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Miss India USA 2001: Flexible Practices, Creative Consumption, and Transnationality in Indian America

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Item Summary

Title: Miss India USA 2001: Flexible Practices, Creative Consumption, and Transnationality in Indian America
Authors: Vora, Kalindi
Advisor: Yano, Christine
Issue Date: Dec 2002
Publisher: University of Hawaii at Manoa
Abstract: In Miss India USA, an event that represents Indian ethnicity as imagined by the mainstream Indian community, we can find a representation of the true dynamic processes of self-definition that are occurring in Indian America. By looking for evidence that the 'ideal' of Miss India USA is a construction based on the interests of what turns out to be only one voice among many in the community, we can start to look for evidence of other voices in the pageant. These are revealed in the ways that contestants fail to meet the ideal of 'Miss India USA' and instead perform other versions of Indian identity on stage. This thesis argues that discussions of the transnational Indian community as a diaspora homogenize it in a way that hides alternate forms of Indian identity that themselves share transnational affiliations besides those of the mainstream community highlighted by the notion of 'diaspora.' Miss India USA reveals that individuals in diaspora utilize transnational affiliations to create a multiplicity of identities that can only be understood in the context of both these particular affiliations and the locality of the individual. New enunciations of race and ethnicity in the context of America are found in Miss India USA, as are practices of flexible citizenship by contestants who wish to use their cultural capital of 'Indian-ness' to access transnational career opportunities. This thesis argues that by recognizing diaspora as constituted by multiple practices of creativity and flexibility with both ideological and material capital, the nature of events like Miss India USA 2001 as sites of multiple Indian identities and the transnational ties that constitute them can be acknowledged as part of a diaspora.
Description: vii 138 leaves
Rights: All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections:M.A. - Anthropology
Anthropology Masters Theses

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