The Body in Peril: Historicizing Oak Creek, Minor Politics, and the U.S. Sikh Diaspora
Balbir K. Singh, PhD candidate, English, University of Washington
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Curtin Hall, Room 175, UWM Campus
In this lecture, Singh approaches the study of Sikhs in the U.S. through archival and cultural material by examining two distinct historical moments: 1) the 1907 Bellingham riots against South Asian migrant workers by members of the Asiatic Exclusion League; and 2) the 2012 attack on the Oak Creek, WI gurdwara by white supremacist Wade Michael Page. She argues that these particular moments are exemplary of the tense relationship of Sikhs to not just exclusion and violence, but to minoritarian political formation in the face of racial regimes under American empire. To that end, Singh puts these two moments in historical perspective as to theorize minor bodies and politics, as well as to rethink the work of the Sikh diasporic body at this critical juncture.
Balbir K. Singh is a PhD candidate in English at the University of Washington and a Visiting Fellow in American Studies at Harvard University. She is currently at work on her dissertation “Militant Bodies: Policing Race, Religion and Violence in the U.S. Sikh Diaspora,” which theorizes a relationship between race, violence, and minoritarian politics through a genealogy of the U.S. Sikh diaspora. With a background in postcolonial theory and critical ethnic studies, Singh’s research interests center on issues of race and violence, South Asian diasporic politics, minority critique and philosophy, and the theoretical convergences of race/religion/empire.
She has recently published essays in Sikh Formations (2013) and Amerasia Journal (2014).