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The Construction of Religious Boundaries: Competing Public Histories

The Construction of Religious Boundaries: Competing Public Histories

Chapter:
(p.145) 6 The Construction of Religious Boundaries: Competing Public Histories
Source:
Who Owns Religion?
Author(s):
Laurie L. Patton
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226676036.003.0007

This chapter discusses the intriguing case of the Sikh response to Harjot Oberoi. Oberoi was awarded a chair of Sikh studies at the University of British Columbia in 1987 and published the Construction of Religious Boundaries: Culture, Identity, and Diversity in the Sikh Tradition in 1994. The chapter identifies the Sikh community's objections to Oberoi's work, particularly on his claims that the Sikh community constructed its identity according to specific social formations and power structures within the various, very different Sikh communities, rather than as a single, natural progression of Sikh revelation from God. It also examines the issue of postcolonial theological orthodoxy in a diaspora context, and its relative influence on Oberoi, and talks about the Sikh community's use of “lists” of scholars who are friendly to Sikhism and those who are not, as a litmus test for appropriate and correct interpretation.

Keywords:   Harjot Oberoi, Sikh, God, postcolonial theological orthodoxy, social formation, power structure

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