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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements Introduction Part I: Evolution of the Sikh Tradition 1. Guru Nanak and His Early Successors 2. Martyrdom and Militancy: Rise of the Khalsa 3. Modernity and Colonialism Part II: Teachings and Practices 4. Way of Life 5. Sikh Philosophy Part III: Pluralism & its Challenges 6. Sikh Ethics 7. Sikhs and the Public Sphere Glossary of Punjabi Terms Notes Index

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Discussion of Sikhism and traditionally difficult themes such as the relationship between politics and religion, violence and mysticism, culture and spirituality, or particularity and globalization.

About the Author

Arvind-Pal Singh Mandair is an Associate Professor and holder of the S.B.S.C. Endowed Chair in Sikh Studies at the University of Michigan, USA. His earlier books include: Religion and the Specter of the West: Sikhism, India, Postcoloniality and the Politics of Translation (2009), Teachings of the Sikh Gurus (with Christopher Shackle, 2005), Secularism and Religion-Making (2009). He is a founding editor of the journal Sikh Formations: Religion, Culture and Theory.


Sikhism - A Guide for the Perplexed is an insightful and well-crafted introduction to the study of Sikhism as a dynamic and internally fluid tradition. Mandair offers a novel approach in this introductory text that avoids the common pitfalls of historicism and that denaturalizes the tendency to frame Sikhi as purely religious experience within the parameters of the secular-religious binary. Focusing on key issues that reflect what animates Sikh activity and the lived experiences of Sikhs today, Mandair is able to achieve what might seem incommensurable objectives: introducing novices to a field of study, while challenging those already engaged in Sikh Studies with new insights and perspectives. Intriguing and at times provocative, this text will without doubt stand out among introductory texts to Sikhism for its interdisciplinary format, its success in engaging readers intellectually, and its capacity to actively relate ideas from the history and philosophy of religion in a way in which the encounter between these disciplines and Sikhi as an emerging philosophy and way of life remains always in sight. -- Michael Nijhawan, Associate Professor of Sociology, York University, Canada

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