Michael Nijhawan

Department of Sociology

Associate Professor

Office: Vari Hall, 2146
Phone: (416) 736-2100 Ext: 77994
Emailnijhawan@yorku.ca

Michael Nijhawan’s (Sociology) current research focuses on the long-term effects of social, legal and political violence on Sikh and Ahmadi diaspora communities in Toronto and Frankfurt. He is exploring how these communities negotiate experiences of both marginalization and resilience in the context of everyday lived religion. In his research, he uses the concept of ‘precarious diasporas’ as a conduit to explore the fragility, mutability and complexity of diaspora communities. The full article, titled "Mapping Precarity and Politicisation in Punjabi Diasporas," is available at: Click Here

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Area of Specialization

Cultural Sociology, Social Anthropology, South Asian Studies

Degrees


Research Interests

Anthropology , Sociology , Diaspora Formations & Transnational Migration, South Asian Religions, Violence, Suffering, and Culture

Selected Publications

The Precarious Diasporas of Sikh and Ahmadiyya Generations. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Click Here

Hadj-Moussa, Ratiba & Michael Nijhawan. 2014. Suffering, Art, and Aesthetics. New York: Palgrave MacMillan. Click Here

Shared Idioms, Sacred Symbols, and the Articulation of Identities in South Asia. Co-edited with K. Pemberton. London & New York: Routledge, 2009. Click Here

Dhadi Darbar. Religion, Violence, and the Performance of Sikh History. Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2006. Click Here

Precarious Presences, Hallucinatory Times: Configurations of Religions Otherness in German Leitkulturalist Discourse. In: Markus Dressler & Arvind Mandair (eds.), Secularism and Religion-Making. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011, pp. 243-68.

Michael Nijhawan. 2014. 1984 and the Diasporic Politics of Aesthetics. Reconfigurations and New Constellations Among Toronto's Sikh Youth. Diaspora: A Journal of Transnational Studies 17(2): 196-219.

Current Research Projects

Predicaments of a "Post-Conflict Generation": A Comparative Study of Sikh and Ahmadiyya Diaspora Formations

Description: 
This research project aims at methodological and theoretical innovation in the scholarship on transnational religious practices and diaspora formation. The project examines how, over the last three decades, experiences and memories of violence have affected contemporary social relations and religious practices of Sikh and Ahmadi youth in Germany and Canada. This project places a strong emphasis on the current situation and self understanding of a younger generation of Canadian-born and German-born Sikhs and Ahmadis, who are an active part of cultural reorientations and social change. As a "post-conflict" generation (those born after the violent upheavals of the 1980s), this generation is intimately tied to representations and family narratives of violence and trauma and yet in many ways active in overcoming the legacy of these events. On the basis of a qualitative research design with several clusters of individuals from both communities in two diasporic locations (the Frankfurt/Main region and the Greater Toronto Area), this research will allow us to better understand the role of this younger generation against the background of both nationally specific contexts of socialization and the transnational practices and forms of affiliation which bridge this divide.

Project Type: Funded
Role: Principal Supervisor


Start Date:  Month: Apr  Year: 2010
End Date:  Month: Mar  Year: 2013

Selected Publications

The Precarious Diasporas of Sikh and Ahmadiyya Generations. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Click Here

Hadj-Moussa, Ratiba & Michael Nijhawan. 2014. Suffering, Art, and Aesthetics. New York: Palgrave MacMillan. Click Here

Shared Idioms, Sacred Symbols, and the Articulation of Identities in South Asia. Co-edited with K. Pemberton. London & New York: Routledge, 2009. Click Here

Dhadi Darbar. Religion, Violence, and the Performance of Sikh History. Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2006. Click Here

Precarious Presences, Hallucinatory Times: Configurations of Religions Otherness in German Leitkulturalist Discourse. In: Markus Dressler & Arvind Mandair (eds.), Secularism and Religion-Making. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011, pp. 243-68.

Michael Nijhawan. 2014. 1984 and the Diasporic Politics of Aesthetics. Reconfigurations and New Constellations Among Toronto's Sikh Youth. Diaspora: A Journal of Transnational Studies 17(2): 196-219.

All Publications

Books

The Precarious Diasporas of Sikh and Ahmadiyya Generations. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Click Here

Hadj-Moussa, Ratiba & Michael Nijhawan. 2014. Suffering, Art, and Aesthetics. New York: Palgrave MacMillan. Click Here

Shared Idioms, Sacred Symbols, and the Articulation of Identities in South Asia. Co-edited with K. Pemberton. London & New York: Routledge, 2009. Click Here

Dhadi Darbar. Religion, Violence, and the Performance of Sikh History. Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2006. Click Here

Book Chapters

Kamal Arora & Michael Nijhawan. 2014. Sikh Youth Diasporicity and the Complexity of Gendered Religious Bodies. In G. Bonifacio (ed.), Feminism, Migration, and Transnational Practices in Canada. Toronto: Canadian Scholars Press (forthcoming).

Precarious Presences, Hallucinatory Times: Configurations of Religions Otherness in German Leitkulturalist Discourse. In: Markus Dressler & Arvind Mandair (eds.), Secularism and Religion-Making. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011, pp. 243-68.

Memory, Genre, Voice: The Partition Motif in a Punjabi Performative Genre. In Smita Jassal & Eyal Ben-Ari (eds.), The Partition Motif in Contemporary Conflicts: Israel-Palestine, India-Pakistan, Germany East-West. London: Sage Publications, 2007.

Journal Articles

Michael Nijhawan. 2014. 1984 and the Diasporic Politics of Aesthetics. Reconfigurations and New Constellations Among Toronto's Sikh Youth. Diaspora: A Journal of Transnational Studies 17(2): 196-219.

Michael Nijhawan & Kamal Arora. 2013. 'Lullabies for Broken Children': Diasporic Citizenship and the Dissenting Voices of Young Sikhs in Canada. Sikh Formations 9(3): 299-321.

Duygu Gul, Kamal Arora & Michael Nijhawan. 2013. Violence, Memory, and the Dynamics of Transnational Youth Formations. Sikh Formations 9(3): 269-77.

Sikhism, Traumatic Repetition, and the Question of Aesthetic Sovereignty Method and Theory in the Study of Religion 23(2) (2011): 128-142

“Today, We are all Ahmadi.” Configurations of Heretic Otherness between Lahore and Berlin. British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies 37(3): 429-447

Editorial: Religion, Politics and the Inner Space of Translation. Sikh Formations 3(1) (2007): 1-11

Cultural, Linguistic and Political Translations: Dhadi Urban Music. Co-authored with V. Kalra. Sikh Formations 3(1) (2007): 67-80

Deportability, Medicine, and the Law. Anthropology and Medicine 12(3) (2005): 271-86.

Creative Works

Musafer. - Sikhi is Travelling. Documentary Film, co-dir. K. Singh.

Approach To Teaching

In my understanding, teaching begins with the creation of an active learning environment in the classroom that is conducive to the development of academic skills and that fosters processes of learning through social interaction. Teaching has never unfolded in a social and political vacuum, particularly not in sociology. I am committed to a critical school of social theory in which learning in the classroom is oriented towards societal change and the intellectual and ethical flourishing of the person. Whatever course material I teach – be it on the undergraduate or graduate level – has components that speak directly to global societal issues that are salient to our times. As a sociologist and anthropologist, I am specifically sensitive to the diversity of thought and knowledge and so try to actively push students to step outside of their taken-for-granted frames of seeing the world.

I have been awarded the 2011-12 and 2013-14 John O'Neill Awards for Excellence in Teaching (SUSA).Thanks to all of you for nominating me and honoring my work with this award!

Current Courses

TermCourse NumberSectionTitleType 
Fall 2016 AP/SOCI3650 3.0  Sociology of Religion LECT  
Fall/Winter 2016-2017 AP/SOCI3650 6.0  Sociology of Religion LECT  
Fall/Winter 2016-2017 AP/SOCI4230 6.0  Sociology of Cultures and Ethnic Identities SEMR  


Michael Nijhawan’s (Sociology) current research focuses on the long-term effects of social, legal and political violence on Sikh and Ahmadi diaspora communities in Toronto and Frankfurt. He is exploring how these communities negotiate experiences of both marginalization and resilience in the context of everyday lived religion. In his research, he uses the concept of ‘precarious diasporas’ as a conduit to explore the fragility, mutability and complexity of diaspora communities. The full article, titled "Mapping Precarity and Politicisation in Punjabi Diasporas," is available at: Click Here

Area of Specialization

Cultural Sociology, Social Anthropology, South Asian Studies

Degrees



Research Interests:

Anthropology , Sociology , Diaspora Formations & Transnational Migration, South Asian Religions, Violence, Suffering, and Culture

Current Research Projects

Predicaments of a "Post-Conflict Generation": A Comparative Study of Sikh and Ahmadiyya Diaspora Formations

Description: 
This research project aims at methodological and theoretical innovation in the scholarship on transnational religious practices and diaspora formation. The project examines how, over the last three decades, experiences and memories of violence have affected contemporary social relations and religious practices of Sikh and Ahmadi youth in Germany and Canada. This project places a strong emphasis on the current situation and self understanding of a younger generation of Canadian-born and German-born Sikhs and Ahmadis, who are an active part of cultural reorientations and social change. As a "post-conflict" generation (those born after the violent upheavals of the 1980s), this generation is intimately tied to representations and family narratives of violence and trauma and yet in many ways active in overcoming the legacy of these events. On the basis of a qualitative research design with several clusters of individuals from both communities in two diasporic locations (the Frankfurt/Main region and the Greater Toronto Area), this research will allow us to better understand the role of this younger generation against the background of both nationally specific contexts of socialization and the transnational practices and forms of affiliation which bridge this divide.

Project Type: Funded
Role: Principal Supervisor


Start Date:  Month: Apr  Year: 2010
End Date:  Month: Mar  Year: 2013

All Publications

Books

The Precarious Diasporas of Sikh and Ahmadiyya Generations. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Click Here

Hadj-Moussa, Ratiba & Michael Nijhawan. 2014. Suffering, Art, and Aesthetics. New York: Palgrave MacMillan. Click Here

Shared Idioms, Sacred Symbols, and the Articulation of Identities in South Asia. Co-edited with K. Pemberton. London & New York: Routledge, 2009. Click Here

Dhadi Darbar. Religion, Violence, and the Performance of Sikh History. Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2006. Click Here

Book Chapters

Kamal Arora & Michael Nijhawan. 2014. Sikh Youth Diasporicity and the Complexity of Gendered Religious Bodies. In G. Bonifacio (ed.), Feminism, Migration, and Transnational Practices in Canada. Toronto: Canadian Scholars Press (forthcoming).

Precarious Presences, Hallucinatory Times: Configurations of Religions Otherness in German Leitkulturalist Discourse. In: Markus Dressler & Arvind Mandair (eds.), Secularism and Religion-Making. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011, pp. 243-68.

Memory, Genre, Voice: The Partition Motif in a Punjabi Performative Genre. In Smita Jassal & Eyal Ben-Ari (eds.), The Partition Motif in Contemporary Conflicts: Israel-Palestine, India-Pakistan, Germany East-West. London: Sage Publications, 2007.

Journal Articles

Michael Nijhawan. 2014. 1984 and the Diasporic Politics of Aesthetics. Reconfigurations and New Constellations Among Toronto's Sikh Youth. Diaspora: A Journal of Transnational Studies 17(2): 196-219.

Michael Nijhawan & Kamal Arora. 2013. 'Lullabies for Broken Children': Diasporic Citizenship and the Dissenting Voices of Young Sikhs in Canada. Sikh Formations 9(3): 299-321.

Duygu Gul, Kamal Arora & Michael Nijhawan. 2013. Violence, Memory, and the Dynamics of Transnational Youth Formations. Sikh Formations 9(3): 269-77.

Sikhism, Traumatic Repetition, and the Question of Aesthetic Sovereignty Method and Theory in the Study of Religion 23(2) (2011): 128-142

“Today, We are all Ahmadi.” Configurations of Heretic Otherness between Lahore and Berlin. British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies 37(3): 429-447

Editorial: Religion, Politics and the Inner Space of Translation. Sikh Formations 3(1) (2007): 1-11

Cultural, Linguistic and Political Translations: Dhadi Urban Music. Co-authored with V. Kalra. Sikh Formations 3(1) (2007): 67-80

Deportability, Medicine, and the Law. Anthropology and Medicine 12(3) (2005): 271-86.

Creative Works

Musafer. - Sikhi is Travelling. Documentary Film, co-dir. K. Singh.


Teaching:

Approach To Teaching

In my understanding, teaching begins with the creation of an active learning environment in the classroom that is conducive to the development of academic skills and that fosters processes of learning through social interaction. Teaching has never unfolded in a social and political vacuum, particularly not in sociology. I am committed to a critical school of social theory in which learning in the classroom is oriented towards societal change and the intellectual and ethical flourishing of the person. Whatever course material I teach – be it on the undergraduate or graduate level – has components that speak directly to global societal issues that are salient to our times. As a sociologist and anthropologist, I am specifically sensitive to the diversity of thought and knowledge and so try to actively push students to step outside of their taken-for-granted frames of seeing the world.

I have been awarded the 2011-12 and 2013-14 John O'Neill Awards for Excellence in Teaching (SUSA).Thanks to all of you for nominating me and honoring my work with this award!

Current Courses

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TermCourse NumberSectionTitleType 
Fall 2016 AP/SOCI3650 3.0  Sociology of Religion LECT  
Fall/Winter 2016-2017 AP/SOCI3650 6.0  Sociology of Religion LECT  
Fall/Winter 2016-2017 AP/SOCI4230 6.0  Sociology of Cultures and Ethnic Identities SEMR