Desi rhetorics: Identity practices of Indian-Americans in nested publics

Priya Sirohi, Purdue University


The purpose of this thesis is to investigate the nature of model minority rhetoric as a regulatory force within powerful and privileged nested publics of Indian American enclaves. I argue that Indian American enclaves are vernacular-based nested publics that align with dominant expectations through the authenticating processes directed by model minority narratives. Counterpublic theory has pluralized and expanded since Fraser, and it now accepts multiple possibilities such as vernacular rhetoric and temporo-spatial dimensions to counterpublics. When Indian-American enclaves are understood in terms of new counterpublic scholarship as non-dominant “nested publics,” then temple spaces and vernacular discourse can be seen as the foundational modalities that generate common stereotypes about Indians that circulate in the dominant sphere. Masculinity, feminine spaces, generational divides, education, and economics are wrapped into the vernacular discourses which take place in temple spaces. Ultimately, model minority rhetorics are exclusionary, harmful rhetorics that stereotype Indian-Americans. I call for us to question model minority rhetorics.




Bay, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Social research|South Asian Studies|Rhetoric

Off-Campus Purdue Users:
To access this dissertation, please log in to our
proxy server