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B.A. degree in Anthropology (specialized coursework in Socio-Cultural Anthropology, with a minor in Art History & Visual Arts), Purchase College, Purchase, NY. 3.67 (Major, Overall, Upper Division) G.P.A. Graduated May 2013. Thesis: “Ma Ganga in Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge: Religious Rituals, Environmental Conservation and the Making of a Translocality”.
In India, the Ganges River serves as a vital site for Hindu religious rituals and ceremonies. The Ganges embodies the goddess Gan?ga¯ and is sacred to many Hindu communities. This ethnographic study explores how Indo-Caribbean communities in Queens in New York City have appropriated the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge as the Ganges River for ritual and ceremonial purposes. This usage of Jamaica Bay intersects with environmental concern over the pollution of the Bay, one of New York City’s few wildlife sites. Park Rangers have found objects used in Hindu ceremonies including hollowed out coconuts, saris, prayer flags, coins and food floating on or near the Bay’s shore. Drawing on participant observation and qualitative interviews, this study provides insights regarding the larger issue of how public spaces are made sacred, and how they are increasingly intertwined with discourses and practices of environmental conservation in the United States.