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Meet the Fellows: 2017 Newcombe Fellow Randeep Hothi

The Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship is the nation’s largest and most prestigious award for Ph.D. candidates in the humanities and social sciences addressing questions of ethical and religious values. The 2017 class of Fellows includes Randeep Hothi, a doctoral candidate in Asian languages and cultures at the University of Michigan—Ann Arbor. Mr. Hothi recalls a particular event that illustrates the topic of her dissertation:

In early 2015 news from a small southwestern village of Punjab reported the unmentionable. The Guru Granth Sahib—which is more than a sacred text, but the living preceptor through which the shackles of ego are broken—was found torn and scattered about the village. The subsequent devastation travelled globally, proliferated by Sikh television networks in England that broadcast news globally. The broadcast production I studied not only reported from the village, ensuing protests, and governmental responses, they also made sense of the unfolding events from the England studio as program hosts sought to persuade viewers about how to orient their politics vis-à-vis the Indian state. The disturbing event unfurled an array of responses that indicate the complex set of sensibilities at work in the diasporic Sikh community. At the same time, the activists who used Sikh television networks to convene a global Sikh audience found themselves working through incomplete knowledge, improvising on-air, and revising their accounts in light of new information. As such, I examined the constraints and powers that pulse through Sikh society as it creatively responds to the modern challenges it faces.

Mr. Hothi’s dissertation title is Sikhism Will Be Televised: Recognition and Religion-Making At Diasporic-Sikh Television Networks. For more information on the 2017 Newcombe Fellows and to see a list of their dissertation titles, click here.


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