Of Trustees and Offsprings: A Diasporic Trail of Parsi “Crisis” from Bombay to Hong Kong

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2015-04-24

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Abstract

This thesis examines the discourse(s) of crisis in the Parsi diaspora. Treating crisis as a common variable, rather than a singular and unique event across various Parsi communities, I investigate the dimensions of crisis that bind separated Parsi communities in anxiety through a shared language, cultural experience, and historical memory. Turning first to India and then Hong Kong as my case studies, I analyze “crisis,” that has often been identified in terms of demographic decay or postcolonial decline, in the context of more subtle debates around racial purity and trust funds. Crisis, for the Parsi diaspora, while indicating a critical moment in the present, also serves to reveal the underlying and pre-existing socio-economic and cultural tensions in the communities. Relying largely on life-story interviews, online blogs and articles, and archival work, I portray the crisis not as a unique and sporadic event, but rather as one of continuity and complexity, albeit manifesting each time in different and unique guises, that continues to disrupt as well as unite the Parsi diaspora today.

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Honors thesis, Cultural Anthropology, Winner of the Judith McDade Prize in Anthropology

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Fiat, Nadia-Estelle Papit (2015). Of Trustees and Offsprings: A Diasporic Trail of Parsi “Crisis” from Bombay to Hong Kong. Honors thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/9689.


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