Founding Director, Asian/Asian American Studies
Ph.D., Brown University, 1993
Immigrants and immigration, religion, ethnicity, immigrant politics, India
On leave for the 2014-2015 academic year.
My recent research focuses on race and ethnic group
relations, as well as the role of religion in shaping group formation and
mobilization among contemporary ethnic groups: I bring the areas of race,
religion, and social movements together by examining how religious institutions
often provide the setting within which new ethnics confront the racialization
they experience within the wider society. I also focus on the ways in which religion
becomes the axis around which such groups mobilize to challenge racial
discrimination and to make claims regarding their “cultural citizenship.” I
have received postdoctoral fellowships and grants from the National Science Foundation,
the Woodrow Wilson International Center, the Carnegie Corporation, the Society
for the Scientific Study of Religion, the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Center for
the Study of Religion at Princeton University, the American Institute of Indian
Studies, the Louisville Institute, and the New Ethnic and Immigrant
Congregations Project. My research has been recognized with two national book
awards and three national article awards.
2003Book Award, Asia and Asian American section, American Sociological AssociationKaleidoscopic Ethnicity: Internation Migration and the Reconstruction of Community Identities in India, Rutgers University Press, 2002.
2009 Honorable Mention, Sociology of Religion section, American Sociological Association
A Place at the Multicultural Table: The Development of an American Hinduism. 2007.
2005 Distinguished Article Award, Religion section, American Sociological Association
2005 Distinguished Article Award, Society for the Scientific Study of Religion
“Multiculturalism and Ethnic Nationalism: The Development of an American Hinduism.
” Social Problems, 2004, Vol 51 (3): 362-385.
2013 Research paper award, Asia and Asian American section, American Sociological
“Decoupling Religion and Ethnicity: Second-Generation Indian American Christians.
”Qualitative Sociology 2012, 35(4):447- 468.
My second book, A Place at the Multicultural Table: The
Development of an American Hinduism 2007, discusses the new forms,
practices, and interpretations of Hinduism in this country. I also examine the
relationship between the institutionalization of Hinduism as a minority
religion and the political mobilization of Hindu Indians seeking a place in
multicultural America. In addition to the book, I have published a number of
journal articles and chapters in edited books from this project.
I am currently working on a third book manuscript tentatively
titled “Ethnic Church Meets Mega Church: Indian American Christian Social
Incorporation.” My work is based on research in different parts of the United
States and India focused on this denomination. I have written three journal
articles and a chapter in an edited book from this project. My work examines
transnationalism and intergenerational relationships among Indian Americans
belonging to the Eastern Reformed Mar Thoma Syrian Christian denomination which
is located in South India but now has branches all over the world, including a
North American diocese.
My interest in the way different Indian American groups have
been coalescing and emerging in the public sphere led me to a project, “Race,
Religion, and the Political Incorporation of Contemporary Immigrants.”It
examines how first- and second-generation immigrants mobilize advocacy
organizations around ethnic (Indian American), pan-ethnic (South Asian
American), religious (Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Christian), and party-oriented
identities (Democrat and Republican). My research shows how these diverse forms
of mobilization can develop within one immigrant group, and how they interact
with each other while advocating for their respective goals. It also reveals
how race and religion interact in complex ways to shape the political
integration of immigrants. I completed this research project this summer by
talking to Indian Americans who mobilized around the 2012 elections. I have
made several presentations from this research and have written an article which
presents the theoretical framework for the project.
My work on the political incorporation of Indian Americans
showed me that the way their ethnic advocacy organizations define grievances
and develop strategies are profoundly shaped by the U.S. context. This led me
to research that examines how differences in political structures, policies
regarding immigrant integration and religion, as well as migration patterns,
shape immigrant political activism. To examine this topic, I have begun a
research project, “The Political Incorporation of Religious Minorities in
Canada and the United States” examining how the social, political, and
religious contexts of Canada and the United States shape the political
incorporation and civic activism of religious minorities from South Asia. This
research also aims to uncover the factors that influence the form that
mobilization takes, and whether it takes an "ethnic,"
"racial," or "religious" form. It will examine how
different opportunity structures (both national and local), and differences in
the characteristics of the groups, shape how they frame their grievances and