Sikh scholars have a long and proud history from Bhai Gurdas to Giani Ditt Singh and Sardar Kapoor Singh with too many to name in between. Although in more recent times some academics have been seen as controversial
in the community, a confident community celebrates academic conferences
that provide a valuable forum for those interested to exchange
thoughts, discussions, and ideas.
This past weekend, one such conference occurred in Berkeley, titled “After 1984”
and was an example of the critical importance of scholarly exchange,
bringing together such luminaries as Gurharpal Singh, Pal Singh
Ahluwalia, Arvindpal Singh Mandair, and many others.
Despite the intellectual brilliance, the meeting point between
activism and the academy has always been somewhat uneasy. This weekend
allowed such an exchange to occur, but was hardly the focus of the
conference. The Jakara Movement is aiming to bridge this gap early next year with its first annual Sikholars: Sikh Graduate Student Conference.
To be held at Stanford University on February 20th, 2010,
the organizers are soliciting the community’s help in broadcasting the
news of this first conference and calling for proposals. The deadline
for abstract submission is NOVEMBER 15, 2009.
The conference seeks to:
bring Sikhs and non-Sikhs working on Sikh-related issues
to an annual conference that unites a breadth of graduate expertise.
From academia, to health, law, and business entrepreneurship, the
conference will bring together a wide array of disciplines and
scholarly interests to create an institutionalized channel to present
papers on research, and informal circuits or networks for continued
The purpose of the conference has been explained as:
Informal professional associations have already been
founded within the Sikh community, but are mainly confined to
networking. Academic conferences, related to Sikh Studies already
occur, but the ideas put forth are generally confined to a narrow
audience that engage in these issues, but are not necessarily linked or
concerned with the Sikh community’s general welfare. The Sikholars: Sikh Graduate Student Conference
does not aim to replicate these efforts, but rather to create a truly
innovative and imaginative conference. By bringing together promising
students in a truly multi-disciplinary fashion, we seek to incubate
promising research by engaging various activists and scholars in the
By bringing together activists and scholars; by bringing together theoreticians and practitioners; the Sikholars
conference will be a unique experience. From health to medicine to law
to human rights to anthropology to sociology to history to philosophy
to business entrepreneurship to everything Sikh-related and in-between,all topics are welcome! Begin submitting your proposals today, forward this link to a friend in professional or graduate school, and plan on not missing this unique experience.