Community formation

A History of the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha in the United States

Bhakti Mamtora
Assistant Professor, Religious Studies, South Asian Studies
The College of Wooster

This project examines the history of the Swaminarayan Sampraday, a Hindu devotional tradition founded by Swaminarayan (1781-1830) at the beginning of the nineteenth century in the western region of India, now known as Gujarat, in North America during the last fifty years. This project expands research on place-making, civic engagement, and religious expansion through the use of ethnographic and archival research methods. By conducting individual and small group interviews and analyzing, newspaper articles, sectarian publications, and religious paraphernalia, this project aims to uncover how individual conceptions and experiences of gender, race, ethnicity, caste, and socioeconomic class inform identity and community formation in the diaspora.

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