Kamal Dhungana

Kamal Dhungana

M.A. religious studies, UQÀM

M.A. Thesis title: Pratiques religieuses et autel domestique chez les membres de la communauté népalaise de Montréal.

Supervisor : Chiara Letizia

Keywords: anthropology, religion and immigration, South Asian diaspora in Canada, Cultures and religions of Nepal, tantric tradition in Népal.

M.A. thesis summary : My M.A. thesis looks at religious practice in the context of migration, in particular among Nepalis of Montreal. There are about 900 Nepalis in Quebec, who do not have a community temple and reflect the great ethnoreligious diversity of Nepal, while being united by a same identity of Nepali-Canadian. My anchor is the home altar, where each family holds daily rituals. Previous research on the Nepali diaspora in Europe (Gellner et al. 2010) has shown its multiple religious identities, involving Hinduism, Buddhism and animism. I aim to see if the same conclusions are observable here. Observing the domestic altar allows me to concentrate on the material aspects of religion (Houtman et al. 2012). As a community member frequently called to these rituals, it is easy for me to have access to the intimate family sphere and ritual practices. I especially look at the role of women, second generation transmission, land ritual change entailed by migration. What are the links that are maintained with their families and religious traditions in Nepal? What role plays Internet? Is there a corrélation between the amount of ritual change et and the number of years spent in Quebec? My methodology is qualitative : my fieldwork comprises observation of altars and rituals and semi-directive interviews with community members.

Activities : I translate articles from Nepali to English or French. I also teach Nepali to foreign students.