Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Hometown Associations, Transnationalism, Culture Change, Immigration, African Diaspora, Gender Relations, Assimilation, Identity, Cultural Reproduction, Diasporic Communities

Major Advisor

Francoise Dussart

Associate Advisor

Samuel Martinez

Associate Advisor

Richard Wilson

Field of Study



Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


This dissertation examines how Igbo men and women who are members of hometown associations collectively align, organize and reshape their lives around their ancestral hometown identities as they settle down in the USA. It explores, from an anthropological perspective, the role of hometown associations in cultural reproduction, and the thesis that migrant groups, through these associations, effectively re-locate, maintain and reconstruct forms of ancestral hometown traditions and identities in diaspora. I examine the hometown association and its social space as an institutionalized site for the maintenance of cultural difference by analyzing the retention and blending of Igbo and Anglo-American practices during life cycle events as Igbo immigrants socially interact with each other as well as members of the broader community in the places where they are settling down.

I argue that hometown associations provide an institutionalized site, where as both Igbo and Anglo-American life cycle events are marked, migrants’ cultural traditions converge with Anglo-American practices and co-exist or intersect and react to produce a bricolage of modified traditions and identities. The hometown associations provide a site where ancestral village solidarity and cultural heritage are not just shared and celebrated but are re-villaged, reconstructed, and when necessary, added to by borrowing from Anglo-American practices. Revillaging as used here refers to the desire to not just belong to one’s ancestral village by virtue of lineage but the process of practicing one’s village identity and publicly identifying with the village collective. By practicing their ancestral village identity as a collective, they form an obodo (village) community that is distinct and different from those of others who are not from their ancestral village. This study seeks to examine, primarily through ethnographic research, how Igbo migrants produce new village localities as they collectively align, organize and reconstruct their lives through the socio-cultural institution of the hometown association