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Sacred Sound and the Affective Registers of World-Making: Sikhs in the Indian Ocean World

Sikh Musical Traditions and Performance: Public Lecture by Inderjit Kaur

May 16, 2017
from 05:30 PM to 08:00 PM

Walter Buehler Alumni Center

Lecture Abstract: In this talk, I will discuss what a consideration of sound, and sacred sound in particular, contributes to the idea of an Indian Ocean World, and more broadly, to an understanding of the multi-faceted processes of world-making. My focus will be on the sacred sound of Sikhs, Gurbāni (Guru's Word), the musical renderings of which (Kīrtan and Pātth) form an integral part of Sikh worship and everyday life. Wherever Sikhs have migrated, within India and across oceans, they have taken Gurbāni Kīrtan and Pātth with them, performed by amateurs and professionals, at homes and places of worship. Drawing on ethnography and life stories of Sikhs in Kenya, I will explore how the sound of Gurbāni invigorates conditions of possibility and flourishing – of belongings that are multiple, of identities that are complex, and emplacements that are simultaneously local, regional and global. Investigating the material and the imaginary, I will draw attention to the affective registers that animate the compositional processes of our world-makings.