Bangladeshi Hindu diaspora in Canada is a new phenomenon that requires careful observation to learn about their identity formation and literacy practices in relation to their religious affiliations and practices. Identity formation, and literacy and integration practices of diasporic communities have been the focus of multiple studies for some decades. Past social, ethnic, and literacy experiences of immigrants significantly influence their integration in a host society. Drawing on theoretical concepts such as religion-as-social-capital, the role of religion in identity formation, New Literacy Studies, and the Continua of Biliteracy, I document the relationship between religious affiliations and language and literacy practices of seven recruited Bangladeshi Hindu families in GTA (Greater Toronto Area) Canada. This is an ethnographic interpretative study that employs multiple data collection and analysis approaches. Interviews, observation, photography, and reflective tasks were used to collect data. For the analysis of multi-layered data in this study, a combination of analytical approaches was used: grounded theory, narrative inquiry, Critical Discourse Analysis, and situational analyses. The findings suggest that religious affiliations and practices shelter and bind the participants in their new country, contribute to their overall integration into the host society, and work as resources for their literacy development. The findings should not be generalized as the number of participants is very small and individual stories might vary. This study aims to empower language and social studies teachers to initiate dialogues on cross-cultural and cross-religious issues to promote democratic citizenship in public school and adult learning systems in Canada.
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Thesis advisor: Moore, Daniele
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