Studying the Sikhs

Doris R. Jakobsh

in Sikhism in Global Context

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780198075547
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199082056 | DOI:
Studying the Sikhs

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This chapter explores the ‘coming of age’ of Sikh studies by virtue of it being included as part of the study of world religions within Western academia. The author explores how to move Sikh studies into new directions in line with current approaches within the study of religions. He also explores how to teach Sikhism in the Western academy, especially when the religion is not a homogenous or tightly bound structure. The author outlines issues whose observance in daily life maybe different from the norms prescribed by Sikh orthodoxy. Thus, not all Sikhs believe in only ten Gurus, with the Granth Sahib being the eleventh; or reject the worship of relics and graves; or reject caste and untouchability. Also, while most Sikhs believe in the sanctity of the Granth Sahib, the author points to another discourse that is impinging on the belief pattern of the community: Sikh Discourse on the World Wide Web which is gaining importance as means of disseminating the religion. The author suggests that if the study of Sikhism within the larger study of religion is to ‘increase and prosper’, a concerted effort must also be made to take part in the intense questioning and self-reflection that is taking place within religious studies in general. An increased diversification of approaches within the formal study of Sikhism is greatly needed.

Keywords: Sikhism; Western academy; Sikh Studies; Sikh websites; world religions; Sikh discourse; Sikh self-reflection

Chapter.  8788 words. 

Subjects: Sikhism

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