South Asian Studies Institute

Recent programs and events

Ehsaas Film Festival: Shakespeare and Indian Cinema

WHERE: B101 Theatre, UFV Abbotsford Campus, 33844 King Road Abbotsford
WHEN: Wednesday, March 4, 11, 18

Come join us for this free event (three films over three weeks) which brings together Indian Cinema and Shakespeare. After each film screening join UFV faculty who will be providing context and conversation.

ALL are welcome


Maqbool (adaptation of Macbeth) on March 4th, 2020
Haider (adaptation of Hamlet) on March 11th, 2020
Ram-Leela (adaptation of Romeo and Juliet) on March 18th, 2020

Email for more information.


'WE ARE HOCKEY' Exhibit Closing: Family Day

Join us as we celebrate the successful run and closing of the 'We Are Hockey' exhibit at the Sikh Heritage Museum, National Historic Site, Gur Sikh Temple.

This free Family Day event will include hockey tips by the first NHL South Asian Canadian player Robin Bawa and President of Apna Hockey Lali Toor, commentators of Hockey Night in Canada Punjabi Edition, screening of ‘Breakaway’ with Director Jenny Lee, the Canucks Community Caravan and a live-on-location by Sportsnet Radio's Randip Janda and Dan Riccio (Reach Deep/650).

All are welcome, bring your family, children and loved ones.

WHEN: (BC Family Day) Monday, February 17th
TIME: 1 – 4PM – free event, open to all
PLACE: Sikh Heritage Museum, National Historic Site Gur Sikh Temple, 33089 South Fraser Way, Abbotsford, BC


You are all invited to attend the opening reception for 'Haq and History' an exhibit designed by the Royal BC Museum in partnership with the South Asian Studies Institute. The exhibit's will be displayed at UFV's S’eliyemetaxwtexw Gallery from January 15th until February 13th, 2020.

WHEN: Opening reception - Wednesday, February 5th 

TIME: 6pm - 7:30pm

PLACE: UFV S’eliyemetaxwtexw Gallery, UFV Abbotsford Campus, room B136






SASI's 3rd Annual Symposium: South Asia and Gender

Featuring Keynote Address, Dr. Nikky Guninder Kaur Singh

Dr. Nikky-Guninder Kaur Singh is the head of the Department of Religious Studies at Colby College, and holds the Crawford Family Professor Chair. Her interests focus on Asian Religions, feminist issues, and sacred art and poetry. Dr. Singh has published extensively in the field of Sikh studies. Her books include Of Sacred and Secular Desire: An Anthology of Lyrical Writings from the Punjab (IB Tauris 2012), Sikhism: An Introduction (IB Tauris 2011), Cosmic Symphony (Sahitya Akademy, 2008), Birth of the Khalsa (SUNY 2005), Feminine Principle in the Sikh Vision of the Transcendent (Cambridge University Press, 1993), Sikhism (Facts on File, translated into Japanese, 1993), and The Name of My Beloved (HarperCollins1995; Penguin 2001). She has authored over 100 articles and chapters, and given more than 250 lectures nationally and internationally.

WHEN: Friday, November 29th, 2019

WHERE: UFV, Abbotsford, South Asian Studies Institute, room F125


All are invited, please rsvp:



Commemorating Guru Nanak's 550th Birth Year

Please join us for a community discussion on the life and impact of the philosophy of Sri Guru Nanak Dev ji on humanity as we commemorate his 550th Birth year.

Join Dr. Harjeet Singh Grewal and Dr. Satwinder Kaur Bains for an open dialogue that seeks to spark our contemporary thoughts on the unique spiritual, social and political platforms of Guru Nanak’s philosophy.

From the all-encompassing Ikk Oankar to the inclusive Sarbat da Bhala we want to explore how our faith tradition affect our daily lives.

Discussion is open to all in a respectful, safe and exploratory manner.

Dr.  Harjeet Grewal teaches Sikhism and Religious Philosophy courses in the Department of Classics and Religion at the University of Calgary. He completed his dissertation, titled “Janamsākhī: Retracing Networks of Interpretation,” at the University of Michigan in 2017. His research interests include Sikh philosophy, diaspora, and religious literature.

Dr. Satwinder Kaur Bains is the Director of the South Asian Studies Institute at the University of the Fraser Valley. She has a research interest in Sikh historiographies and is particularly interested on the Sikh Rahit Maryada’s definition of a Sikh, rules of service and conduct of Sikhs.

WHEN: Thursday, November 28th, 2019

WHERE: Sikh Heritage Museum, National Historic Site Gur Sikh Templ 33089 South Fraser Way, Abbotsford, BC


All are invited, please rsvp: 



You are invited to a talk by our newly appointed SASI Faculty Associate, Dr. Adrienne Fast, Curator of Art and Visual Culture at the Reach Gallery Museum Abbotsford. Dr. Fast’s talk, titled “Hungry Bengal,” looks at the 1943 Bengal Famine which was once referred to by the BBC as one of the “things we forgot to remember.” Today, these events are little known or understood outside of India itself.

Please join us for a historical (and art historical) journey through one of the most important, and overlooked events that helped determine the outcome of World War II.

WHEN: Tuesday, November 5th

TIME: 5pm-7pm

WHERE: SASI, Room F125, Uhouse/UFV Abbotsford Campus

Light refreshments will be served, all are welcome and please feel free to share the invitation with others. To rsvp, please email

We invite you to attend a lecture by Dr. HS Virk on "Guru Nanak- A Universal Prophet Without Borders"

WHEN: Tuesday, September 10th


PLACE: Sikh Heritage Museum, National Historic Site Gur Sikh Temple, Abbotsford, BC 

The Building Bridges Community Golf day supports UFV’s South Asian Studies Institute (SASI) Research Fellowship Endowment, which funds scholarly research aimed at answering questions and tackling issues that matter in the Fraser Valley and beyond. This research in particular responds to and has relevance for local, provincial, and national communities.

Support the SASI Research Fellowship Endowment by attending the event, becoming a sponsor, or donating a silent auction item or prize. Please contact us at to find out more about this opportunity.

Together, we are changing lives and building community.

You are invited to attend a presentation by two student interns from the Punjabi University, Patiala located in Punjab, India:

WHEN: Tuesday, July 30th, 2019


PLACE: Room F125 (SASI Boardroom)


You are invited to a talk and short film screening by Dr. Tahseen Choudhury


South Asian diasporas from decolonisation to post-diasporic hybridity: The emergence of transcendental time in diasporaisation in contemporary Britain

Time with its phenomenal streams of elapse not only signifies its temporality but also underlines the spatiality where it transcends the borderline of clocked-up time in order to bring in a new time—a new generation, a new culture. In contemporary Britain diasporisation has embarked on a platform that encounters a transcendental time of redefining national infrastructure as hybrid, multicultural and significantly untraditional. This time factor works intrinsically for the diasporisation of South Asians in Britain. 
Time is not merely meant to be a chronology of events for them; rather their run has always been against the time; they have
encountered endless roughness of time to make their presence felt in the land of colonisers. Eventually, they have made their own time, set the time beyond its conventional flow by
challenging a range of burning realities from the impact of decolonisation, racial discriminations to the formation of post-ethnic identity. South Asian diasporas in Britain have
undergone several stages of cultural metamorphosis and now have crossed the peripheral threshold of Britishness. This is to say that they have transcended the framework of postcolonial
otherness to become British with completeness. These dislocated migrants are now situating themselves in a transcendental time of post-diasporic landscape celebrating the emergence of multicultural Britain. 
This paper will attempt to investigate South Asians and their times in Britain in the context of their cultural transformations.
WHEN: TUESDAY, July 23rd
PLACE: South Asian Studies Institute, UFV, Room F125

Hockey, Racism, Memory-Making: A Forum

The SASI Invites You to Attend Hockey, Racism and Memory-Making. A forum based on the SASI exhibit 'We Are Hockey.' The forum will feature a keynote address by Dr. Courtney Szto, whose PhD research informed the SASI exhibit.

Other speakers include Bhupinder Singh Hundal, a Producer with the CBC and Shan Dhaliwal, a SASI Research Assistant.

WHERE: Sikh Heritage Museum, National Historic Site, Gur Sikh Temple 33089 South Fraser Way, Abbotsford, BC

WHEN: Tuesday, May 28th, 10AM-12PM

Langar (a vegetarian communal meal will follow the forum).

All are invited to attend


‌‌‌‌'We Are Hockey": An Exhibit at the Sikh Heritage Museum Curated by the South Asian Studies Institute

The South Asian Studies Institute is pleased to present its next exhibit at the Sikh Heritage Museum, National Historic Site, Gur Sikh Temple. The exhibit titled We Are Hockey looks at the experience of peoples of colour who have contributed to the iconic Canadian sport of ice hockey. The exhibit opening reception, on March 29, 2019 at 5pm will feature the popular Hockey Night Punjabi Edition commentators Randip Janda and Harnarayan Singh. 

To view the virtual exhibit, please visit: We Are Hockey.

All are welcome to attend the opening reception.

WHEN: Friday, March 29th, 2019

TIME: 5pm



The South Asian Studies Institute is pleased to be an organizing partner for UFV's first ever Valley Fest.

See below for your chance to drop by during the week of March 11-15th, 2019 for some great opportunities to learn and engage:

Monday, March 11th: (All day): The SASI will display its first exhibit highlighting the stories of some of the first Punjabi settlers in the Valley.

Tuesday, March 12th: (All day): The SASI will display its first exhibit highlighting the stories of some of the first Punjabi settlers in the Valley.

Thursday, March 14th: (6pm): You're invited to learn some bhangra dance moves with an experienced instructor.

Friday, March 15th (6pm): The SASI is proud to partner with the UFV Department of English to bring in up and coming author Harman Kaur, who will be reading from her book Phulkari.


‌November 30, 2018 at UFV Abbotsford Campus

9 – 5 pm

The South Asian Studies Institute (SASI) invites abstracts for its second South Asia Research Symposium. Building on the 2017 symposium which invited scholars to reflect on their idea(s) of the understanding and representation of South Asia in Canada, we open a broader conversation about how we address South Asia and South Asian Canadians’ evolving experiences across different disciplines, sectors, and modes of expression.
‘South Asia’ as a region in part is a complex enigma when it becomes attached to Canadian diaspora experience(s). This call for papers seeks scholarly work that:

  • Critically examines the ways in which specific disciplines reflect, investigate, teach and research South Asia and evolving South Asian Canadian Diaspora experiences and narratives
  • Investigates and interprets the evolution of ways in which South Asian Canadians define, explore and represent themselves as South Asian Canadian
  • Responds to whether there are coherent body politics that adopt a taxonomy of ‘South Asian Canadian’ and the ensuing ramifications

Our aim is to continue the dialogue on the intersections between retrospection, identification, and aesthetic within Canadian teaching, research, performance, critique and translation.

If you are interested in registering for this symposium, please email:


UFV Research Encounters lectures focus on innovation — Nov 20 and 29

The Research Encounters series will feature one UFV faculty member and one guest lecturer from India.

Dr. Jon Thomas, who holds the BC Regional Chair in Canada-India Partnership Development at UFV and is a faculty member in the School of Business, will speak on Tues, Nov 20, from 4 to 6 pm, in University House (Room F124) on the UFV Abbotsford campus.

Dr. Thomas will speak on the topic of Building an Innovation Ecosystem.

“Innovation and entrepreneurship are increasingly important in a rapidly changing world,” he notes “The Fourth Industrial Revolution will transform existing industries and create new ones. How can universities, firms, governments, and individuals be better prepared to benefit from this transformation?”

Join Dr. Thomas as he discusses the need to build an innovation ecosystem to accelerate innovation and entrepreneurship in the Fraser Valley.

Dr. Arjun Kalyanpur, a visiting lecturer from India, will speak on Thurs, Nov 29 from 4 to 6 pm, also in University House (Room F124) on the UFV Abbotsford campus.

His topic will be Teleradiology: options for Canada and the story of a start-up.

Dr. Kalyanpur is CEO and founder of Teleradiology Solutions, a global health-care company headquartered in Bangalore that reports radiology scans for over 150 hospitals worldwide. The organization was showcased to former U.S. President Barack Obama on his visit to India in 2010.

He will speak on teleradiology and its relevance to Canada (particularly in remote locations and for First Nations). The talk will also cover the business aspects of scaling this tech start-up in India.

The series is co-presented by the UFV offices of Advancement and Research, Engagement and Graduate Studies.

You are all invited to attend a reading from the winning authors and finalists of the 2018 Dhahan Prize for Punjabi Literature

Wednesday, October 24th, 2018


South Asian Studies Institute

University of Fraser Valley

33844 King Road, Abbotsford, BC

Room F125 Uhouse

History Missed Her Story - Gendered Perspectives on the Indian Diaspora in East Africa - A Lecture by Dr. Renu Modi 

Date: May 28, 2018

Time: 1-2pm

Venue: South Asian Studies Institute, Room F125, Abbotsford 

UFV Campus 

This presentation attempts to highlight the role of women who immigrated with their entrepreneurial husband

and families to East Africa in the late 19th and early 20th century. Through a study of select auto-biographical
writings by Asian businessmen, it showcases the relentless determination of these entrepreneurs and their endeavours
to achieve business goals and thus make visible the positive role of Asians in the economic development of East Africa.


Amardeep Singh's latest book "THE QUEST CONTINUES: LOST HERITAGE The Sikh Legacy in Pakistan‌" motivates all communities to become aware of their past, and through it, learn to live in harmony for mutal progress.

 Learn more about the book at the book launch and get a chance to interact with the author- Amardeep Singh 

 When: Saturday, March 24, 12-2pm 

 Where: Gur Sikh Temple 33089 South Fraser Way, Abbotsford BC

 All are welcome 

 Copies of both books will be available for cash purchase.


Desis in the Diaspora 

Please join us for artist talk and keynote address.

Featured Exhibit by Jagdeep Singh Raina 

A new Legacy Hall will be unveiled. 

When: Sunday, June 10th, 3-5pm

Where: Sikh Heritage Museum National Histroric Site Gur Sikh Temple, 33089 South Fraser Way, Abbotsford BC

A play, written and performed in Punjabi by Mazhar Tirmazi

Focusing on the separation from homeland and longing for it in the context of Partition of 1947, Mazhar Tirmazi's Ummran Langhiyan Pabbhan Bhar [A Lifetime on Tiptoes] draws attention to syncretic cultural values and human interaction that can forge connections in a world marred by violence, prejudice, and communalism.

When: Sunday, 8 Oct 2017 2:00-3:30 pm
Where: Matsqui Centennial Auditorium, 32315 South Fraser Way, Abbotsford

Poster for South Asian Global Forum

Between Indigenous and Immigrant: South Asian Migrations in Global History

‌Keynote: Gaiutra Bahadur, Conjure Women and Coolie Women

When: Thursday, 26 Oct 2017 4:30-6:00 pm

Where: DSB C126

Free and Open to the Public

Due to Limited Space - Friday and Saturday Workshop Registration Required:
Friday, October 27, 2017, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. (Fraser 152 & 142)
Saturday, October 28, 2017, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. (Fraser 142)


View our detailed brochure.


S‌ASI Symposium 2017

The theme for the 2017 symposium is Sharing Our Understanding of South Asia as a geographic, cultural, political, economic, linguistic, religious, diasporic, historical and contemporary phenomenon. 

Important Dates: 

Submission of abstract: October 15, 2017 

Acceptance of response: October 30, 2017

Symposium: November 30, 2017 2-6pm 

Where: SASI Seminar Room F125

A gathering of Poets and Writers on 5 Oct at UFV Abby campus

‌Readings and discussion in English and Punjabi

When: October 5th, 2017, 3:00-6:00 pm
Where: Room F-125, University House, University of the Fraser Valley, Abbotsford

‌South Asian Canadian Digital Archive, ‌‌Knowledge Mobilization Workshop

workshop poster
When: 24th and 25th of August, 2017
Hosted by: South Asian Studies Institute, University of the Fraser Valley
Centre for India and South Asia Research and Department of Asian Studies, University of British Columbia
Royal BC Museum, Victoria, BC.

SACDA workshop program‌.

You are invited to our first open house

Open house poster

Join us in our first open house since our rebranding.

All are welcome - do drop by

When: Thursday, 7th of September, 2017: 1 pm-5 pm
Where: F125, Uhouse, South Asian Studies Institute, Abbotsford campus.

Schedule: 3:00 pm - Cake cutting
                   3:15 pm - Speakers
                   3:30 pm - Bhangra performance

*Refreshments will be served

Contact or email: for more information.

C‌all for Artists(Young Contemporaries) for Desis in the Diaspora 2018 Exhibition‌

Call for artists poster

‌Call for young Canadian contemporaries artists to submit photographic work which reflects upon Canadians of South Asian heritage - now and in the past.

Work should reflect the artist's ideas or perspectives on the diversity of:
Experiences | Aesthetics | Cultural Embodiments | Religious Symbols

Submission Deadline: September 30, 2017

For more details email us at:

‌SASI welcomes Dr. Gurvel Singh Malhi

Event Invitation poster

Dr.Malhi is presenting his views on "The issues raised, political agenda, nature of leadership, sub-regional patterns in electoral behaviour, speehces and statements in the recent Punjab elections."

When: 21st of Wednesday, 2017: 12 noon-1pm
Where: F125, Uhouse, South Asian Studies Institute

Sikh Heritage Museum Exhibit Launch Commemorating Canada 150:

(Dis) Enfranchisement 1907-1947: The Forty-Year Struggle for the Vote

with black fontTIME: 1:30PM
WHERE: Sikh Heritage Museum, National Historic Site Gur Sikh Temple: 33089 South Fraser Way, Abbotsford, BC.

ALL ARE WELCOME and the exhibit is available for viewing year long.

Read more about Canada 150.

Contact Us