Skip Navigation
York U: Redefine the PossibleHOME | Current Students | Faculty & Staff | Research | International
Search »FacultiesLibrariesGlendon CampusYork U LionsCampus MapsYork U OrganizationDirectorySite Index
Future Students, Alumni & Visitors

Edit My Profile | Print Full Profile

Michael Nijhawan

Department of Sociology

Associate Professor
 
Office: 2146 Vari Hall
Phone: (416) 736-2100 Ext: 77994
Emailnijhawan@yorku.ca
 
  • Overview
  • Projects
  • Publications
  • Teaching
  • Full Profile


My work is situated at the intersection of anthropology and sociology, venturing into the field of the critical study of religion. I am currently working on a project titled "Heretic Subjects: Violence, Citizenship, and Youth in Sikh and Ahmadiyya Diasporas". Grounded primarily in multi-sited ethnography and in-depth narrative interviews, as well as analyses of popular media (visual art and music), this book theorizes the specific temporalities and subjectivities triggered by dramatic events of violence and looks at the dispersed and long-term effects of social, legal and political violence on diasporic communities. My forthcoming book’s primary contribution lies in conceptualizing the entangled histories, shifting temporalities, and interpretive modalities that mark diaspora formations. I have examined the impact of violence on social relations and cultural formations in my prior work too. A recent outcome of collaborative work around these issues is the forthcoming edited volume on Suffering, Arts, and Aesthetics that I co-edit with my colleague Ratiba Hadj-Moussa. Other than that I have been actively involved in the emerging field of Sikh Studies.

More...


Research Interests

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

Selected Publications

Hadj-Moussa, Ratiba & Michael Nijhawan. 2014. Suffering, Art, and Aesthetics. New York: Palgrave MacMillan (forthcoming).

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

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

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.

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  more...

View Resarcher's Selected Publications

All Publications

Books

Hadj-Moussa, Ratiba & Michael Nijhawan. 2014. Suffering, Art, and Aesthetics. New York: Palgrave MacMillan (forthcoming).

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

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

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 recently been awarded the 2011-12 John O'Neill Award 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 2014 AP/SOCI3650 3.0  Sociology of Religion LECT Course Website 
Fall/Winter 2014-2015 AP/SOCI4230 6.0  Sociology of Cultures and Ethnic Identities SEMR Course Website 


My work is situated at the intersection of anthropology and sociology, venturing into the field of the critical study of religion. I am currently working on a project titled "Heretic Subjects: Violence, Citizenship, and Youth in Sikh and Ahmadiyya Diasporas". Grounded primarily in multi-sited ethnography and in-depth narrative interviews, as well as analyses of popular media (visual art and music), this book theorizes the specific temporalities and subjectivities triggered by dramatic events of violence and looks at the dispersed and long-term effects of social, legal and political violence on diasporic communities. My forthcoming book’s primary contribution lies in conceptualizing the entangled histories, shifting temporalities, and interpretive modalities that mark diaspora formations. I have examined the impact of violence on social relations and cultural formations in my prior work too. A recent outcome of collaborative work around these issues is the forthcoming edited volume on Suffering, Arts, and Aesthetics that I co-edit with my colleague Ratiba Hadj-Moussa. Other than that I have been actively involved in the emerging field of Sikh Studies.


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

Selected Publications

Hadj-Moussa, Ratiba & Michael Nijhawan. 2014. Suffering, Art, and Aesthetics. New York: Palgrave MacMillan (forthcoming).

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

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

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.

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

Hadj-Moussa, Ratiba & Michael Nijhawan. 2014. Suffering, Art, and Aesthetics. New York: Palgrave MacMillan (forthcoming).

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

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

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 recently been awarded the 2011-12 John O'Neill Award 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 2014 AP/SOCI3650 3.0  Sociology of Religion LECT Course Website 
Fall/Winter 2014-2015 AP/SOCI4230 6.0  Sociology of Cultures and Ethnic Identities SEMR Course Website