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.

Summer 2018
No PUNJ course(s) were found for S2018 term.

Summer 2018
No PUNJ course(s) were found for S2018 term.

Summer 2018
No PUNJ course(s) were found for S2018 term.

Summer 2018
No PUNJ course(s) were found for S2018 term.

Punjabi Studies News

This academic year, 2018-9, there is a lot going on. 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) will be 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 – will of course continue as usual under the direction of Sukhwant Hundal. The Harjit Kaur Sidhu Memorial Program in 2019 will feature Mushtaq Soofi, a poet, public intellectual and passionate advocate for Punjabi in Pakistan. Please join us on March 14 for that event, and on March 28 for a special lecture by Professor Arvind Mandair (University of Michigan) on “Diasporizing Philosophy” (co-sponsored by the Centre for India and South Asia Research). Sign up for our Punjabi Studies newsletter to stay informed about everything that is happening, and we hope to see you soon.


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.


Lovneet Aujla - Bachelors of Arts in Sociology, and Asian Studies "BC is home to a large South Asian community, and having been apart of that community my entire life I had this inclination to learn about my surroundings and my community and I feel as though only a Punjabi Program in BC would be able to better connect me to my community."


MA Student - Punjabi Studies "It is important to explore this topic because they lays close to the hearts of the Sikhs and because the Varran have been called the key to the treasure chest (The main scripture of the Sikhs, Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji). If this title holds true, then the Varran serve a far greater purpose than simply being poetry."


This interview features Julie Vig who will be teaching Sikh Studies as an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto this upcoming September.


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.