Sikh Studies At The University Of Michigan


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
Forwarded by Tejwant Singh ji Malik

September 2009-May 2010
Donald S. Lopez, Jr.

Chair, Department of Asian Languages & Cultures

In September 2006, Arvind Mandair joined the faculty of the University of Michigan’s Department of Asian Languages and Cultures as the Tara Singh and Balwant Kaur Chattha and Gurbaksh and Kirpal Kaur Brar Assistant Professor of Sikh Studies. Professor Mandair came to Michigan from the
Department of Religious Studies at Hofstra University, where he held the S.K.K. Bindra Chair in Sikh Studies. Having completed his Ph.D. in Philosophy and Religion at the University of Warwick in 1998,
Professor Mandair was, at the time of his appointment, the co-author of Teaching of the Sikh Gurus:

Selections from Sikh Scriptures (Routledge, 2005) and the author of numerous articles in leading academic journals.

In November 2009, Professor Mandair’s first single-authored monograph, Religion and the Specter of the West: Sikhism, India, Postcoloniality and the Politics of Translation, was published by Columbia University Press. He is currently working on two new monographs: Mourning Sovereignty: Sikhism,
Civil Society and the State, Communicating Ecstasy: Encounters Between Sikh and Western Thought, on comparative philosophy and religion.

At the end of 2010 a major volume of new essays entitled Secularism and Religion-Making, co-edited by Professor Mandair, will be published by Oxford University Press (New York) in paperback and hardback.

In 2009-2010, Mandair also published several articles including: “Sikhism for Healthcare Professionals” in a new book entitled World Religions For Healthcare Professionals (Routledge, 2009);

“Translations of Violence: Revisiting Discourses of Sikh Ethnonationalism” in Secularism and Religion Making (Oxford University Press, 2010);

“Modernity, Religion-Making and the Postsecular”, a major introduction to the
volume Secularism and Religion-Making (Oxford University Press, 2010).
Professor Mandair is one of the founding editors of Sikh Formations: Religion, Culture, and Theory, a journal in its fifth year of publication, published by Routledge. This peer-reviewed journal is now based at the University of Michigan and will begin publishing three issues per year in 2011.

Professor Mandair continues to serve on the Sikh Studies Consultation Group of the American Academy of Religion, a group which he helped establish in 2007. This group provides the first consistent representation of Sikh Studies in the largest scholarly organization dedicated to the academic study of

Courses Taught Fall 2009

Asian 305 Religion and Violence in a Secular World, included content on Sikhism (enrollment 34)
Asian 480 Sikh Religion and Philosophy (graduate course with enrollment of 13)
Asian 499 Independent Study in Advanced Punjabi
Asian 699 Independent Study in Classical Punjabi (language of Sikh Scripture)

Courses Taught Winter 2010
Asian 381 Postcolonial Theory, included content on Sikhism (enrollment 18)
Asian 220 Introduction to Asian Religions, included content on Sikhism (enrollment 85)
Asian 499 Independent Study in Advanced Punjabi
Asian 699 Independent Study in Classical Punjabi (language of Sikh Scripture)

Courses to be taught in 2010-2011
Asian 303 Warrior Saints: Introduction to Sikh Religion, Culture, and Ethnicity
Asian 380 What is Religion? (Topics in Asian Studies)

Graduate Student Advising
Professor Mandair is currently on the advisory committees of five Ph.D. students in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures and one student in the Department of Anthropology (Punnu Jaitla). Three
of these students are working on topics directly related to Sikh and Punjab studies: Sikh Musical Traditions (Nirinjan Khalsa), Violence and Religion in Sikh History and Literature (Harjeet Grewal), Punjabi Linguistics (Punnu Jaitla). There are also several MA students based in the Center for South
Asian Studies who are taking Sikh-related courses with Professor Mandair (Ranjanpreet Nagra and Sean Chauhan). The Department of Asian Languages and Cultures continues to attract more excellent Sikh Studies applicants to its graduate program than it is able to accept, due to funding constraints.

Modern and Classical Punjabi
The Sikh Studies endowment also supports the teaching of Punjabi language. Dr. Pinderjeet Gill, who joined the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures in 2005, is instructor of modern Punjabi language. Modern Punjabi is currently taught on an alternating cycle. In one year, Dr. Gill teaches firstyear Punjabi, with the second-year course offered in the following academic year. The enrollments in the Punjabi language courses attract around ten to fifteen students each year. In 2009-2010 there were
sixteen students enrolled in first-year Punjabi in the fall and thirteen students enrolled in the winter. As of July 26, 2010, ten students have signed up for second-year Punjabi for the 2010-2011 academic year.
Classical Punjabi (the language of Sikh Scripture) is taught by Professor Mandair as an independent study.


During the period of May 2009 to May 2010 Professor Mandair delivered a total of eleven academic and public lectures and organized one conference:

• November 30 to December 4 2009, delivered the Jordan Lectures in Comparative Religion, at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies. This was a set of five public lectures focusing on Sikhism. For details of the lectures please click on the following link:

• September 2009, organized and co-directed a two day conference at the University of California, Berkeley to mark twenty-five years after 1984. The conference was funded by Sikh communities in California and New Jersey. The conference, entitled “After 1984?” is now in the process of being published in the journal Sikh Formations (December 2010).

• May 2009, delivered a paper on “Secularism and Political Violence” at a major workshop on Sikh Ethnonationalism held at the University of Birmingham (UK) and attended by the leading scholars working in this area.

• October 2009, delivered a paper “Sikhism and Karma” at a workshop on Dharmic Traditions organized by the Uberoi Foundation, held in Florida.

• November 2009, delivered a paper at the AAR Annual Meeting in Montreal entitled “Infecting Democracy”.

• May 2010, delivered an opening statement, followed by an academic paper “Aesthetics and Gurmat Sangeet” at a major conference on Sikh Music and Hermeneutics at Hofstra University, New York.

• May 2010, delivered a public keynote speech entitled “The Warrior Saint in the Sikh Tradition” to the Detroit Sikh Community at the 16th Annual Sikh Heritage Banquet, Burton Manor, organized by the Sikh Foundation, Inc.


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
ballym ji

I think his fit with the study of Sikh History comes in with the study of ethnocentricism and Sikhism, and with secularism and political violence (thinking of Punjab from the 1980's up to around 2001). Without reading the articles and books one cannot tell. As I was posting this I was thinking that he probably would have some very interesting things to say about the current dera movement in Punjab, and specifically about the tensions within the Ravidassi panth, and with the Ravidassi panth. But who can tell? Some of his articles may be available for download through the journals mentioned. You might have to be a subscriber.

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