• Creative Dissonance: The Performance of Immigrant World Making
    Arijit Sen
    University of Minnesota Press, 2013
    Arijit Hirankumar Sen

Arijit Sen, Vedanta Temple, photograph.

This project explores quotidian practices by which Indian immigrants reproduce community, landscape, a sense of belonging, and ethnic identity in the United States. The central issue illustrated in this book refers to a communicative and representational way-of-being in this world by which individuals produce narratives of belonging and peoplehood. Six substantive chapters recount case studies of Indian immigrants settling in the Northern California Bay Area during the first half of the twentieth century. These case studies include stories of production of maps, narratives and images of homeland, constructing and occupying buildings, institutional politics, photographing and manipulating self portraits, and writing about home and domesticity. Archival, visual, architectural, and ethnographic analyses examine the complex interactions between people and their material worlds. An emphasis on interactional and negotiated processes and performative practice allows us to examine the role of individuals within larger systems mediated by institutions such as family, community, nation, and state.

After receiving a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, Arijit Sen taught architecture and cultural landscapes at Ball State University and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Trained under architectural historians, anthropologists, and geographers, his research reflects methods borrowed from these fields. He was awarded the prestigious Quadrant Fellowship from the University of Minnesota Press for his current project Creative Dissonance: The Performance of Immigrant World-Making. He also wrote articles on immigrant cultural landscapes in Northern California, New York's Lower East Side, and Jackson Heights. His current publications examine the cultural landscape of Muslim immigrants along Chicago's Devon Avenue. Sen has taught, studied, and designed curriculum related to American cultural landscapes.