The Punjabi language occupies a central place in our South Asia program, and represents one of the largest and longest-standing Punjabi-language programs in the world, outside of South Asia. We regularly offer three years of instruction in Punjabi language, in addition to occasional fourth-year and graduate courses in special topics in Punjabi literature and history, and have instituted a new oral history program in our Third Year class meant to enable students to use Punjabi in multiple dimensions and produce oral history projects that can be shared with the public at large. Other South Asian languages offered in the Department include Hindi, Urdu, and Sanskrit.

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A comprehensive list of courses offered by the Department of Asian Studies can be found in the UBC Calendar.

Winter 2019

PUNJ102 Introductory Punjabi Sections

Spoken and written Punjabi. As of 2011W, credit will be granted for only one of PUNJ 100/101 or PUNJ 102. Students who have taken Punjabi 11 in high school cannot take PUNJ 102 for credit.

Winter 2019

PUNJ200 Intermediate Punjabi Sections

Study of the grammar and introduction to Punjabi literature. As of 2011W, credit will be granted for only one of PUNJ 201/202 or PUNJ 200.

Winter 2019

PUNJ300 Advanced Punjabi Sections

Advanced grammar and conversation. Major genres of Punjabi literature. As of 2011W, credit will be granted for only one of PUNJ 301/302 or PUNJ 300.

Winter 2019

PUNJ402 Early Modern Punjabi Literature Sections

Emphasis is on reading and written expression. Analytical writing in English and Punjabi required.

PUNJ403 Modern Punjabi Literature Sections

Popular and literary works in modern Punjabi, with a focus on short stories and poetry. Emphasis on reading, writing, and vocabulary development.

Punjabi Studies News

We are gearing up for the 2019-20 academic year! Stay tuned. In the meantime, sign up for our Punjabi Studies newsletter to stay informed about everything that is happening, and we hope to see you soon.


On display until October 1, 2019 at the I.K. Barber Learning Centre (1st floor): Curated by Dr. Anne Murphy and CISAR Research Associate Raghavendra Rao K.V. The works on view on the ground floor of the I.K. Barber Learning Centre resulted from a series of residencies and exhibitions in India and the UK in 2018-9 […]


Harsimran Sachdeva Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and how you became interested in the Punjabi Studies program? I come from a Sikh Punjabi background and basically grew up in Minnesota, which is in the mid-west of the United States. I was perhaps the only girl of South Asian ethnicity in my high […]


By Lovneet Aujla, UBC ’19 ASIA 475, Documenting Punjabi Canada, is a unique opportunity for students at UBC to engage with the history of Punjabi Canada, and the many stories of Punjabi Canadians. In exploring written work, archives, documentaries, and oral histories students in ASIA 475 are able to foster a rich understanding of Punjabi […]


Over reading week 2019, 15 UBC students led by Dr. Anne Murphy, boarded a plane to India to take part in a weeklong conference, coordinated by Go Global. There, they joined colleagues at the Punjabi University Patiala to explore heritage and memory in the Punjabi landscape. Through the week, students and Faculty worked through lectures, […]


In June 2019, Professor Anne Murphy was in residence at the L’École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales/Le Centre d’Études de l’Inde et de l’Asie du Sud, Paris to deliver a series of four papers on Punjabi Studies. The topics of the four papers were: “Locating a Punjabi classic: Regional and Linguistic Affinities in Waris […]


Dr. Anne Murphy has been active in recent years in the integration of cultural history projects with the visual arts. This past year, this work included her participation in a project entitled “Creative Interruptions” (2016-19). This project was funded by an Arts and Humanities Research Council research grant (UK) that was held jointly at five […]


With the generous support of a grant from the SSHRC Insight Grant program (2017-2022), UBC Professor Anne Murphy is working to construct a social and cultural history of modern Punjabi language advocacy and its creative expressions from the 1940s to the present in multiple locations around the globe, with attention to Punjabi's early modern formations.


The Onkarbir Singh Toor Memorial Punjabi Studies Enhancement Fund was established by the Toor family in 2017 to enrich the experiences of UBC Punjabi Studies students, providing various opportunities and resources to explore Punjabi language, culture, and heritage at the University of British Columbia.


This program has enabled UBC Asian Studies to highlight the culture, history, and diversity of the Punjabi language in Canada for the past ten years, by giving UBC a platform to publicly showcase the vast achievements and memorable contributions of Punjabi scholars/artists/activists, local Punjabi-language writers, and students.


ASIA 475 explores the history of the Punjabi Canadian community through traditional text-based methods and oral history collection (in English or Punjabi). This allows students to discover Punjabi Canada, while simultaneously promoting the documentation and dissemination of its history.


Recent Events: 2018-2019

For students, ASIA 376 (on the history of the Sikh tradition, Term 2) and ASIA 475 “Documenting Punjabi Canada” (where students explore oral histories in the Punjabi Canadian community, Term 2) were taught, in addition to a new fourth-year class on modern Punjabi literature (PUNJ 403, Term 1). Our regular selection of Punjabi language classes – a full three year program – continued under the direction of Sukhwant Hundal. The Harjit Kaur Sidhu Memorial Program in 2019 featured Mushtaq Soofi, a poet, public intellectual and passionate advocate for Punjabi in Pakistan, on March 14 2019, and on March 28, Professor Arvind Mandair (University of Michigan) gave a lecture on on “Diasporizing Philosophy” (co-sponsored by the Centre for India and South Asia Research).

Recent Events: 2017-2018

Punjabi was first taught in the Department of Asian Studies at UBC in 1987. Since then, the Punjabi Studies Program has brought together students, scholars and members of the BC community to share and learn about Punjabi heritage, culture, and language at the University of British Columbia and at other local venues. In addition to hosting our annual event, the Harjit Kaur Sidhu Memorial Program, which has celebrated Punjabi in loving memory of Harjit Kaur Sidhu for ten years and counting, the UBC Punjabi Studies program is fortunate to have been able to host/co-host various events with the generous support of its community members and partners. Some recent events that took place over the 2017-8 academic year are as follows:

This event invited the community to explore Amardeep Singh’s research on the Sikh tradition in Pakistan and associated historical sites. The event was co-sponsored by the Department of Asian Studies and UBC Sikh Students Association, and the Centre for India and South Asia Research. More details here.

The community was invited to participate in a series of events involving film and Asian Canadian history. Events began with a screening of Ali Kazimi’s award winning documentary that has captured the lived experiences of a Chinese American family, “Random Acts of Legacy.” This was followed by a screening of student documentaries on Punjabi Canadian history, followed by a group discussion with Asian Canadian history filmmaker Ali Kazimi. These two events were followed by a major public screening of Kazimi's film at Emily Carr University on February 9. The UBC Departments of Theatre and Film and Asian Studies partnered to organize these impactful events, and the events were organized with the support of the Onkarbir Singh Toor Memorial Punjabi Studies Enhancement Fund, the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies, the Asian Canadian and Asian Migration Studies Program, the Department of Asian Studies, the UBC Centre for India and South Asia Research, Emily Carr University of Art and Design, DOXA Film Festival, SFU Humanities, Vancity at SFU Woodwards, Centre A Gallery, and Rungh Magazine. More details here.

This musical concert presented the UBC community with an opportunity to enjoy live poetry, mixed with the memorable sounds of the tabla, sarod, banjo, and guitar. The concert was co-sponsored by the Centre for India and South Asia Research, UBC Department of Asian Studies, The Dhahan Prize for Punjabi Literature, The Vancouver International Bhangra Celebration, Skyrocket Digital, Indian Summer Festival, and the Dr. Hari Sharma Foundation. More details here

This lecture event shed light onto the painful past of Punjab’s Partition by contextualizing it amongst Sikh, Hindu and Muslin religious revivalist movements. The lecture was co-sponsored by the Department of Asian Studies, the Centre for India and South Asia Research, and the Hari Sharma Foundation. More details here.

This lecture event offered a glimpse into how textual discourse in 17th century Punjab might have been tied to community and network engagements, as well as enforced and transgressed boundaries. This event was co-sponsored by the Centre for India and South Asia Research and the Department of Asian Studies. More details here.