Punjab Research Group

Joint Seminar PRG & Punjabi University, Patiala – 19 Dec 2009

Posted in PRG Meetings by Pippa on November 10, 2009

It gives me great pleasure to announce that the Punjab Research Group in collaboration with Punjabi University, Patiala, will be organising a joint seminar on 19 December 2009. Prof. Harvinder Bhatti, Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology has very kindly offered to host the event and it is a great opportunity to bring together research on Punjab. For this reason we have kept the theme of the seminar open in order to encourage wide participation and it would be good to have a mixture of young researchers, as well as established scholars. If you are interested in attending or presenting a paper please contact us as soon as possible.

Pippa Virdee: pvirdee@dmu.ac.uk

Harvinder Bhatti: hsbhatti@gmail.com

Virinder Kalra: virinder.kalra@manchester.ac.uk

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Portrait of Udham Singh Shaheed By Kanwal Dhaliwal

Posted in Art by Pippa on November 10, 2009
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Exploring Ravidas By Daljit Ami

Posted in Articles by Pippa on November 10, 2009

© Tasveer Ghar: A Digital Archive of South Asian Popular Visual Culture

Ravidas was a prominent figure in the bhakti movement and a renowned poet of the nirgun bhakti tradition that valued the worship of a formless God (Fig. 01). He lived near Banaras (also known as Varanasi or Kashi), already a major centre of spiritual learning in the 14th and 15th centuries. Belonging as he did to one of the lowest castes of Hindu society, the Chamar or tanner, the spiritual status he attained was profoundly troubling for orthodox Hindus of his time. His ancestral profession was the making and mending of shoes. Members of the Chamar caste were considered physically and ritually impure on account of their occupational contact with carcasses, and were deemed to be ‘untouchables’ in medieval Hindu society which operated according to normative values determined according to one’s place in the caste hierarchy. The reading of Sanskrit scriptures was prohibited to lower castes, and direct access to the deities of the upper castes was restricted. In such an environment, Ravidas chose to defy the priestly caste, and to worship a formless God who could be envisioned without the mediation of human intermediaries.

Read further: http://tasveergharindia.net/cmsdesk/essay/82/index.html

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Expanding Horizons: Sikh Studies at the Turn of the 21st Century

Posted in Conferences by Pippa on November 10, 2009
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Posted in Conferences by Pippa on November 10, 2009


Friday 21 May 2010, British Library, London


 The Histories of Home Subject Specialist Network (SSN) invites papers for its second annual conference, to be held in London at the British Library on Friday 21 May 2010. The conference will examine migrants’ homes across the globe from early civilisations to the present. We are particularly interested in the material aspects of setting up home in another country, such as room layouts, furnishings and other possessions and how these are adapted, integrated or negotiated between host nation and place of origin. We are also keen to explore the meanings associated with the material culture of transnational homes. What is home? Where is home? Where and when do we “feel at home”? What is the relationship between home(s) and identity formation? We encourage an interdisciplinary perspective and invite proposals for 25-minute papers which consider the complex and changing meanings and experiences of “home” and home-making practices across multiple localities.

 Themes for papers might include:

 – home, homeland and displacement

– transplanted or adapted home interiors

– colonial and postcolonial homes

– transnational family and friendship networks

– eating practices, culinary journeys, fusion food

– the meaning of “home” for different generations living in diaspora

– temporary, permanent and unintentionally permanent settlement

– transnational migrants living and working across several countries and the role of web-based technologies in maintaining family relationships

– migrants and domestic work

– collective memories of “home”

– imaginary and invented homes: writing diaspora and cinematic representations

– documenting, collecting and exhibiting the transnational home


Deadline for submission of proposals: 8 January 2010

Notification of acceptance: 1 February 2010

Submission of titles for papers: 12 April 2010


Proposals, including title, abstract (of 200-300 words) and a brief biographical statement (c.100 words) are to be submitted by 8 January 2010 to: Krisztina Lackoi, SSN Co-ordinator, klackoi@geffrye-museum.org.uk

Food Security and Sustainability in India

Posted in Conferences, News/Information by Pippa on November 10, 2009
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Wichaar – old Punjabi films

Posted in Film by Pippa on November 10, 2009

The Prisoner’s Song by Michael Singh

Posted in Film by Pippa on November 8, 2009

prisoners song“Best Film” at the Spinning Wheel Film Festival, Toronto 2009

The Prisoner’s Song, a 20-min documentary directed by Los Angeles filmmaker Michael Singh, was selected Best Film at seventh Spinning Wheel Film Festival that concluded in Toronto on September 27. The Film Festival & Art Expo screened 27 films out of a total of 145 that were considered for inclusion in this year’s festival over the course of three days. Notably, Michael Singh received his first break at the inaugural Spinning Wheel in Toronto in 2003.

The Prisoner’s Song

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Doctoral scholarships

Posted in PhD Studentship by Pippa on November 7, 2009

The Death of Sacred Texts: Ritual Disposal and Renovation of Texts in World Religions

Posted in New Publications by Pippa on November 7, 2009

Edited by Kristina Myrvold, Lund University, Sweden 

•  The Death of Sacred Texts draws attention to a much neglected topic in the study of sacred texts: the religious and ritual attitudes towards texts which have become old and damaged and can no longer be used for reading practices and in religious worship. This book approaches religious texts and scriptures by focusing on their physical properties and the dynamic interactions of devices and habits that lie beneath and within a given text. In the last decades a growing body of research studies has directed attention to the multiple uses and ways people encounter written texts and how they make them alive, even as social actors, in different times and cultures.

Considering that religious people seem to have all the motives for giving their sacred texts a respectful symbolic treatment, scholars have paid surprisingly little attention to the ritual procedures of disposing and renovating old texts. This book fills this gap, providing empirical data and theoretical analyses of historical and contemporary religious attitudes towards, and practices of text disposals within seven world religions: Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. Exploring the cultural and historical variations of rituals for religious scriptures and texts (such as burials, cremations and immersion into rivers) and the underlying beliefs within the religious traditions, this book investigates how these religious practices and stances respond to modernization and globalization processes when new technologies have made it possible to mass-produce and publish religious texts on the Internet.

•  Contents: Introduction, Kristina Myrvold; Accounts of a dying scroll: on Jewish handling of sacred texts in need of restoration or disposal, Marianne Schleicher; Relating, revering and removing: Muslim views on the use, power and disposal of divine words, Jonas Svensson; A fitting ceremony: Christian concerns for Bible disposal, Dorina Miller Parmenter; The death of the Dharma: Buddhist sutra burials in early medieval Japan, D. Max Moerman; Rites of burial and immersion: Hindu rituals on disposing of sacred texts in Vrindavan, Måns Broo; Is a manuscript an object or a living being? Jain views on the life and use of sacred texts, Nalini Balbir; Making the scripture a person: re-inventing death rituals of Guru Granth Sahib in Sikhism, Kristina Myrvold; Disposing of non-disposable texts: conclusions and prospects for further study, James W. Watts; Index

Pre-order your copy: https://www.ashgate.com/default.aspx?page=637&calctitle=1&pageSubject=544&sort=pubdate&forthcoming=1&title_id=10521&edition_id=12399

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Associate Professor or Professor – Macquarie University (Sydney, Australia)

Posted in Vacancies by Pippa on November 7, 2009

Position available: Associate Professor or Professor

The Centre for Research on Social Inclusion at Macquarie University (Sydney, Australia) specialises in the following areas:

– Migration and Multiculturalism

– Community Capacity Building

– Religion and Social Inclusion

– The Future of Work and Social Hope

– Welfare, Care and Social Policy

– Social and Environmental Justice

– Inclusion and Exclusion in Urban and Regional Spaces

We seek a senior academic at Level D or E, who will contribute a powerful research focus pulling together the theory and practice of inclusion, encompassing at least two of the above areas.

Attractive start-up and relocation conditions are designed to bring someone with a strong current research program and ability to attract high-quality PhD candidates.

Enquiries: Dr Marion Maddox on (02) 9850 4431 or email marion.maddox@scmp.mq.edu.au

Applications Close: 15 November 2009  

More information on the Centre for Research on Social Inclusion via our website: http://www.crsi.mq.edu.au/

For more information on the position, go to: http://tinyurl.com/yzlm28w

Pilgrimage of a writer by Jasmine Singh

Posted in Book reviews by Pippa on November 7, 2009

pilgrimage paradiseEvery journey has a purpose, which gives a perspective to life. Also, the journey that we embark never ends, even after we are gone from the face of earth. The soul remains, and takes on a yet another journey. Writer Kamla Kapur (born Kamaljit Kaur Kapur) is also on a pilgrimage to discover the deeper meaning of life. She tries to get there with Pilgrimage To Paradise, Sufi Tales from Rumi, released at a function organised by Chandigarh Sahitya Akademi on Saturday.

On a spiritual journey of submission, surrendering herself, falling in love with ‘Rumi’ was natural for Kamla. “I heard Rumi’s name while I was growing up,” says the winner of two national awards in 1977. “The moment came, when I moved into my husband, Payson Steven’s house shortly before our marriage. There, I saw three volumes of the Mathnawi in his library.

Read further: http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090927/ttlife1.htm


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