Chapter

The Construction of Women in Sikh History and Religion—Attitudes and Assumptions

Doris R. Jakobsh

in Relocating Gender in Sikh History

Published in print January 2006 | ISBN: 9780195679199
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199081950 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195679199.003.0002
The Construction of Women in Sikh History and Religion—Attitudes and Assumptions

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This chapter considers the four principles guiding contemporary or near-contemporary writings on women—and the feminine in general—in the history of Sikhism. In particular, it discusses the principles of silence and negation, accommodation and idealization, with regard to secondary sources of Sikh history. Foremost to the study of women in Sikh history is the principle of stony silence, a mechanism used to deal with the discrepancies between Sikh ideology as egalitarian and women's exclusion from the process of making and recording history. Following from this, the principles of accommodation and idealization have characterized almost all subsequent writings about Sikh women. All these have made for conserving and stabilizing Sikh societal values and world views with a view to transplanting them from generation to generation. The author concludes by making a strong case for the examination of a more radical feminist epistemology in the study of the history of Sikhs and Sikhism.

Keywords: feminine; women; gender; Sikh historiography; Sikhism; Sikh ideology; Sikh societal values; silence; negation; Sikh history; accommodation; idealization

Chapter.  5583 words. 

Subjects: Sikhism

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