Faculty Seminar Series

Women and the Sikh Diaspora

The Alternative Transoceanic Imaginary in Women's Performance of Anti-Colonial Gadar Songs

Faculty Seminar Nicole Rangathan Portrait (1)

This talk will chart the alternative transoceanic history in the South Asian diaspora among Sikh women through their speech and songs across the twentieth century. It reimagines the history of the South Asian diaspora through an examination of gender and the dynamic interplay of water and land in the cultural history of Sikhs, a faith and cultural community that emerged in the Punjab region of north South Asia over 550 years ago.

It shows how the history and music of transoceanic communities, in this case Sikhs, spilled beyond the boundaries of regions, empires and nation-states. The talk emphasizes the heterogeneity of the South Asia diaspora by uncovering the distinct history of women’s migration experiences, as well as an alternative oceanic imaginary among Sikhs that envisions unity in the cosmos. Particular attention will be paid to women’s performances and interpretations of gadar anti-colonial songs.

Location: Classroom 0A13, Ground Floor Georgetown University in Qatar