and community across national borders. Based on ethnographic research, the book demonstrates the ways that transnational communities are involved in shaping their experiences through narrative performances. Jennifer B. Saunders demonstrates that narrative performances shape participants' social realities in multiple ways: they define identities, they create connections between community members living on opposite sides of national borders, and they help create new homes amidst increasing mobility. The narratives are religious and include epic narratives such as excerpts from the Ramayana as well as personal narratives with Dharmic implications. Saunders' analysis combines scholarly understandings of the ways in which performances shape the contexts in which they are told, indigenous comprehension of the power that reciting certain narratives can have on those who hear them, and the theory that social imaginaries define new social realities through expressing the aspirations of communities. Imagining Religious Communities argues that this Hindu community's religious narrative performances significantly contribute to shaping their transnational lives.

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About the author

Jennifer B. Saunders

Jennifer B. Saunders is an independent scholar living in Stamford, CT. She has taught in a number of colleges and universities in the Southeast, Midwest, and Northeast. Her research interests include the transmission of Hindu devotional songs among middle class women in India and beyond specifically and religion and migration generally. She has published articles on transnational Hinduism in a variety of peer-reviewed journals including Religion Compass and Nova Religio. She is co-founder of the American Academy of Religion's Religion and Migration Group and a co-editor of Palgrave Macmillan's Religion and Global Migration series.


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Bibliographic information

Title Imagining Religious Communities: Transnational Hindus and Their Narrative Performances
Author Jennifer B. Saunders
Format Hardcover
Date published: 12.10.2019
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 9780190099817
length 264p.