University of Calgary to expand its offerings in Sikh studies

·2 min read
The Sikh studies program will expand to cover aspects such as Sikh culture, history, philosophy and literature. (David Bell/CBC - image credit)
The Sikh studies program will expand to cover aspects such as Sikh culture, history, philosophy and literature. (David Bell/CBC - image credit)

A new initiative that will greatly expand the Sikh studies program at the University of Calgary is now underway.

Currently, there are two courses focused on Sikh studies at the post-secondary school, Introduction to Sikhism and one focused on Sikh diaspora.

According to Harjeet Singh Grewal, a U of C sessional instructor who teaches these courses, there is a demand for deeper study, especially from students in his classes.

"There's … quite a substantial population of Sikhs in Canada now … and we're looking here in the University of Calgary to meet the needs of the local communities, the communities across the country," he said Monday on the Calgary Eyeopener.

Harjeet Singh Grewal teaches the two Sikh courses currently offered at the University of Calgary in the department of classics and religion.
Harjeet Singh Grewal teaches the two Sikh courses currently offered at the University of Calgary in the department of classics and religion.(Submitted by Harjeet Singh Grewal)

He says they are in the early stages of developing the program but that they first plan to increase the number of courses offered so that students could choose to minor in it.

According the the university, the long-term aim is to create a chair of Sikh studies, which would be unique in Canada.

Grewal hopes these expanded course offerings will fill the "gap in the Sikh tradition not being represented" at the university.

"We're trying to increase that representation, we're going to have courses developed out of the introduction that reach into Sikh philosophy, Sikh practices and Sikh culture."

He says the program will develop with community engagement and guidance.

"So, engaging the community, working with the community toward … local, provincial and national goals," he said.

The university aims to offer the program by September 2022.

Though the faculty of arts set aside money for the program, it is also raising an additional $250,000 through Ucrowdfund in order to launch the program.

With files from the Calgary Eyeopener.