Im/Materialities: Diaspora as a New Image of Translation

Author: Arvind-Pal Singh Mandair

Link: “Im/Materialities: Diaspora as a New Image of Translation”, currently under review with the journal Religion, Vol. 49. No. 3, 2019

About: This article explores the interaction between materiality and ideality through the work of a translation software technology routinely used in Sikh diaspora communities. The software Sikhi-to-the-Max weaves together subjectivity, religion and linguistic formations making it indispensable for mediating a communicational ecosystem of diasporic life-worlds by enabling translation of a premodern scriptural language between different generations of Sikhs. Sikhi-to-the-Max juxtaposes premodern and modern language formations, in addition to mediating between sonic/affective experiences of music, scriptural text and commentary. Following Deleuze I argue for a new ‘image’ of translation pertinent to the ‘religious’ diasporic lifeworld, an ‘image’ inspired partly by the univocal model of language and world-making embedded in the operating logic of Sikh scripture (gurbani). By contextualizing the communicational models of Sikhi-to-the-Max within the cultural history of imperial translation, this new ‘image’ of translation pushes us to think harder about how the material and the conceptual interact.


Arvind-Pal S. Mandair
Professor, Asian Languages and Cultures 

Tara Singh & Balwant Kaur Chattha, Gurbax Singh & Kirpal Kaur Brar Professor of Sikh Studies

Philosophy/Religion/Postcolonial Theory/Sikh Studies/South Asian Studies

Office: 202 South Thayer Street
Office 6016
Ann Arbor, MI 48104-1608

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