Sikh Studies

Two New 1 Credit Courses in Sikh Sacred Music for Fall 2008

Most scriptures have a performative (sung, chanted) dimension to them: the Jewish Tehillim of the Torah, the Christian Psalms of the Bible, the Muslim call to prayer and suras of the Koran, the Hindu Sama Veda, the Buddhist Thera- and Therigatha songs of the Khuddaka-Nikaya in the Pali Canon. It is therefore essential to understand the musical, sung and chanted context of scripture to begin to comprehend the 'confessional' ways of engaging with religious texts beyond mere reading.

In this regard, and in line with the Religion Department's Mission Statement to encourage students to "migrate between their own worldviews and the those of others", and specifically from its Learning Goal 4(c): "to compare and contrast critical and confessional ways of reading texts”, the Department of Religion has the good fortune to critically engage with the performative context of the Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh scripture of 5864 verses of poetic songs. This learning experience has been made possible by the introduction of two special 1 credit courses offered by the Center for Continuing Education & Professional Development (CCEPA) in Fall 2008 (and cross-listed in the Religion Department):

Bhai Baldeep Singh

Sacred Music of the Punjab I. Instructor: Bhai Baldeep Singh (Delhi, India)
CCEPA U0200; RELI 140K, CRN 94378, 6.30-8.35 pm TR, from 9/11 to 10/2
Neth 18, North Campus

Dr. Gurnam Singh

Sacred Music of the Punjab II. Instructor: Dr. Gurnam Singh (Patiala, Punjab, India)
CCEPA U0201; RELI 140L, CRN 94379, 6.30-8.35 pm TR, from 11/18 to 12/9
Neth 18, North Campus

Sacred Music of the Punjab I and II are open to credit and non-credit students. The courses are housed in the Centre for Continuing Education and Professional Advancement (CCEPA). Each course will be led by world renown experts in Sikh Music. The first course will be taught by Bhai Baldeep Singh (Delhi, India), a 13th generation Sikh Kirtan exponent (vocalist, percussionist, string player), Instrument Maker, Lecturer, Archivist, and founder of ANAD Conservatory: An Institute of Sikh Aesthetics and Culture. The second course will be taught by Dr. Gurnam Singh, a Performer of Gurmat Sangeet, and Chair of Sikh Music at Punjabi University, Patiala, Punjab, India, and author of a series of influential books and articles, with two decades of experience in research and teaching). The courses are being sponsored by an Endowment gifted by Dr. Hakam Singh to establish a Chair in Sikh Music at Hofstra University in conjunction with the HCLAS. A key attraction for each course will be a public concert that each Instructor will perform (see the concerts).

These two chairs, the Bindra Chair in Sikh Studies, and the future Sardarni Harbans Kaur Chair in Sikh Musicology, alongside subsequent workshops, lectures series, and a developing curriculum, will make Hofstra University's Religion Department unique in the world, promoting a locus dedicated to the exploration and advancement of the study of the Sikh tradition from religious, philosophical as well as aesthetic and performative perspectives.

To sign on wait list and for further details see the CE site.