Law, Empire and the Institutional Conditions of Sikh Citizenship in British Columbia, 1900-1947 by Bonar Buffam

This event is in collaboration with the Interdisciplinary Histories Research Cluster, and is co-sponsored by the Dr. Hari Sharma Foundation, and the Department of Asian Studies.


Until 1947, Sikh and South Asian populations were denied legal citizenship in Canada. Yet,
archival records gesture to the complex institutional apparatuses that mediated the political status
of Sikh communities in British Columbia before and after they were enfranchised. This talk
pursues the specific forms of Sikh citizenship that emerged and transformed through the
workings of gurdwaras, lumber mills, and diasporic presses, especially as they figured in the
political landscapes of empire and racial nationalism.


Bonar Buffam, PhD is an Assistant Professor of Sociology in the Irving K Barber School of Arts
and Sciences at UBC’s Okanagan Campus. He is currently working on a SSHRC-funded project
on the changing political circumstances of religious minorities in Western Canada.  His research
has been published in Theoretical Criminology, Identities, Sikh Formations, and Cultural