Sunday, 30 March 2014

Report on the 2nd Max Arthur Macauliffe Conference 2014



EMERGING TRENDS AND DEVELOPMENTS IN SIKH & PUNJABI STUDIES
2nd Max Arthur Macauliffe Conference, University College Cork, Ireland.
Saturday March, 2014
International panel of speakers
(R-L Prabhjap Singh Jutla, Prabhsharandeep Sandhu,  Jaspreet Kaur, Gorby Jandu,
Gurinder Singh Mann,Sabrina Pastorelli, Jasleen Kandhari, Manpreet Kaur)

Following on from last year’s successful ‘Representing Sikhism’ conference held to mark the centenary of Max Arthur Macauliffe’s death, the 2014 Macauliffe conference at University College Cork aimed to highlight the most recent and emerging trends and developments in Sikh & Punjabi Studies.

Contributions came from particular from early-career academics, postdocs and advanced PhD students, as well as established scholars whose work promised to break new ground in Sikh & Punjabi studies. The panel of scholars were from drawn from the UK as well as abroad. The Conference was organised by the Study of Religions Department and convened by Dr Brian Bocking, Professor of the Study of Religions.  The Panels were headed by Tadhg Foley, Yafa Shanneik and Lidia Guzy.    


Dr Brian Bocking, Professor of the Study of Religions

The various themes included: Translating Sikhism, Poetry and Performance and  European Sikhs.  
Session 1: The first paper was given by Jaspreet Kaur entitled Sikhism through the New Age prism: Yogi Bhajan’s spiritual discourse and its cultural context. Kaur gave an account of the how Yogi Bhajan's influence was indeed a phenomenon in terms of the growth within the Americas. This was followed by Gurinder Singh Mann, who demonstrated his trademark skills of research by presenting a array of rare manuscripts. His lecture: Translating the Sikh: An assessment ofthe works of Leyden, Trumpp and Macauliffe followed up the lectures on Macauliffe of the previous year.

Session 2                                                     
Manpreet Kaur's paper: Naqal Performance & Community gave an account of the Mirasi community; this was followed by a small video which demonstrated how live performance is played out. Prabhsharandeep Sandhu considered 'The Poet and History: Harinder Singh Mahboob’s Sikh Historiography' where he considered how the late poet viewed Sikh history.

Session 3
Gorby Jandu gave an interesting account of how Sikh youth are characterised by identity, citizenship and belonging.  His paper was 'London Sikh Youth as British Citizenry: A Frontier of the Community’s Global   Identity? This was followed by Sabrina Pastorelli's  'Sikhs’ Religious Dress Codes in Italy' who described how Sikhs have assimilated into Italian life as well as the influential role they have played within the cheese industry.

An open discussion was undertaken by Dr Bocking on what it would take to set up a Sikh Chair or lectureship within the University. A number of views were given in terms of costs and the resources that would be required.  There was also a presentation of several books to the University by Dr Jasbir Singh Puri from Dublin. This was appreciated by the organisers of the conference.


Dr Jasbir Singh Puri presenting books to the University.
Session 4
The final session began with Prabhjap Singh Jutla's, Desecrating the Sikh body: Lala Munshi Ram and the Rahtia Sikh conversions of 1900. Singh gave important insights into how the drama unfolded during this turbulent period. The final presentation was by Jasleen Kandhari entitled Portraying the Divine: The Iconography of Sikh Gurus in Miniature and  & Provincial Painting. Kandhari discussed various paintings old and new and described the important themes portrayed by the painter.

The conference ended with a panel discussion where attendees had another chance to pose questions to the presenters. This was also a time for the presenters to reflect on what they had learnt from their fellow speakers. Overall the conference was a great success and will give impetus for further conferences in Europe. The international speakers were appraised for their papers and the ongoing research they are undertaking. With the Sikh Research Conference taking place in June, in England this is an exciting time for Sikh Studies.

1 comments:

Daya Singh Sandhu said...

As Sikhs, we are the best in the world at making a rich history, but unfortunately, we are very poor writing and maintaining our own history. Whatever Trump or Macauliffe, or McLeod writes is his story (His+story). They always distort and minimize the significance of our Gurus' and martyrs' message, sacrifices, and accomplishments. It is sad and ironic that we look up to them to know about ourselves. Daya Singh Sandhu

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