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Sikh Studies Unit

Call for Proposals

  1. Space
    What is Sikh space? Scholarly discussions of religious space have tended to focus on the philosophical or on the physical and territorial registers of ‘space.’ More recently, scholars have turned their attention to deterritorialized and digital spaces, particularly in the field of Diaspora Studies. The Sikh Studies Unit invites papers that broaden, challenge, or produce conceptions of ‘Sikh space.’ We encourage proposals that address the relation between abstract deterritorialized spaces and specific forms of location, context, rootedness, and territorialization. How might productive tension between space and place facilitate new theoretical, discursive, or activist practices in and beyond the academy.

  2. Feminism, Women, and Gender in Religion
    The Women and Religion Unit and the Sikh Studies Unit are seeking papers for a possible co-sponsored session. The co-sponsored session seeks papers that critically engage with diasporic, postcolonial, and transnational theories and/or methodological approaches relating to feminism, women, and gender in religion. We particularly encourage proposals that address i) women’s agency, and the lack thereof, in religious scripture, institutions, and devotional praxis, and ii) social and cultural practices and their discursive frameworks relating feminist and gendered approaches to women. We encourage papers that build on the recent and emerging body of schoalrship in the proposers specific subfield(s) and investigate how feminist knowledge production within and across religious traditions have the potential to subvert and transform hegemonic notions of power including the symbolic, linguistic, political, communal, and interpersonal. What would it look like to reorient our religious institutions, praxis, and identity through a feminist lens that advocates more egalitarian ways of knowing and being?

  3. Embodiment
    The Sikh Studies Unit invites paper proposals that interrogate the idea of ‘embodiment’ in Sikh ways of knowing and practice. Intersectional diversity – in terms of method, theory, and disciplinary field of specialization - is encouraged within and between proposals. We welcome proposals that engage with ‘embodiment’ through Sikh music, poetry, literature, katha, memory, pedagogy, and practices such as seva, nam simran, japa, and yoga. Engagement with social, cultural, gendered, literary, and historical registers of embodiment are also encouraged. How do these embodied expressions and experiences relate to Sikh knowledge production and identity formation? In what ways do they inform Sikh self-understanding and engagement in the world? What points of tension do different understandings of embodiment produce, and how might these tensions facilitate new theoretical, discursive, or activist practices in and beyond the academy.

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.


Steering Committee Members



Review Process

Proposer names are visible to chairs but anonymous to steering committee members