PAPERS Resources

AAR Annual Meeting
Denver, CO
November 17-20, 2018

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Sikh Studies Unit

Statement of Purpose: 

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.

Call for Papers: 

Sikh Studies scholars have often found themselves facing demands from a variety of publics including different governments, media, the judiciary, the Sikh community and religious clergy both in its local and central institutional formations. Despite this, the kind of academic training given to Sikh Studies scholars, and other scholars of religion, continues to privilege scholarly publics, academic presses, and university students. The Sikh Studies Unit invites proposals that seek to rethink the opportunities available to train scholars to more aptly, responsibly, and ethically react to the demands of an increasing number of publics.

Since 9/11, there has been an increased prominence given to questions about religion in the public sphere. Sikhs in North America have responded to human rights violations, (mass) killings, and questions about accommodating religious communities through an upsurge of social activist networks. The realities of a living, highly reactive, and potentially volatile community that is engaged with scholarly discourse places Sikh Studies scholars in a precarious position vis-à-vis autonomy and public responsibility. Therefore, the Sikh Studies Unit also invites proposals that consider the risks associated with scholarly engagement with publics that exist beyond the university. We ask for proposals that consider the ethical responsibilities of scholars who are increasingly studying communities whose self-interest helps create endowed research chairs in religious studies and/or area studies. In what ways does this alter the traditional role of remaining aloof to communitarian expectations of scholarship? How does this put scholars in a bind between often opposed publics? Are there opportunities for new and more engaged forms of scholarship that can arise from this changing landscape? What is the role of altering traditional forms of scholarly training in consideration of these increase public demands?

2018 marks the centenary anniversary of the conclusion of the Hindu–German Conspiracy Trial. The trial was, at the time, the most expensive in American legal history in which eight members of the Ghadar Party were indicted on charges of conspiring to violate US neutrality with England (before US entry into WWI) by conspiring with Germany to initiate revolt against the British in India. The Sikh Studies Unit, in co-sponsorship with the Religion, Colonialism, and Postcolonialism Unit, invites papers that speak to both directly to the Hindu-German Conspiracy Trial and its aftermath, as well as papers that address the many matters that the trial touches upon, including but not limited to: the Ghadar Party and other anti-colonial movements in the early-twentieth century, state surveillance, and religious sites and universities as places of anti-colonial resistance and organization.

The Sikh Studies Unit welcomes both fully developed paper panel and round table proposals. Individual paper proposals are also welcome.

Method: 
PAPERS
Process: 
Proposer names are visible to chairs but anonymous to steering committee members
Leadership: 
ChairSteering Committee