Arvind-Pal Mandair

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Arvind Mandair

Tara Singh and Balwant Kaur Chattha and Gurbax Singh and Kirpal Kaur Brar Sikh Studies Professor
Associate Professor of Asian Languages and Cultures

202 S. Thayer, Suite 6111
Ann Arbor, MI 48104-1608

Office Location(s): 6155 STB
Phone: 734.764.8286
Personal Website

  • Affiliation(s)
    • Asian Languages & Cultures
    • Center for South Asian Studies
  • About

    Research Interests

    Though grounded in the study of Sikhism and South Asian religions, my research interests are located at the intersections of various disciplines such as: Modern European Philosophy; Comparative Philosophy; Postcolonial theory; Critical Theories of Religion and the Secular; Political Theology; Theories of Cultural Encounter and Translation theory and practice. My first monograph Religion and the Specter of the West (2009) looked at the colonial and postcolonial encounter between India and the West, specifically through the lens of Sikhism.  A more recent book publication is Sikhism: A Guide For the Perplexed (2013). Currently I am working on three further book projects. The first, Untimely Logics (initially delivered as the Jordan Lectures in Comparative Religion, SOAS, 2009), explores the question of time in Sikh literature and culture. The second project, Thinking Between Cultures, looks at the ethics of cultural encounter by deploying key categories of Sikh thought and praxis to engage related themes in figures like Deleuze, Nancy and Heidegger. These two book projects allow me to return to my intellectual roots which are in comparative philosophy and religion. The third project, Mourning Sovereignties, combines sociological/anthropological and discourse analysis to look at various Sikh discourses in relation to public space and moves in a directions that were signaled in my earlier work.  I am also working on two further edited volumes.  I am interested in supervising graduate students in all aspects of Sikh Studies, particularly those students who are able and willing to combine solid empirical and textual work and with an openness to questioning the categories and frameworks within which scholarship is produced.

    Recent Publications



    Courses Taught
    Undergraduate Courses

    • Religion and Violence in a Secular World (Asian 305)
    • Warrior Saints: Introduction to Sikhism (Asian 219)
    • What is Religion? (AS 306)
    • Theorizing Postcoloniality (Asian 382)
    • Ethics: Asian and Western (forthcoming, AS 229)


    Graduate Courses

    • Secularism and Religion-Making ((forthcoming)
    • Indian Religions and Western Thought (Asian 400)
    • Sikhism and Modernity (ASIAN 480)
    • Philosophy of the Sikh Gurus (Asian 430)


    Literature, Language and Teachings of the Sikh Scriptures (Gurbani Vichar) graduate level independent study only.


  • Education
    • M.A., Ph.D., (Philosophy/Sikh Studies)University of Warwick, UK, 1999
    • B.Sc, Ph.D. (Chemistry), Aston University, UK, 1989
  • Research Areas of Interest
    • Current research interests focus on exploring the intersections between religion and comparative cultural theory and rethinking the relationship between mysticism and politics in Indic religions