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Thurs May 6 detailed schedule

May 6, 2021 | Presentation 2

Relegated to the Margins – Resurrected Sites as Places of Knowing

Abstract

Considered a gift built by early Sikh settlers, the 100 + year-old Abbotsford National Historic Site Gur Sikh Temple (est. 1911) stands as a testament to the pride, vision and steadfastness of a community that persevered historically against extreme racial discrimination and injustices. These settlers carved out a religious, social and political place of permanence for themselves and for families they hoped would join them one day. The site stands out as “an adaptation of traditional Sikh forms to Canadian conditions which nevertheless embodies the fundamental beliefs of Sikhs and their early experience as immigrants in Canada” (historicplaces.ca). In this presentation I present how 100 years later, this revitalized National Historic Site’s Sikh Heritage Museum has resurrected its critical position by negotiating ethno-politics (within) and erased  histories (externally) without objectifying the other while acknowledging displacement of indigenous peoples. The work of this ethnographic museum is grounded in negating the epistemological premise that culture as a whole is materialized by things. The exhibits curated for the Museum disrupt the normative museum practice of placing individual objects in the metonymic role of representing an abstract whole. Rather, the Museum brings what is absent into presence through a mnemonic mode of knowing the past (names, places, memories, and oral histories).  For those whose histories are neglected and omitted from the Canadian record, this way of knowing provides relief from the often nameless and objectified history of people of colour

Presenter(s)

Satwinder Bains, University of the Fraser Valley

 


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