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2020 was an unprecedented year. The Covid-19 pandemic revealed and exacerbated inequalities along racial, class, caste, gender, and religious lines. The move to life online was accompanied by increased corporate and state surveillance. Ethno-religious nationalisms, white supremacy, and heteropatriarchy resurfaced in the public sphere. Protest and activism by groups such as Black Lives Matter and the kisaan morcha produced representations (and criminalization) of racial and religious minorities. At the same time, minoritarian groups enjoyed increased solidarity and allyship across racial and religious lines, and seva took on new forms. How does the work of Sikh Studies address inequalities and inequities in the public sphere? In what ways might Sikh Studies scholarship intersect with activism and movement building? What are the potential possibilities and problems of such interactions? The Sikh Studies Unit invites papers that interrogate these themes and related questions, and papers that explore engagement between Sikhism and other racial and religious groups.

Sikh Studies Unit and Asian North American Religion, Culture, and Society Unit Co-Sponsored Session

Sikhs and Sikhism in North America

The Sikh Studies Unit and the Asian North American Religion, Culture, and Society Unit invite papers on Sikhs and Sikhism in North America. While proposals must include a North American component, we welcome proposals that explore Sikh experience across geographical boundaries, and encourage proposals from a wide range of methodological and disciplinary approaches. In their consideration of the development and transformation of Sikhism in North American diasporic contexts, proposals may address a variety of themes, including gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, space, politics, activism, literature, arts, education and practices. How has transnationalism shaped the production of Sikh beliefs, practices, and institutions or conceptions of Sikhism in North America? How do Sikhs and Sikhism engage with liberal ideologies (e.g. secularism) or public policies (e.g. multiculturalism) in the North American diaspora? In what ways has Sikh self-understanding and engagement been informed by their North American contexts?


Mission Statement:

This Unit provides a forum for highlighting the most recent and innovative scholarship in the area of Sikh studies. Our work draws from a broad range of methodological and theoretical approaches — history, postcolonial theory, performance theory, popular culture, philosophy, literary criticism, gender studies, etc. — by both established scholars as well as those new to the field. Seeking a balance between critical theory and substantive content, we seek to call into question key critical terms, challenge established frames of reference, and offer innovative and alternative ways in which Sikhs and Sikhism can be understood and studied in the academy.

Method of Submission:




Michael Hawley, mhawley@mtroyal.ca

Nirinjan Khalsa, nirinjan.khalsa@lmu.edu


Steering Committee:

Tejpaul Bainiwal, tbain001@ucr.edu

Francesca Cassio, francesca.cassio@hofstra.edu

Amrit Deol, adeol3@ucmerced.edu

Anneeth Kaur Hundle, ahundle@uci.edu

Sukhdeep Sembi, sukhsingh.s@gmail.com

Gurbeer Singh, gsang002@ucr.edu


Session Allotment: Tier 1 – Two 90-minute sessions

Next Review: 2021