Synopses & Reviews
Anne Murphy offers a groundbreaking exploration of the material aspects of Sikh identity, showing how material objects, as well as holy sites, and texts, embody and represent the Sikh community as an evolving historical and social construction.
Widening traditional scholarly emphasis on holy sites and texts alone to include consideration of iconic objects, such as garments and weaponry, Murphy moves further and examines the parallel relationships among sites, texts, and objects. She reveals that objects have played dramatically different roles across regimes-signifers of authority in one, mere possessions in another-and like Sikh texts, which have long been a resource for the construction of Sikh identity, material objects have served as a means of imagining and representing the past.
Murphy's deft and nuanced study of the complex role objects have played and continue to play in Sikh history and memory will be a valuable resource to students and scholars of Sikh history and culture.
"Through deft study of sites and objects revered within Sikh tradition, Anne Murphy explores the historical production of the representation of the past within Sikh tradition and how such representations were transformed from the eighteenth century to the early twentieth in Punjab. Murphy moves beyond the 'Sikh identity' debate toward a more substantive and historically-oriented accounting of the central sensibilities and commitments in the tradition. An excellent addition to the growing corpus of works in the colonial history of South Asia."--Arvind-Pal S. Mandair, Associate Professor and S.C.S.B Endowed Professor of Sikh Studies, University of Michigan
"What does it mean to be a Sikh? In this rich historical exploration of Sikh identity, Anne Murphy traces the shifting roles of Sikh texts, objects, and holy sites through three centuries. This book will be valuable not just to South Asianists, but to anyone interested in issues of material religion or historical memory."--Richard H. Davis, Professor of Religion, Bard College
About the Author
is Assistant Professor and Chair of Punjabi Language, Literature, and Sikh Studies at the University of British Columbia. She previously taught at The New School in New York City.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Introduction: The Forms of Sikh Memory
Chapter 2 Sikh Materialities
SECTION 1 The Past in the Sikh Imagination
Chapter 3 Representation of a Community: Literary Sources from the Eighteenth Century
Chapter 4 Into the Nineteenth Century: History and Sovereignty
SECTION 2 Possessing the Past
Chapter 5 A History of Possession
Chapter 6 Colonial Governance and Gurdwara Reform
Chapter 7 Territory and the Definition of Being Sikh
Chapter 8 Conclusion Community, Territory, and the Afterlife of the Object