“Liting it up”: Popular Culture, Indo-Pak Basketball, and South Asian American Institutions

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Stanley Ilango Thangaraj


South Asian American participants of a co-ethnic basketball league, known as Indo-Pak Basketball, utilized urban basketball vernacular through the phrase “liting it up” to identify individuals scoring points in great numbers. The person “liting it up” becomes visible and receives recognition. Accordingly, I want to “lite up” the scholarship on South Asian America whereby situating South Asian American religious sites and cultural centers as key arenas for “Americanization” through US popular culture. I situate sport as a key element of popular culture through which South Asian American communities work out, struggle through, and contest notions of self. Informed by an Anthropology of Sport, ethnography of South Asian American communities in Atlanta takes place alongside an examination of the North American Indo-Pak Basketball circuit. Accordingly, my findings indicate that such community formation has also taken shape at the intersections of institutions, gender, and sexuality whereby excluding queers, women, and other communities of color.

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Articles (refereed)
Author Biography

Stanley Ilango Thangaraj, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and Vanderbilt University

PhD Candidate in Socio-cultural Anthropology