Return to campus — information and updates »

South Asian Studies Institute

Recent Programs and Events

The SASI is pleased to host the launch of "An Ocean of Peace," a travelling exhibit curated by the New Westminster Museum. The exhibit opening will take place at the Sikh Heritage Museum, National Historic Site, Gur Sikh Temple.

Sunday, June 19th, 2pm

All are welcome.


SASI 5th Annual Symposium - November 19, 2021

Building a Diasporic Roadmap through Inquiry and Engagement

outh Asia represents the regions of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the Maldives. More broadly, the historical, political, cultural and linguistic boundaries that constitute the South Asian region are complex and intricate, complicated and intertwined while being vastly heterogeneous. This is further reinforced in the make up and experiences of the Canadian diasporic communities from these regions all across BC and Canada. Included in the complexity of such a large region are “twice and third migrants” from the region who migrate to Canada from other second and third countries.

Since 2017, the South Asian Studies Institute (SASI) has hosted an annual symposium engaging in topics related to South Asian Canadian geo-political spaces, naming, gender, caste, history, and culture. Given the apotheosis of the time we are living in - and with an ongoing commitment to shift and build solidarities amongst our communities, the SASI invites you to ourfifth annual symposium which looks at building a road map through regional understanding.

The 2021 symposium is organized as a round table discussion where, through conversation we build upon the work of inter-disciplinary academics and other stakeholders in order to create a road map towards furthering current and future research and building partnerships.

We invite your perspectives based on the intersectionality of lived experiences with themes ranging from politics, policy, culture, language, art, aesthetics, activism, heritage, food, clothing, history, society, development, philanthropy, social justice etc. – any and all of the areas of work that drive your passion as it relates to South Asia and the Diaspora. 

The questions we aim to explore are: 

  • What is required to build a robust and forward thinking research road map that reflects South Asian diasporic communities with academics, scholars, researchers, students, activists, cultural historians and interested organizations?
  • What foundations need to be built (and how) that help us secure a foothold for further and future research that deepens engagement, builds historical records and enhances diasporic internal and external understandings?
  • How do we address issues related to how South Asian Canadian histories have been omitted, erased and neglected by post-secondary, heritage/historic organizations, K-12 education, the GLAM sector etc.?
  • How do we design/implement solidarity (as action) for South Asian Canadian research and studies that is inclusive of South Asian Canadian diasporas in BC?

RSVP your attendance at by November 1st or call for more information at 604-854-4547.

SASI Director, Dr. Satwinder Bains is a contributor to the book "Abbotsford - A Diverse Tapestry." Please join her, and all other authors/contributors for the virtual launch on Tuesday, June 29th at 7pm.

Zoom link:

Meeting ID: 657 0893 0768 Passcode: 105349

All are welcome. Please contact Kris Foulds for more information or to purchase a copy by emailing: or call 604-864-8087 ext.122.




"Global Solidarity with India's Farmers: Conversations with Canadian Union Leaders and Political Representatives."

DAY: S‌unday, June 27th


To register:

The SASI is please to partner with the Hari Sharma Foundation to host a meaningful conversation on the ongoing Farmers Protest.

May 26, 2021, marked the completion of six months of India's farmers' and workers' protest at the borders of the national capital of Delhi against the three contentious farm laws. These farm laws were passed in September 2020 by the Modi government, without consultation or debate in the midst of the first wave of the Covid pandemic and lockdown. The farmers oppose these laws because they will empower corporations to seize their land, jeopardize their livelihood, create food insecurity and deepen the agrarian crisis facing the country.

These farm laws are part and parcel of neoliberal policies expropriating people's resources, labour and livelihoods worldwide. The global significance of this largest and longest non-violent peaceful protest by the Indian farmers has been warmly appreciated by labour unions, political activists and farmers everywhere. Many city councils in Canada, such as Vancouver, Victoria, Burnaby, Port Coquitlam, Surrey, and others, along with many Canadian labour organizations, including the Canadian Labour Congress, Federations of Labour, and UNIFOR, have passed resolutions or issued statements in support of the demands of the Indian farmers.

Islamophobia: Seeking solutions for hate: Eradicating Islamophobia and the systemic structures of racism

The SASI is pleased to partner with UFV's Peace and Reconciliation Centre (PARC) to have an important conversation on hate and how to enact change.

 Wednesday, June 23

6:30pm – 8:30pm
Zoom Link-
Free – Open to public
Email –

“Our heart goes out to the Afzaal family and all members of the Muslim community in the wake of this heinous hate-motivated mass murder. This tragic act of violence tears at the very fabric of our society and reveals that Islamophobia and racism are alive and well in Canada.

We know that this crime will cause all members of the Islamic faith to fear for their lives and to feel that they cannot be safe within Canada.

We must all do everything we can to counter this and to affirm for Muslims that we are committed to eradicating Islamophobia and the systemic structures of racism.”

Dr. Keith Carlson
PARC Director


 Constructing Heritage in Canada's South Asian Diaspora


June 16 2021

10 am (Pacific Daylight Time) via Zoom.

Presented by the Association of Critical Heritage Studies – Canada 

This symposium examines the construction and performance of cultural heritage in South Asian diaspora communities in Canada. Panelists bring critical perspectives on how and why ‘heritage’ is important in grassroots settings, and whose heritage is omitted from the Canadian historical record.

And we ask: How does diasporic heritage challenge issues – such as the term South Asian, or the term Canadian?


Dr Satwinder Kaur Bains, University of the Fraser Valley

Dr Srilata Ravi, University of Alberta

Itrath Sayed, Simon Fraser University

Kathleen Boodhai, Northumbria University


Dr Shabnam Inanloo Dailoo and Dr Susan Ashley (Co-chairs ACHS – Can)


For more information contact




Abstract: As the ongoing farmers struggle in India completes six months, it has attracted global attention. The Indian diaspora has taken special interest and played a key role in this movement. What makes for this unexpected and extraordinary success of this movement? What are the lessons here? What has the movement achieved in the first six months? And, what is the roadmap and the challenges ahead? What does this movement signal for the future of Indian democracy? 

Biography: Yogendra Yadav is an author, social activist, journalist and Psephologist, whose primary interests are in the political and social sciences. He has taught Political Science at Panjab University, Chandigarh (1985- 93) and has been a Senior Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), Delhi since 2004. He has published a number of articles and books. His current book, “Making Sense of Indian Democracy: Theory as Practice ” was published in 2020. He was an editor and advisor for various publications, such as the European Journal of Political Research. He is the national convener of Jai Kisan Andolan (JKA), and also a convener of All India Kisan Sangarshana Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) of the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) that lead the current farmers ’ movement in India. 
DATE: Wednesday, June 2, 2021 TIME: 9.00 AM PST 9:30 PM IST
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 850 2565 0656
Passcode: 907686




Farmers Movement and Emerging Solidarities in Rural Punjab: Caste, Class and Sikhi

DATE: Friday, April 23rd, 2021


To attend the online lecture please register at: 

(After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the lecture)

Abstract: Rural Punjab has been a divided region. The most important axis of this division has been through caste, which also overlaps with class. Almost all the agricultural land is owned and cultivated by Jatts and a few other minor caste groups, such as Sainis, Kambojs, Rajputs and Labanas. Dalits, who make for more than 30% of the state population, are almost all landless. This presentation will look at how the current farmers' movement has provided an opportunity to rebuild solidarities across castes. Unlike other regions of India, Punjab has the idiom of Sikhi that could help in building newer solidarities across caste communities.

Join Dr. Surinder S. Jodhka, Professor of Sociology at Jawaharlal Nehru University to take part in the conversation. Moderated by SASI Director, Dr. Satwinder Kaur Bains. Q&A to follow.


Contact Us