© 2016

The Precarious Diasporas of Sikh and Ahmadiyya Generations

Violence, Memory, and Agency


Part of the Religion and Global Migrations book series (RGM)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiv
  2. Michael Nijhawan
    Pages 1-26
  3. Michael Nijhawan
    Pages 153-190
  4. Back Matter
    Pages 275-289

About this book


 This book examines the long-term effects of violence on the everyday cultural and religious practices of a younger generation of Ahmadis and Sikhs in Frankfurt, Germany and Toronto, Canada. Comparative in scope and the first to discuss contemporary articulations of Sikh and Ahmadiyya identities within a single frame of reference, the book assembles a significant range of empirical data gathered over ten years of ethnographic fieldwork. In its focus on precarious sites of identity formation, the volume engages with cutting-edge theories in the fields of critical diaspora studies, migration and refugee studies, religion, secularism, and politics. It presents a novel approach to the reading of Ahmadi and Sikh subjectivities in the current climate of anti-immigrant movements and suspicion against religious others. Michael Nijhawan also offers new insights into what animates emerging movements of the youth and their attempts to reclaim forms of the spiritual and political. 


diaspora diasporic Sikhism Ahmadiyya Intergenerational Transmission religious identities Lived religious practice Religion in the public Post 9/11 religious identities

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyYork UniversityToronto, ONCanada

About the authors

 Michael Nijhawan is a Social Anthropologist and Associate Professor in Sociology at York University, Toronto, Canada. His publications include Suffering, Art, and Aesthetics (with R.Hadj-Moussa, 2014), Shared Idioms, Sacred Symbols, and the Articulation of Identities in South Asia (with K. Pemberton, 2009) and Dhadi Darbar: Religion, Violence and the Performance of Sikh History (2006). 

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title The Precarious Diasporas of Sikh and Ahmadiyya Generations
  • Book Subtitle Violence, Memory, and Agency
  • Authors Michael Nijhawan
  • Series Title Religion and Global Migrations
  • Series Abbreviated Title Religion and Global Migrations
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2016
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, New York
  • eBook Packages Religion and Philosophy Philosophy and Religion (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-1-137-49959-2
  • Softcover ISBN 978-1-349-69855-4
  • eBook ISBN 978-1-137-48854-1
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XIV, 289
  • Number of Illustrations 1 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Comparative Religion
    Religion and Society
  • Buy this book on publisher's site


“In this riveting study Michael Nijhawan unpacks the potential of ‘diaspora’ as a self-differentiating concept and temporal formation. Grounded in a cutting edge social anthropology, the book develops a method of disjunctively juxtaposing two important diaspora communities thereby bypassing staid discussions of comparativism. Nijhawan unravels complex political discourses and everyday practices of a contemporary generation of Sikhs and Ahmadiyya Muslims, showing how both communities have become entangled in concrete discourses that deploy religion as a category of governance.  This is an impressive and innovative piece of work.” (Arvind-Pal S. Mandair, University of Michigan, USA) 

This book represents a breakthrough in thinking religion and diasporas together in ways that refuse to demarcate religion, migration, and the political, social, and material as discrete, finite, or textual domains. Rather, the entanglements of ontology, materiality, and religiosity, as well as precarity and violence open up hitherto separate areas of research to productive and political critique.” (Inderpal Grewal, Yale University, USA)