Hello. My name is Aparajita (AJ). I was born in a small coastal town in the state of Andhra Pradesh in India. My parents and I lived in Hyderabad — the sprawling, multi-cultural, urban capital city — till I was 14. Coming from a very traditional family, from a very young age I was always fascinated with observing and analyzing cultural and societal complexities. I was eternally curious about why the same social interactions and situations that were appealing to some, were unappealing, or even offensive to others. Culture (religion, caste, class) and socialization practices of the culture were almost always cited as the root causes for several of the conflicts.
When I was 14, my parents moved us from Hyderabad, India to Detroit, MI so that I would have access to better education, better opportunities, and, a better life.
So, there I was, in a brand new culture that I had no previous exposure to, going through puberty and culture shock at the same time! The interesting thing was that as I observed and absorbed the nuances of my new culture, I noticed that culture (RACE, religion, and class differences) was still cited as the root-cause for most conflicts!
I knew that studying culture in all of its aspects was something that I wanted to dedicate my life to. To this end, I got my doctorate in Social-Personality Psychology so that I could not only study culture, but also contribute to the research and education in the field.
If you are wondering why you should read this blog, here is the reason: Too many blogs out there are either really deterministic or so bogged down in cultural relativism, that the idea of cultural norms, beliefs and traditions become moot. I write from the perspective of a woman (who happens to be a Hindu immigrant), who is fortunate enough to call this land of opportunity her home. While I do see the world through multi-cultural lenses, my perspective is also filtered by science and hard evidence.
So, what is this blog going to offer for you? A societal analysis based on well-established research and cultural theories. I don’t want you to blindly accept what I read. I want you, the reader, to question the “status quo”, to dig past the surface level, to question me and my perspective, and ultimately, to really question yourself about why we as a society are the way we are.
I hope my blog inspires you to always keep cultural perspectives in the back of your mind, from the most minor to the most major interactions in your life! I hope that on this journey together, you and I can come to appreciate the nuances and richness that the American cultures add to our lives.
Finally, I realize that your idea of a cultural conundrum and mine might be different, so please click here to read my definition of cultural conundrum so that you may better understand where I am coming from.