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Nicola Mooney

Dr. Nicola Mooney

Associate Professor, Anthropology
Convenor, School of Social Justice and Global Stewardship

Abbotsford campus, A202j

Phone: 604-504-7441

email Nicola


Educated at the University of Toronto, Dr. Mooney has an honours BA in Anthropology and Religious Studies, a master’s degree in Museum Studies, and a doctorate in Anthropology; she also completed the collaborative doctoral program in Ethnic, Immigration, and Pluralism Studies. Before arriving at UFV, she taught at Mount Allison, Trent, and Wilfrid Laurier universities, as well as at the University of Toronto. At Mount Allison, where she remains adjunct professor, she was the first McCain Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Department of Anthropology. Her book, Rural Nostalgias and Transnational Dreams: Identity and Modernity among Jat Sikhs (University of Toronto Press 2011), broadly concerns ethnicity, urbanization, and migration, and their impacts on Jat Sikh society, history, and memory; it also examines the influences of gender, class, religion, and other forms of social difference, as well as the nation-state, postcoloniality, and modernity, on Jat Sikh identities. She has also published a number of papers and chapters pertaining to identity, gender, caste, religion, cultural poetics and popular culture in Punjabi and diaspora contexts. Her current research projects are broadly focused on landscape, caste, gender, religion, enchantment, and food and environmental practices.


Senior Associate, Centre for Indo-Canadian Studies

Chair, Program Working Group, Migration and Citizenship

Teaching Interests

ANTH 102 Introduction to Social and Cultural Anthropology
ANTH 130 Anthropology of World Religions
ANTH 203A Reading Culture
ANTH 210 Gender and Kinship
ANTH/SOC 260 Food for Thought: Food, Culture, and Society
ANTH 267 Religions in Diaspora
ANTH 303C Peoples and Cultures of India
ANTH/SOC 360 Eating and Thinking: Food, Identity, and Power in Global Societies
ANTH/ENG 367 Culture and Theory of Diaspora
ANTH/MACS 375 Indian Mediascapes
ANTH 403D Diaspora Exchange Journal
ANTH/SOC 470E Ethnicity Race and Nationalism
ARTS 100 Home and the World: An Interdisciplinary Introduction to University Studies

Dr. Mooney has also supervised a number of ANTH 490 Directed Studies courses, particularly on South Asian topics, including nationalism, gender, and development.

Research Interests

Dr. Mooney’s work engages ethnicity, identity, transnationalism, diaspora; gender, caste, and other forms of social difference; religion and religiosity; urbanity and rurality; place, land, and landscape; cultural history, memory, and nostalgia; and the experience and impacts of colonialism, postcoloniality, the nation-state, development, and modernity among Punjabis, Sikhs, and particularly Jat Sikhs. She is also interested in popular and performance cultures and media (both Punjabi and Indian); food practices and foodscapes; and ethnographic theory and praxis (feminist anthropology, the ethnography of everyday life, ethnohistory, cultural poetics, narrative, literary, and imaginative ethnographies).


Diasporizing Punjab, Disorienting Bhangra: Academic Workshop & Public Paper Presentations

‌25th Anniversary Remembrance Lecture - A Precious Find: Heirloom Sikh Texts Discovered in Abbotsford

Heirlooms: Treasures of a Malwai Village Visit in Punjab ‌

Charkha Spins in Toronto: Reflections on the 2006 Spinning Wheel Film Festival ‌



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


Journal Articles

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

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

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

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.


Book Chapters

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.

2013. “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.

2012. “From Chandigarh to Vancouver: Jat Sikh Home and Identity in the Films of Harbhajan Mann”. In Travels of Bollywood Cinema: From Bombay to LA, eds. Anjali Gera Roy and Chua Beng Huat, pp. 78-97. New York: Oxford University Press.

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, pp. 156-186. Delhi: Oxford University Press.

2008 “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 India/Dorling Kindersley (India) Pvt. Ltd. 

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