Scholars arrive at UCR to attend Sikh Studies Conference

The UCR Department of Religious Studies and Jasbir Singh Saini, endowed chair of Sikh and Punjabi studies at UCR, will host a three-day conference from May 8 to 10. The conference will include 30 academic scholars from various countries in Europe and North America that consist of significant Sikh populations.

“Living and Making Sikhi in the Diaspora: The Millennial Generation Comes of Age,” the theme of the conference, focuses on how Sikh millennials redefine Sikhism in the diaspora (the movement of the Sikh population from India). “It is basically the children who were born around 1980 and grew up by 2000,” explained Dr. Pashaura Singh, a UC Riverside professor of religious studies.

“All scholars are bringing different perspectives, particularly from Italy, from Norway, from England, from Canada, and from the USA then we will see the emerging patterns of second-generation Sikhs,” continued Singh. There are 30 million Sikh people in the world, with about two million living outside of India and a little less than half a million residing in California.

Millennial Sikhs have also experienced global economic recession, digital revolution and “global terror” resulting from 9/11. Singh argues that these experiences differentiate Sikh millennials, as their culture is now deeply rooted in the diverse societies they live in as opposed to the Punjab region which is closely tied to the generations before them.

“Their worldviews and life experiences thus reflect the societies in which they have been born and raised, and their experience of Punjab is often limited or second-hand,” Singh Stated in a press release.

The keynote address will be presented by Gurmohan Singh Walia, vice chancellor of Sri Guru Granth Sahib World University. Throughout the conference, scholars will be presenting their findings and observations of Sikh millennials around the globe.

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