Friday, 30 April 2010

Diasporizing Punjab, Disorienting Bhangra

A series of public talks on the Punjabi diaspora and the role of popular culture within it…

A century ago, Sikh migrants built the oldest extant gurdwara in British Columbia, Abbotsford’s Khalsa Diwan Society, and since then, Punjabis have migrated to Canada in the hundreds of thousands. They are increasingly prominent in business, politics and the media; and their foodstuffs, clothing, performative cultures and religious sites have become part of the mainstream in many Canadian cities.

Diasporizing Punjab, Disorienting Bhangra will contribute to an intellectual and theoretical understanding of the contemporary Punjabi diaspora experience. Bringing together scholars from a number of disciplines, the event will focus on some of the historical trajectories, cultural contours, and modes of commemorative, artistic, and popular cultural expression that characterize transnational Punjabi life.

Two evenings of public paper presentations, themed Diasporizing Punjab, are scheduled for May 5 & 6 at UFV. On Wednesday May 5, Satwinder Kaur Bains (University of the Fraser Valley), Verne Dusenbery (Hamline University), and Margaret Walton-Roberts (Wilfrid Laurier University) will present. On Thursday May 6, Inderpal Grewal (Yale University), Doris Jakobsh (University of Waterloo), and Michael Nijhawan (York University) will present. Further public paper presentations, themed Disorienting Bhangra, are to be held at the University of British Columbia on May 7 & 8, where speakers include Rajinder Dudrah (University of Manchester), Harjant Gill (American University), Nicola Mooney (University of the Fraser Valley), Anjali Gera Roy (Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur), Gibb Schreffler (University of California at Santa Barbara). There will also be an undergraduate student roundtable, and a panel of graduate student papers, where speakers include Manjot Bains (York University), Naveen Girn (York University), and Ashveer Pal Singh (University of California at Berkeley).

Diasporizing Punjab, Disorienting Bhangra is presented by the University of the Fraser Valley and The University of British Columbia in collaboration with the Vancouver International Bhangra Celebration. Financial support is being provided by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, UFV's Centre for Indo-Canadian Studies, UFV International, UBC's Department of Asian Studies and the Centre for India and South Asia Research, and the Vancouver International Bhangra Celebration, and marketing support by Punjabi Patrika. The event is being organized by Dr. Nicola Mooney, a faculty associate of CICS who teaches in UFV’s Department of Social, Cultural, and Media Studies, along with Satwinder Kaur Bains, Director of CICS, and Dr. Anne Murphy, Chair in Punjabi Language, Literature and Sikh Studies and Assistant Professor of Asian Studies at UBC.

Visit for more information.

To read the abstracts of the talks:

Contacts: Dr. Nicola Mooney at; or Satwinder Bains at


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