Discovering the Zoroastrian e-diaspora: A Paper by David Knaute

David Knaute is writing his PhD thesis on Zoroastrianism for the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris. More specifically, his research concerns the outmigration of Zoroastrians from Pakistan and contemporary diaspora communities in the UK and USA. David spent ten months in Karachi, Pakistan, in 2009–2010. During this time, he was also introduced to Zoroastrian communities in Gujarat, and has met Zoroastrians in Paris, London, Manchester and Boston.

Below is an abstract of his paper

Discovering the Zoroastrian e-diaspora

Abstract

Zoroastrians are an ancient ethnic-religious community that goes back to the prophet Zarathushtra. Today they number some 120,000 people, based in India/Pakistan and Iran; diaspora communities are settled in North America, the United Kingdom, Australia. On the Indian sub-continent, where Zoroastrians are known as ‘Parsis’, communities are ageing quickly, due in particular to a low fertility rate and massive outmigration. Projections show there will be virtually no more Zoroastrians in Pakistan in a few decades, and figures in India may drop to 20,000 individuals by 2050. For such a scattered community, the Internet represents a unique platform to discuss community matters and bring together far-flung groups. Zoroastrians use the Web and other digital media to organize themselves and remain connected to their homeland. This e-diaspora not only highlights some traditional characteristics of Zoroastrian communities, it intertwines with the apparition of a new leadership. It also accelerates the emergence of a universal conception of what it is to be Zoroastrian, transforming the Zoroastrian socio-cultural and religious identity and reshaping past and present divisions.

You can read the entire paper, which makes some fascinating, reading here: http://www.e-diasporas.fr/working-papers/Knaute-Zoroastrianism-EN.pdf

The e-diaspora map of Zoroastrianism is here: http://maps.e-diasporas.fr/index.php?focus=section&section=28