This book is not available in our subscription service
This book is not yet available in our subscription service due to
restrictions in our agreements with the publisher. We hope to be able
to offer this title in our subscription service as soon as possible. In the meantime you can purchase this book individually.
Bollywood Weddings: Dating, Engagement, and Marriage in Hindu America
Bollywood Weddings examines how middle to upper class second-generation Indian-American Hindus negotiate wedding rituals, including the dating and engagement processes. Many of these couples are (in Ramdya's neologism) 'occasional Hindus' who display their Hindu religious background only on important occasions such as the rite of passage that is marriage. These couples (and their extended families) negotiate two vastly different cultures and sets of values inside a community that has itself largely pre-determined how to mix American and Indian/Hindu elements into this ritual. As a rule, the first generation organizes the wedding, which is largely Hindu, and their children coordinate the American-style reception. Instead of choosing either India or America, or arriving at a compromise in between the two, this community takes a 'both/and' approach, embracing both cultures simultaneously. Ramdya's ethnographic fieldwork includes in-depth interviews of engaged couples, observation at their wedding ceremonies, wedding videography and photography, and material culture such as the clothing her participants wore on their wedding day. She explores pre-wedding day topics such as America's Indian-Hindu marriage market and bridal industry, then goes on to describe pre-wedding and wedding-day customs including the engagement party, kanyadan, and baraat. Bollywood, whose Indian origins grants it authenticity from the Hindu perspective and whose emphasis on romance accommodates American values, emerges as the key mediating third culture around which the community applies the both/and model to wedding rituals. The both/and model uncovered here reinforces the community's identity as ethnic and American even as it confirms that success in America need not be bought at the expense of one's religious background and cultural heritage.read more
This slim but jam-packed (and small print) volume is a study in cultural anthropology, namely the manner in which Hindu Americans attempt to navigate their dual-ethnic identity as displayed through one particular, ubiquitous cultural ritual: the wedding. Ramdya studied 20 weddings of Hindu Indian Americans, paying close attention to which aspects of the pre-wedding and wedding process displayed which aspect of the couple's cultural identity. What she found was a fascinating blend of old and new, ancient and modern, that allowed the individuals to express both their Indian background and their current status as American citizens. She argues that the both/and model is a way for Hindu Americans to reinforce both their ethnic and American identities, and that success in America does not need to come at the expense of one's cultural and religious heritage.I found the study both fascinating and informative, if a little short. I wish that Ramdya had included specific details from more of the weddings she viewed for the study, but she focuses on about 5 or 6 throughout the course of the text. I wonder if there might have been a larger version of this study done for a university or as a thesis, with this being a condensed version for the public? I'm not sure. It would also benefit from some tables or charts, showing how things stayed the same/changed across the board. As a result of this study, I do plan to read more books about Hindu Americans and how they navigate their cultural identities in the West. I'm interacting with Indian Canadians more and more these days as I teach Bollywood classes in my area and surrounding cities, and I'm wondering what it's like to be part of an ethnic group, holding onto your rich ethnic heritage while still being a part of modern culture. If you find that you interact with Hindu Americans in your workplace or school, this is a good place to start if you want to begin to understand the challenges faced by second-generation Hindu Americans today.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.