American Turban

Sikh academics in California’s universities

"UC Santa Cruz instructor Nirvikar Singh, left, speaks to Hannah Elston, center, Kevin Deutsch, second from right, and Virginia Perez, right, during lunch at the Sikh Gurdwara in San Jose." (David Butow, For The Times / October 21, 2012)

“UC Santa Cruz instructor Nirvikar Singh, left, speaks to Hannah Elston, center, Kevin Deutsch, second from right, and Virginia Perez, right, during lunch at the Sikh Gurdwara in San Jose.” (David Butow, For The Times / October 21, 2012)

A recent article in the Los Angeles Times looks at the growth of academic Sikh studies programs, including the Sikh and Punjabi Studies Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz, in the broader context of efforts to raise awareness about the Sikh American community:

For Nirvikar Singh, leading Santa Cruz’s program has been an act of seva, or selfless service expected by the Sikh faith.

“I felt I really could not pass this up,” said Singh, a professor of economics at the university since 1982. With an expertise in Punjab’s political economy, Singh has also researched and lectured on Sikh art and literature and is crafting a program that is “not boxed in by any one discipline.”

Certainly, while such academic departments promote the study of various aspects of Sikh history, culture and faith, there is a unique role they can play in creating ambassadors for Sikh Americans.

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