Events and Conferences

Sikh Studies Speaker Series 2015

Calgary is home to the third largest concentration of Sikhs in Canada. Yet, Mount Royal University is one of only five universities in the country that offers courses focusing on Sikhs and Sikhi(sm). The Sikh Studies Speaker Series is a venue for bringing together and strengthening the collaboration between community and academy. Started in 2010, each installment of the Series hosts an established scholar working in an area related to Sikhs and Sikhi(sm). While at Mount Royal University, the invited scholar makes a presentation to students taking Religious Studies 2251: Sikhism (or in another course with a substantial Sikh component). Students have the opportunity to learn from and engage closely with one of the leading scholars in the field. The invited scholar also gives a free, public talk on an issue related to Sikhs and Sikhi(sm). The public talk brings together the members from the university and faith communities with the purpose of supporting open and collaborative discussions about our shared interests in all things Sikh.
Dr. Nicola Mooney
Punjabi Pastoral: The Nostalgic Poetics and Patriarchal Politics of a Rural Imaginary

Arts_Nicola MooneyMarch 10, 2015
4 p.m.
Mount Royal University
EA 3001, The Knuckle

The Punjabi landscape, as captured in the pastoral image of the mustard field, is an important site of diaspora nostalgia. This is particularly the case for Jat Sikhs, a community of farmers now often living urban and transnational lives. This presentation explores the poetics and politics of the Punjabi pastoral as expressed in ethnographic and popular cultural forms.

Professor Mooney suggests that while a romanticized rural nostalgia is essential to the production of identity in modern and diaspora contexts, it is also a patriarchal and exclusive framework that depends on, reproduces, and fixes gender and caste privilege.

Dr. Nicola Mooney is Associate Professor of Anthropology in the Department of Social, Cultural and Media Studies, and Senior Associate at the Centre for Indo-Canadian Studies at the University of the Fraser Valley in Abbotsford, B.C.. She is the author of Rural Nostalgias and Transnational Dreams: Identity and Modernity among Jat Sikhs (2011).Dr. Nirvikar Singh
The State of Sikh Studies in Western Academia

Arts_Nirvikar SinghMarch 17, 2015
4 p.m.
Mount Royal University
EA 3001, The Knuckle

Sikh and Punjabi Studies has an impressive presence in North American academia, with eight endowed chairs, and a wide range of scholarly activities. Arguably, though, the field remains precarious in certain ways, both with respect to its position in academia, and with respect to the Sikh community, its object of study.

In this talk, Professor Singh provides a basis for this claim of precariousness, discussing broader asymmetries in the production and reproduction of knowledge in those parts of Western academia that encompass or influence Sikh and Punjabi Studies. He examines the relationship of the field to South Asian studies, religious studies, and aspects of postmodernism, as well as to underlying ideologies such as Hindutva.

To illustrate his arguments, Professor Singh draws from five topics that have been salient or are emerging as important in Sikh and Punjabi Studies: the origins of Sikhism, the later evolution of the tradition, diversity in belief and practice, the Sikh diaspora, and Sikh sacred music.

Dr. Nirvikar Singh is Professor of Economics, Director of the Center for Analytical Finance, and is the Sarbit Singh Aurora Chair in Sikh and Punjabi Studies at the University of California (Santa Cruz).

For more information about the speakers or series, contact Michael Hawley, PhD.Past SpeakersDoris Jakobsh
University of Waterloo, Ontario (April 2010)
Sikhizing the Sikhs: The Role of 'New' Media in Historical and Contemporary Identity Construction

Balbinder Bhogal
Hofstra University, Long Island NY (November 2010)
The Animal Sublime: Re-thinking the Sikh Mystical Body

Nikky-Guninder Kaur Singh
Colby College, Maine (October 2011)
Sikhism and Women: Sacred and Secular Interpretations

Louis E. Fenech
University of Northern Iowa (November 2012)
Histories Adorned and Morals Pointed: The Zafar-namah of Guru Gobind Singh

Robin Rinehart
Lafayette College, Pennsylvania (November 2013)
Sikh Interpretations of the Goddess Durga in the Dasam Granth