Decolonizing Sikh Studies: A Feminist Manifesto

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Katy Pal Sian
Rita Kaur Dhamoon


In celebrating the epistemological reform and empowerment of non-white peoples in the academy, we propose a manifesto that seeks to dislodge the complacencies within Sikh Studies and within Sikh communities, and invite non-Sikhs to engage with radical Sikhi social justice. By dwelling at feminist intersections of postcolonial studies, decolonial studies, and decolonization studies, we are inspired to share the radical possibilities of Sikh Studies, and we also urge Sikh Studies and Sikh people to inhabit an explicit political orientation of insurrection and subversion. Importantly, such a feminist decolonial orientation may well hold promise for other fields of study on the margins as well. In particular, we foreground eight points of action: gendering Sikh Studies; de-policing intimate desire and the diversity of relationships; disrupting Eurocentric knowledge production; de-territorializing diasporas; challenging caste politics; disrupting Islamophobia; undoing our roles in contemporary colonialisms; and fostering care and responsibility for the nonhuman world. In this manifesto we hope to develop interdisciplinary connections, critical interventions, and broader alliances to cultivate debates and action that both challenge tradition and participate within broader political campaigns for social justice.

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How to Cite
Sian, K. P., & Dhamoon, R. K. (2020). Decolonizing Sikh Studies: A Feminist Manifesto. Journal of World Philosophies, 5(2), 43–60. Retrieved from
Author Biographies

Katy Pal Sian, University of York

Katy Pal Sian is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of York in the UK.

Rita Kaur Dhamoon, University of Victoria

Rita Kaur Dhamoon is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Victoria, Canada. The University sits on the traditional Indigenous territory of the WSÁNEĆ (Saanich), Lkwungen (Songhees), Wyomilth (Esquimalt) peoples of the Coast Salish Nation.