The Materiality of the Past

The Materiality of the Past : History and Representation in Sikh Tradition

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Anne Murphy offers a groundbreaking exploration of the material aspects of Sikh identity, showing how material objects, as well as holy sites, and texts, embody and represent the Sikh community as an evolving historical and social construction.

Widening traditional scholarly emphasis on holy sites and texts alone to include consideration of iconic objects, such as garments and weaponry, Murphy moves further and examines the parallel relationships among sites, texts, and objects. She reveals that objects have played dramatically different roles across regimes-signifers of authority in one, mere possessions in another-and like Sikh texts, which have long been a resource for the construction of Sikh identity, material objects have served
as a means of imagining and representing the past.

Murphy's deft and nuanced study of the complex role objects have played and continue to play in Sikh history and memory will be a valuable resource to students and scholars of Sikh history and culture.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 336 pages
  • 156 x 234 x 23mm | 494g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • black & white illustrations, black & white halftones
  • 0199916292
  • 9780199916290
  • 2,004,344

Table of contents

Acknowledgements ; Chapter 1 Introduction: The Forms of Sikh Memory ; Chapter 2 Sikh Materialities ; SECTION 1 The Past in the Sikh Imagination ; Chapter 3 Representation of a Community: Literary Sources from the Eighteenth Century ; Chapter 4 Into the Nineteenth Century: History and Sovereignty ; SECTION 2 Possessing the Past ; Chapter 5 A History of Possession ; Chapter 6 Colonial Governance and Gurdwara Reform ; Chapter 7 Territory and the Definition of Being Sikh ; Chapter 8 Conclusion Community, Territory, and the Afterlife of the Object ; Bibliography ; Index
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Review quote

This welcome addition to Sikh Studies also suggests a basis for approaching issues of materiality across faith traditions, especially given Murphy's allusions to Buddhist, Christian, and Hindu views of religious objects. * Eleanor Nesbitt, Journal of Contemporary Religion *
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About Anne Murphy

Assistant Professor, Department of Asian Studies, University of British Columbia
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