Aspiring to Home by Bakirathi Mani

Aspining to Home, by Bakirathi Mani, copyright 2012.

Aspiring to Home, by Bakirathi Mani, copyright 2012.

In 2005, I was interviewed by a writer named Bakirathi Mani about the experience of doing the Broadway production of Bombay Dreams, and what it meant to be an Indian American artist involved with that groundbreaking production. I was intrigued by the subject matter she was tackling and eager to share my thoughts on it as well as hear those of others. The book, entitled Aspiring to Home: South Asians in America, became available to the public in 2012, and I’m proud to be a part of it.


Here’s the description from

What does it mean to belong? How are twenty-first-century diasporic subjects fashioning identities and communities that bind them together? Aspiring to Home examines these questions with a focus on immigrants from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Advancing a theory of locality to explain the means through which immigrants of varying regional, religious, and linguistic backgrounds experience what it means to belong, Bakirathi Mani shows how ethnicity is produced through the relationship between domestic racial formations and global movements of class and capital.

Aspiring to Home focuses on popular cultural works created by first- and second-generation South Asians from 1999–2009, including those by author Jhumpa Lahiri and filmmaker Mira Nair, as well as public events such as the Miss India U.S.A. pageant and the Broadway musical Bombay Dreams. Analyzing these diverse productions through an interdisciplinary framework, Mani weaves literary readings with ethnography to unravel the constraints of form and genre that shape how we read diasporic popular culture.”

Aspiring to Home is available where books are sold, or online here.

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