Punjab Research Group

The Punjab and its Diaspora: Representations and Identities

Posted in New Publications, Research by Pippa on April 12, 2009

Attention to Punjab has tended to be bifurcated along the lines created by Partition, with scholars of India and Pakistan focusing on their own part of the region. However, this book breaks down such divisions to consider the area on both sides of the border.  In doing this, the contributing scholars (who include the poets Amarjit Chandan and Daljit Nagra, historian Grainne Goodwin, religious studies scholar Jasjit Singh, and literary critic Nukhbah T. Langah) draw upon the two Punjabs’ shared but differentiated legacies of British colonialism, traumatic experiences of partition, relative economic vitality, dominance in their regions, and centrality to (re)inventions and imaginings of the postcolonial Indian and Pakistani nation-states. Given many of the contributors’ location in Britain and elsewhere, non-resident Punjabis are another key area of concern.


In an effort to enhance understandings of Punjabi literature, history, and anthropology, the volume discusses representations of the Punjab and its diaspora in research from different disciplines. It examines the protean nature of Punjabi identities and the cultural, religious and linguistic diversity of the region/s. The collection represents a genuinely interdisciplinary attempt to theorize the Punjab and many of the major languages and dialects spoken there are represented (including Punjabi, Siraiki, and English).


Possible paper topics may include but are not limited to:

  • Partition and its legacies
  • Rural, urban, and suburban Punjab
  • The politics of language in the Punjab (interventions into Potohari and Hindko are particularly welcome)
  • Punjabi Islam and Sufism
  • Punjabi cultural identities and practices
  • Political flashpoints in the region
  • Artistic, filmic, literary, and musical representations
  • Political relations between the two Punjabs
  • The Punjabi diaspora

Please send an abstracts of not more than 200 words and a few sentences of biodata (via Word attachment) to Claire Chambers: c.chambers@leedsmet.ac.uk by the deadline of  21 April 2009.  The volume’s emphasis is on representations and identities, and your abstract needs to address one or both of these issues.

Migrations & Identities – A journal of people and ideas in motion

Posted in Academic Journals, Migration by Pippa on February 3, 2009

migrations & identities is a new journal published bi-annually by Liverpool University Press.  The title represents a programme: We aim to interrogate notions of ‘identity’ while asking how the fact of mobility and displacement does shape understandings of self and the wider world, among both migrants and ‘host’ societies.  By the same token, we seek to understand how ideas and concepts are transformed as they ‘migrate’ from one place and culture to another.  These issues have been, and continue to be, addressed under a number of rubrics and through a number of approaches in the humanities and social sciences.  In acknowledgement of this, migrations & identities is multi- and interdisciplinary in its conception and management.  It also aims to cover the widest possible range of places, periods and methods, subject only to a shared curiosity and enthusiasm about the possibilities of working at the interface between the investigation of the material conditions of migration processes and the study of ideas and subjectivities.  In particular, we hope that scholars working in many fields will find in migrations & identities a forum for discussion of the methods appropriate to a project of linking observable experience and mentalities in different times and places, and that among the topics of discussion will be the real challenges involved in conversing across disciplinary boundaries.

We invite manuscripts from scholars representing all disciplines and methodologies which can contribute to this discussion.  These might include case studies based on empirical research which are framed by and reflect on the methodological and theoretical issues set out above, essays which focus on questions of theory and methodology, or review articles. The journal will be published twice a year.


Volume 1 Issue 1 2008 now available

The Editors

Investigating Language and Identity in Cross-Language Narratives
Bogusia Temple

 Greek Identity and the Settler Community in Hellenistic Bactria and Arachosia
Rachel Mairs

 ‘Writing My History’: Seven Nineteenth-Century Scottish Migrants to New Zealand Revisit their Pasts
Rosalind McClean

 Immigrant Attachment and Community Integration: A Psychological Theory of Facilitating New Membership
Stanley A. Renshon


Volume 1 Issue 2 forthcoming…

Highlights to include:

 Emotional Attachment … to What? A Comment on Renshon

Harald Bauder

 Representations of Diasporic Unbelonging:  Surrealism in the Work of

Biyi Bandele-Thomas & Yinka Shonibare

Jen Westmoreland Bouchard

Methodological issues in studying the identity of long-established ABC

Lucille Ngan


Find out more about the journal at http://migrationsandidentities.lupjournals.org/

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PhD Fellowships at University of Copenhagen

Posted in News/Information, PhD Studentship by Pippa on January 13, 2009

The Faculty of Humanities´ Graduate School at the University of Copenhagen is inviting applications for 13 PhD fellowships starting September 1, 2009 for a period of up to three years.


PhD projects can be related to one of the following subject areas:


Scandinavian studies in literature, language or media, or ideally across the boundaries of these areas (Subject area 1: Nordic Philology, General and Applied Linguistics) 

IT and communication (Subject area 2: Education, Philosophy and Rhetoric, Film and Media Studies)


Themes within European culture and history in a global context (Subject area 3: History, Archaeology and Ethnology, Greek and Latin) 

Cultural memory and migration: The construction of nation, religion and history as rendered through exhibition, writing, canon, schoolbooks or other media (Subject area 4: Middle Eastern Studies, Asian Studies, Eskimology, History of Religion, native American Languages and Cultures, Eastern European Studies, Minority

Studies, Comparative Cultural Studies)


Globalization and transnational studies (Subject area 5: English, German and Romance Languages and Literature) 

Forms of cultural attention (Subject area 6: History, Theatre Research, Dance, Comparative Literature, Musicology)


Medieval and/or early-modern Scandinavian textual studies (Subject area 7: Old Norse, Dialect Research, name Research) 

Language technology, preferably within the strategic fields: language resources and tools (research infrastructure), cognitive science, knowledge systems and tools for multilinguality (Subject area 8: Language Technology)



Applications must be submitted on the appropriate form, which also stipulates the required enclosures to attach. Do not submit any written work. Application form and application guidelines are available at: http://www.humanities.ku.dk/research/phd/fellowships/



For any further questions contact the PhD Center, tel. +45 35 32 92 23, e-mail: phdcenter@hum.ku.dk, Room 10.1.22, Njalsgade 80, DK-2300 Copenhagen S, Denmark.

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East Punjabi Literature: At Cross Roads by Amrita Chaudhry

Posted in Articles, News/Information by Pippa on December 5, 2008

Punjabi is one language that is spoken in nearly 160 countries. It is the 11th most widely spoken language. Crores of  Punjabis residing in these nations, speak, read and write in Gurmukhi and a large section does the same in Shahmukhi. However a recent report said to be released by Unesco had every one alarmed. This report said that Punjabi language would disappear in the next 50 years.


Experts agree to the fact that survival and growth of language is much dependent on the literature that it produces. This one medium that keeps not only a language alive and kicking but also the people who speak this language. Sadly jury agrees to the fact that the Punjabi literature, music, cinema, art have all come to a point of stagnation. No doubt books written in Punjabi language are still be churned out in hundreds each year, yet Punjabi language till date has only one Jnanpeeth and is still awaiting a classic, despite all time greats and landmark books be it be novel, poetry, cinema, music or short story.


The reasons are many, transitional times, lack of awareness amongst the writers, no government support and others. We decided to check out each genre and the realities that mar it.

To read full article: http://www.apnaorg.com/research-papers/amrita-1/

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Review of film Rabba

Posted in Articles, Film, News/Information, Partition by Pippa on November 11, 2008

Here is a review of Rabba..in Frontline. Hope you enjoy it.

ON a balmy afternoon under the monsoon sky in Atalahn village in Punjab’s Ludhiana district, four elderly men sitting under a banyan tree are animatedly discussing Urdu. “A beautiful language, with nuances neither Hindi nor Punjabi can equal,” says one. “It’s our language, forged from Arabic and Punjabi,” says another.

The third one remembers how, when Partition was announced, “all of us in Class III, studying lesson number 14 in Urdu, threw our Qua’ida in the air and said, ‘Urdu ud gaya, Urdu ud gaya’ [Urdu has flown away].” The fourth friend ruminates: “We used to think Urdu belonged to Muslims; nobody knew it was a language.” Sixty years on, the partition of India continues to cast a shadow on the subcontinent, shaping individual destinies and cultural lives in unforeseen ways – constantly provoking new explorations to unravel its many dimensions. How does a society or a generation culturally come to terms with having lived through a moral vacuum at a time of genocidal violence?

The link is:

or PDF: partition-documentary

Language, the Nation, and Symbolic Capital: The Case of Punjab

Posted in Articles by Pippa on August 6, 2008

Alyssa Ayres is an international consultant based in Washington, D.C., and a contributing editor of India Review. Please see an abstract of her latest article appearing in the latest edition of JAS, http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayJournal?jid=JAS

Alyssa Ayres, ‘Language, the Nation, and Symbolic Capital: The Case of Punjab’ in the The Journal of Asian Studies (2008), 67:917-946 Cambridge University Press


A movement to “revive the spirit of Punjab and Punjabi” in South Asia has enabled a surprising thaw between the two Punjabs of Pakistan and India. That this revival movement has been catalyzed from within Pakistan rather than India raises intriguing questions about language, nationalism, and the cultural basis of the nation-state. Although the Punjabiyat movement bears the surface features of a classical nationalist formation-insistence upon recovering an unfairly oppressed history and literature, one unique on earth and uniquely imbued with the spirit of the local people and the local land-its structural features differ markedly. Pakistan’s Punjab has long functioned as an ethnic hegemon, the center against which other regions struggle in a search for power. Yet the Punjabiyat movement presents Punjab as an oppressed victim of Pakistan’s troubled search for national identity. This essay argues that a theory of symbolic capital best explains this otherwise peculiar inversion of perceived and actual power, and underscores culture’s critical role in the nation’s political imagination.

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