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New head for Sikh Studies at University of California
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New head for Sikh Studies at University of California

Agency News

New York, Feb 4: The University of California, Irvine, has appointed Sikh woman Bibi Anneeth Kaur Hundle for the Dhan Kaur Sahota Presidential Chair in Sikh Studies in its School of Social Sciences.

According to Sikh24.com, an information portal that focuses on the community activities, the 2 million dollars endowed chair – housed in the Department of Anthropology – was set up in 2017 with a 1.5 million dollars gift from Drs. Harvinder and Asha Sahota and 0.5 million dollars from the UC Presidential Match for Endowed Chairs program.

As chair and UCI assistant professor of anthropology, Hundle will contribute to the study of the Sikh religion and culture. She will teach courses and develop research programs to increase understanding of immigrant incorporation and civil rights issues affecting the community in the US, Sikh24.com reported yesterday from Sacramento, California.

“I am honored to be the first person named to this chair and appreciate the support of the Sahotas, Dean (Bill) Maurer (of the School of Social Sciences) and my colleagues here at UCI in anthropology and other departments,” Hundle was quoted as saying by the portal. “I’m excited to have the opportunity to build on my existing expertise and advance Sikh studies scholarly research in local, transnational and global contexts, and I look forward to promoting cross-religious, -ethnic and -racial community outreach and engagement via Sikh studies and anthropology with this position.”

Hundle had joined UCI in January from UC Merced, where she was an assistant professor of anthropology and associated faculty with the critical race & ethnic studies program. Her current research explores the politics of race, gender, citizenship and decolonization in Uganda after the expulsion of the racialized Asian community in 1972. Her research and writing have been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Wenner-Gren Foundation and multiple UC awards, including the UC President’s Faculty Research Fellowship.

After receiving a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and gender studies from Northwestern University, Hundle earned master’s and doctoral degrees in anthropology at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She spent four years on the faculty of UC Merced, including a year as a visiting professor with the Center for African Studies at UC Berkeley, and was a research associate with the Makerere Institute of Social Research at Uganda’s Makerere University for two years.

Hundle has been published in the Journal of Asian and African Studies; Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East; Public Culture; Critical Ethnic Studies; and Feminist Review, among other periodicals, and is an associate editor of Sikh Formations: Religion, Culture, Theory.

“With the establishment of this endowed chair, we hope members of the UCI community will deepen their understanding of Sikh religion and culture by learning the vibrant traditions, many contributions in world history and American society,” Harvinder Sahota, a cardiologist, said, according to Sikh24.com.

Maurer said, “We are extremely grateful for the generosity of the Sahotas and recognize the importance of broadening knowledge of Sikh culture and religion, especially in this time of division and misunderstanding.” (UNI)