Sikhs in the 21st Century: Remembering the Past, Engaging the Future


Although Sikhs have become a global community, they remain a minority almost everywhere. They are visible, but they are not well understood. If anything, attempts to establish a greater presence in North American academia for the study of the Sikh community and its traditions have increased the gap between the community’s self understandings (fully recognizing the diversity of the community) and academic approaches that seek to fit Sikh experience into intellectual frameworks borrowed from other contexts. The goal of this project is to strengthen the field of Sikh and Punjabi  Studies, by creating an academically rigorous digital collection of materials that can be broadly shared and disseminated, both in academic spaces and beyond. This output can also provide a model of combining rigor and accessibility of scholarship to other areas within the Humanities, including South Asian Studies.

The goal of this project is to create a collection of innovative and engaging multimodal digital material on Sikh traditions, history and culture. These digital products will be a set of expository videos, with associated aural and visual background material, along with the textual material which normally delimits scholarly products. For example, recitation, singing and oral narratives are important means of cultural expression and engagement in any tradition, including that of the Sikhs. Incorporation of such material in scholarly exposition provides depth and immediacy beyond print journals or their digital counterparts.

Professor Nirvikar Singh is the project director. Professor Inderjit N. Kaur, University of Michigan is co-PI. Project advisors are Professor Christine Hong, UCSC and Dr Paul Michael Taylor, Smithsonian Institution.


Community Partners  

Jakara Movement (Naindeep Singh Chann)

Sikh American History Project (SAHP) (Tejpaul Singh Bainiwal)

Language Experts

Arshinder Pal Kaur, UCSC

News: New gift launches projects and experiential learning in Sikh studies March 2024


This project is supported by the 5Rivers Foundation, The Humanities Institute, and the UCSC Humanities Division.