Research & Publications

Research and publications are of primary interest to people working in the Center for Sikh and Punjab Studies.

Kapany Student Awards

The Kapany Chair has instituted the ongoing "Kapany Student Award" to be given to a young student for a summer project that falls within the ambit of Sikh and Punjab Studies. The student will formulate a project based on primary research that will be conducted during the summer quarter. The output will be a short paper (approx. 8,000 words) under the guidance of the Kapany Chair, UCSB. 

In 2024, this award was given to Nikki JG, a Grade 11 student from Palo Alto, CA. Her essay  explored what being a Punjabi meant for them as an American-born and raised teenager. The paper approaches the question of being Punjabi from the lens of the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947.
The award in 2023 was award to a high-school student from Palo Alto (who wished to not be identified). In 2021 went to Jasdeep Hundal, an undergraduate student at Stanford University. Hundal's project was on the migration history of his Sikh and Punjabi family and beyond. Based on oral history and other sources, he traced their migration from the Indian Punjab to South East Asia including Singapore and Malaysia. He especially looked at the experiences of women as they restructured their life in changes circumstances. The question he considered was how Punjabi and Sikh identity is reconfigured in new spaces. He was given an award letter, and a gift card of $599/ to use in a favorite store.


Those with interesting projects and in search of mentorship are invited to apply with a 600-800 word project outline and a short CV to Applications will be accepted every year during the period Jan 1 - April 30. The award will be announced by 30th May.

Past Publications

Until 2015, the Center was associated with publishing research for the Journal of Punjab StudiesOver the past years, several books and doctoral dissertations have also been completed under the Center's support.

Additionally, our current and past graduate students' writings have appeared in a variety of periodicals, ranging from The Tribune (English daily newspaper with the largest circulation in Punjab) to the Journal of Punjab Studies. Several students contributed articles in a special issue on the Sikhs in Faces: People, Places, and Cultures (Peterborough, NH, Cobblestone, 2000), a popular educational magazine used in North American schools. Our past students have also contributed significantly to the writing of the text book An Introduction to Punjabi.


Translation of Classical Sikh Texts

The Vars of Gurdas Bhalla (d. 1628)
Rahuldeep Singh Gill (California Lutheran University)

The project entails preparing critical edition as well as translation of Gurdas Bhalla's seminal vars into English. His contribution is highly acclaimed inside the Sikh community, but his works are relatively unknown to those who work in English. This effort is the first step in filling that void.

Sikh Music

Shabad Kirtan
Gibb Schreffler (Pomona College)

The research aims to trace the development of the role of music in Sikh practice, and in the process examine the discourse surrounding the currently popular term gurmat sangit, by combining a reading of Punjabi-language sources and insights emerging from ethnographic data.

Global Sikhism

This research focuses on the rise of the Sikhs as a global community, and the implications of this development for its future.