#417 Parsis in the United States of America as Zoroastrian “Twice Migrants”—Identity Issues

Coresponding author's contact details

First name Paulina Middle name Last name Niechciał
Title doctor Organization / Institution Jagiellonian University Department Centre for Comparative Studies of Civilisations
Address Imbramowska 7/8 Postal / Zip code 31-212 Country PL
E-Mail Hidden Phone number Hidden Presenting author Yes

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Abstract title

Parsis in the United States of America as Zoroastrian “Twice Migrants”—Identity Issues

Abstract text

Once dominant in the Middle East, the followers of Zoroastrianism—an ancient Iranian religion—turned into a marginalized religious minority after the Arab conquest of the region in the 7th century. The majority converted to Islam and some, in the face of discrimination and persecutions, left Iran and found their new homeland in India. The migration resulted in a division of the Zoroastrians into two groups: Iranian and Indian, called Parsis. Because of the geographical separation and different political, economic and cultural contexts, the processes of Zoroastrian identity construction in Iran and India have taken different shapes, national loyalty and identification have evolved differently, and religious practices have differed. The second important migration of Zoroastrians developed in the second half of the 20th, and today North America is home to their most expanding community, with the majority residing in the US. Iranian migrants and Parsi “twice migrants”, who decided to leave their adopted homeland on Indian subcontinent, meet in a new country, often sharing religious infrastructure and participating in common functions. The groups differ, which leads to occasional conflicts as well as cultural mingling, and definitely challenges the new Zoroastrian identity. The contacts are not free from suspicion or mutual prejudice shaped for centuries. The paper is based on the qualitative research conducted among the Zoroastrian migrants in the US. It explores what are the implications of modern migration from India for the identity of Parsi Zoroastrians, and how they renegotiate their ethnic and national identities encountering the community members who came directly from the old homeland—Iran.

Conference topic

Panel no. 48 - "Twice-Migrants" in the Context of Nationality, Nationalism and Nationhood

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Abstract Review

This abstract was reviewed on 2021-01-11 12:00h by Bobby Luthra Sinha

Reviewer decision