AboutI completed my PhD at Florida International University in 2006 and a two-year postdoctoral training at Saint Louis University’s Center for Intercultural Studies in 2014. My research topics include, but are not limited to immigrant faiths, material religion, Marian devotion and pilgrimage, and gender and spirituality.
EducationPh.D 2006 Comparative Sociology, Florida International University
Dissertation: Hyphenated Cultures: Ethnicity and Nation in Trinidad. M.A 1994 International and Area Studies (Latin American & Caribbean Focus), University of Tsukuba
Advisers: Alex Stepick (Chair); Terry Rey, Barry Levine, Anthony Maingot, and Kevin Yelvington
Thesis: Reinterpretation of Rastafarianism: Religious Meanings of “Repatriation to Africa” [Written and submitted in Japanese]. B.A 1992 English (International Relations minor), Kyoto Sangyo University
PublicationsPAPERS IN PEER-REVIEWED JOURNAL
2009 “‘They don’t do culture’: Mother Kali as a Matrix of National Culture in Trinidad.” Wadabagei: A Journal of the Caribbean and Its Diasporas, 12 (3): 59– 86.
2008 “Villaging the Nation: The Politics of Making Ourselves in Postcolonial Trinidad.” Callaloo: A Journal of African American Arts and Letters, 31 (4): 1148–1174.
2008 “Mothers–Hyphenated Imaginations: The Feasts of Soparee Ke Mai and La Divina Pastora in Trinidad.” Man in India: An International Journal of Anthropology, 88 (1&2): 145–164.
REFEREED PAPERS IN EDITED VOLUMES
2016 “Caribbean.” In The Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Race, Ethnicity, and Nationalism, edited by J. Stone, R. Dennis, P. Rizova, A. D. Smith, and X. Hou. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell.
2015 “Toward the Materiality of Intercultural Dialogue, Still a ‘Miracle begging for analysis.'” In Perspectives on Interculturality: The Construction of Meaning in the Relations of Difference, edited by M. Rozbicki, 53–68. NY; London: Palgrave Macmillan.
2013 “Postwar Japanese Hikiage (Returnees) as a ‘Method’: Implications for Return Migration Research.” In Ethnography of Hikiage, edited by T. Shimomura, 375– 398. Tokyo: Shinyosha. [Written and published in Japanese]
2013 “The Other Half: The Articulation of Carnival in Nineteenth-century Trinidad.” In Carnival: Theory and Practice, edited by C. Innes, A. Rutherford, and B. Bogar, 79–91. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press/Red Sea Press.
2011 “Trinidadian and Tobagonian Immigrants.” In Multicultural America: An Encyclopedia of the Newest Americans, edited by R. H. Bayor, 2135–2189. Westport, CT: ABC–CLIO/Greenwood Press.
2009 “Mothers–Hyphenated Imaginations: The Feasts of Soparee Ke Mai and La Divina Pastora in Trinidad.” In Indian Diaspora in the Caribbean, edited by K. Mahabir, 169–191. New Delhi, India: Serials Publications (Reprinted with revision from Man in India: An International Journal of Anthropology).
2009 (Coauthored with Christine Ho and Alex Stepick) “The Struggle for Civic Social Capital in West Indian Churches.” In Churches and Charity in the Immigrant City: Religion, Immigration, and Civic Engagement in Miami, edited by A. Stepick, T. Rey, and S. Mahler, 208–230. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.
BOOK REVIEWS IN PEER-REVIEWED JOURNALS
2012 Glenda Tibe Bonifacio and Vivienne SM. Angeles, Gender, Religion, and Migration: Pathways of Integration (Lexington Books, 2010). Religion and Gender, 2 (1): 186–189.
2010 Jocelyne Guilbault, Governing Sound: The Cultural Politics of Trinidad’s Carnival Music (The University of Chicago Press, 2007). Wadabagei: A Journal of the Caribbean and Its Diasporas, 13 (2): 91–94.
2010 Reinaldo L. Román, Governing Spirits: Religion, Miracles, and Spectacles in Cuba and Puerto Rico, 1898–1956 (University of North Carolina Press, 2007). Canadian Journal of History, 45 (2): 419–421.
2010 Hideaki Matsuoka, Japanese Prayer Below the Equator (Lexington Books, 2007). Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology, 15 (2): 504–506.
2009 Richard Price, Travels with Tooy: History, Memory, and the African American Imagination (The University of Chicago Press, 2008). Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism, 9 (2): 351–353.
2009 Kevin Birth, Bacchanalian Sentiments: Musical Experiences and Political Counterpoints in Trinidad (Duke University Press, 2007). The Journal of Royal Anthropological Institute, 15(3): 663–665.
2009 John R. Hinnells, Religious Reconstruction in the South Asian Diasporas: From One Generation to Another (Palgrave MacMillan, 2007). Ethnic and Racial Studies, 32 (6): 1092–1093.
2008 Aisha Khan, Callaloo Nation: Metaphors of Race and Religious Identity among South Asians in Trinidad (Duke University Press, 2004). Transforming Anthropology, 16(2): 176–177.
ProjectsSharing Mothers: Spirituality, Sociality, and Sexuality of the Walking Statue
I am developing a manuscript for a single-authored book with the working title of Sharing Mothers: Spirituality, Sociality, and Sexuality of the Walking Statue. The book will focus on one of the ethnographic cases discussed in the dissertation. Each year, on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, thousands of non-Catholic, predominantly Hindu, pilgrims crowd the Catholic Church in Siparia, a small town in southern Trinidad and make devotion to the dark-complexioned Marian statue of La Divina Pastora. On Good Shepherd Sunday, the Fourth Sunday of Easter, the same Church overflows with Catholic pilgrims, who equally fervently worship the same statue. The book will weave together findings from ethnographic observations and archival research over the past ten years in order to explore how and why this single Marian statue has historically persisted as a shared focus of adoration and site of empowerment between hegemonic Roman Catholics, predominantly those of African and European descent, and subaltern Hindus of South Asian origin. The book will make valuable contribution to the actively-debated issues of immigrant faith and “material religion” in addition to more general scholarship of ethnic studies, religious studies, and Caribbean studies.
Flying Baba: Social Capital Development and Circular Faith-based Community in the Indo-Caribbean Migration
In 2012, with a research grant from Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, I started a preliminary ethnographic research on social capital development and civic engagement of the South Asian immigrant/diaspora populations in South Florida. In South Florida, unlike traditional destinations of the South Asian migrants, such as New York, the Indo-Caribbean immigrants pioneered and have formed the majority of the “Indian” population with a minority of Asian Indians. I presented a paper based on the preliminary findings, “Between ‘Indian’ and ‘West Indian’: Ethnoreligiosity and Social Capital Development of the Indo-Caribbean Migrants in South Florida” at the American Academy of Religion conference in 2012. Based on the preliminary findings, I am now developing a research project on what implications tangible religious objects have had for the realignment of “orthodoxy” and development of social capital from distinctly-contextualized Hinduisms of the Indo-Caribbean and Asian Indian immigrants. Also, while in Trinidad as a research fellow at the University of the West Indies, I am conducting ethnographic research on transnational faith-based Indo-Trinidadian community between Trinidad and South Florida “traveling babas (pundits).”