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South Asian Studies Institute

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Nicola Mooney

Dr. Nicola Mooney

Senior Faculty Associate

School of Culture, Media, and Society

Abbotsford campus, D3033

Phone: 604-504-7441, local 4175

email Nicola



Dr. Nicola Mooney teaches in UFV’s department of Social, Cultural, and Media Studies, and is Senior Associate at the South Asian Studies Institute. Her research focuses on the Punjabi community of northwest India and its diaspora, and particularly on Jat Sikhs. Her ethnography, Rural Nostalgias and Transnational Dreams: Identity and Modernity among Jat Sikhs (University of Toronto Press 2011), interrogates ethnicity, urbanization, and migration, their impacts on society, history, memory, and identity, and their relations to religion, gender, class, caste, the nation-state, postcoloniality, and modernity. She has also written a number of articles and chapters on gender, caste, and religion (and their intersections), in addition to pieces on popular cinema, cultural performance, and poetics.

Nicola’s ongoing work broadly relates to the connections between identity, religion, caste, gender, migration, and modernity. In her longer-term research, she continues to research the Social  contours and cultural and affective meanings of caste, development, rural  imaginaries, and shifting relationships to land among emigrant Jats (and other Indians). She is also working on several more immediate projects on modern religion and everyday life; these focus on food and consumption, processes of disenchantment and re-enchantment, and the possible relationships between spirituality, secularism, and social justice. She is also developing a collaborative project on modernity, gender, and sexual violence in South Asia.

At UFV since 2007, Nicola has taught courses in anthropology, sociology, and South Asian studies. Previously, she taught at Mount Allison, Trent, and Wilfrid Laurier universities, as well as at
The University of Toronto; at Mount Allison, she was the first McCain Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Department of Anthropology. She earned her doctorate in Anthropology and Ethnic, Immigration, and Pluralism Studies at the University of Toronto. Prior to this, she completed a Master of Museum Studies degree, and an honours Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and Religious Studies, again from the University of Toronto.


Ph.D. (University of Toronto)
B.A. (Hons)

Research Interests

Ethnicity and identity; transnationalism and diaspora; history and memory; gender and other forms of social difference; religiosity; urbanity and rurality; place, land, and landscape; and the experience and impacts of the nation-state, development, and modernity among Sikhs, and particularly Jat Sikhs; as well as Punjabi and South Asian popular and performance cultures and media, postcoloniality, feminist anthropology, the ethnography of everyday life, critical ethnography, ethnohistory, and ethnography as genre.


Mooney, N. Forthcoming. “Sikh Millennials Engaging the Earth: Sikhi, Environmental Activism, and Eco-Enchantment”. Chapter 6, in Living and Making Sikhi in the Diaspora: The Millennial Generation Comes of Age, eds. Pashaura Singh, Verne Dusenbery, and Charles Townsend. (Expected 2018).

Mooney, N. Accepted. “Remembered Rurality: The Idyllic Places and Troubled Spaces of Jat Sikh Nostalgia”. In Culture, Meaning and Space: Studies in Place and Practice, ed. Pauline McKenzie Aucoin, Berghahn Books.

Mooney, N. 2015. “The Impossible Hybridity of Hair: Kesh, Gender, and the Third Space”. In Young Sikhs in a Global World: Negotiating Identity, Tradition and Authority, eds. Knut Jacobsen and Kristina Myrvold, pp. 97-123. Farnham, Surrey, (UK): Ashgate.

Mooney, N. 2013a. “The Yeoman Jats of Punjab: Time, Expertise, and the Colonial Construction of Jat Sikh Identity”. Anthropologica. 55(2): 277-290.

Mooney, N. 2013b. “Dancing in Diaspora Space: Bhangra, Caste, and Gender among Jat Sikhs”. In Sikh Diaspora: Theory, Agency, and Experience, ed. Michael Hawley, pp. 279-318. Leiden: Brill.

Mooney, N. 2012a. “Reading Weber among the Sikhs: Asceticism and Capitalism in the 3HO/Sikh Dharma”. Sikh Formations: Religion, Culture, Theory. 8(3): 417-436.

Mooney, N. 2012b. “From Chandigarh to Vancouver: Jat Sikh Home and Identity in the Films of Harbhajan Mann”. In From Bombay to LA: The Travels of South Asian Cinema, eds. Anjali Gera Roy and Chua Beng Huat, Oxford University Press.

Mooney, N. 2011. Rural Nostalgias and Transnational Dreams: Identity and Modernity among Jat Sikhs. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Ku, J.S.C., J. Doyle, and N. Mooney. 2011. “Consolidating the Self: Immigrant Women’s Settlement in New Brunswick”. In Immigrant Women in Atlantic Canada: Challenges, Negotiations, Reconstructions, eds. Evangelia Tastsoglou and Peruvemba S. Jaya. Toronto: Canadian Scholars’ Press / Women’s Press.

Mooney, N. 2010. “Lowly Shoes on Lowly Feet: Some Jat Sikh Women’s Views on Gender & Equality”. In Sikhism and Women: History, Texts and Experience, ed. Doris R. Jakobsh. Delhi: Oxford University Press.

Mooney, N. 2008a. “Of Love, Martyrdom and (in)-Subordination: Sikh Experiences of Partition in the Films Shaheed-e-Mohabbat and Gadar: Ek Prem Katha”. In Partitioned Lives: Narratives of Home, Displacement, and Resettlement, eds. Anjali Gera Roy and Nandi Bhatia, pp. 26 - 49. Delhi: Pearson Longman/Dorling Kindersley India.

Mooney, N. 2008b. “Aaja Nach Lai (Come Dance): Performing and Practicing Identity among Punjabis in Canada”. Ethnologies. 30 (1): 103 - 124.

Mooney, N. 2006. “Aspiration, Reunification and Gender Transformation in Jat Sikh Marriages from India to Canada”. Global Networks: A Journal of Transnational Affairs. 6 (4): 389-403.

Doyle, J., Mooney N., and J. Ku. 2006. “Why Not Me? Women Immigrants and Unemployment in New Brunswick”. Migration Letters. 3 (2):  161-9.

Ku, J., J. Doyle, and N.Mooney. 2005. A Preliminary Research to Map Issues and Trends Confronting Recent Women Newcomers in New Brunswick. Halifax: Atlantic Metropolis Centre.

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