ASIAN 480: Sikhism and Modernity

Course Level: Graduate

Course Description:This course looks at the interaction of one of South Asia’s most visible and distinctive communities (the Sikhs) with modernity. The course will bring together South Asian and European imperial history together with scholarship on trans-nationalism and postcoloniality. The course will begin by looking at the creation of the modern Sikh imaginary by mapping the emergence of nationalist discourses on Sikh religion, history and politics, before moving on to study anti-colonial movements such as the Ghaddar movement, the role of Sikhs in the Indian Independence Movement, and Sikh separatism in the wake of the events of 1984. One of our concerns will be to revaluate the shifting, complex and often competing visions of Sikh identity over the last two centuries to the present day. Seminar topics may include, but are not limited to, discussions of contemporary Sikh responses to modern ethical dilemmas; responses to secularism and multiculturalism; capitalism and spirituality; globalization and diaspora; gender; the problem of caste; projections of Sikhs and Punjabis in cinema; music; art; wars of scholarship; notions of community, the internet etc.


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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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