Being Young, Brown, and Hindu: The identity struggles of second-generation Indian Americans

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70 Scopus citations


The "new second generation," the children of post-1965 immigrants, is the focus of scholars who recognize that it is the critical generation who will determine the future patterns of race and ethnicity in the United States. Based on a case study of a Hindu Student Council chapter at "Western University" in California, this article looks at how the attempts by second-generation Indian Americans to deal with issues of race brought many of them to the organization but also produced conflicts and cleavages within it. The purpose of my analysis is to argue that religious institutions often play a crucial role in the identity construction of new Americans and that the complex interplay between race, ethnicity, and religion has been ignored by the dominant sociological models of immigrant incorporation. I also show how and why conventional American categories of race and ethnicity are often inadequate for understanding the experiences of contemporary immigrants and their children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)434-469
Number of pages36
JournalJournal of Contemporary Ethnography
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2005


  • Hindus
  • Identity formation
  • Indian Americans
  • Second-generation Americans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Urban Studies


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