The Materiality of the Past: History and Representation in Sikh Tradition New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.


Grieving for Pigeons: Twelve Stories of Lahore, by Zubair Ahmed, translated by Anne Murphy. Athabasca University Press, 2022. (Open Access)


Dūje Pāse toṅ (“From the other Side”): Arts Across the Border, from the two Punjabs. Exhibition catalog, for exhibition at The Reach Gallery Museum, Abbotsford, BC, 28 May to September 7, 2021. Published by The Reach Gallery Museum, 2023.

Edited/Co-edited volumes

Co-editor, with Anshu Malhotra (University of California, Santa Barbara). Bhai Vir Singh (1872-1957): Religious and literary modernities in Colonial and Postcolonial Indian Punjab. New York: Routledge, Critical Sikh Studies Series, 2023.

Co-editor, with Churnjeet Mahn (University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland). Partition and the Practice of Memory. London: Palgrave UK, 2018.

Editor, Time, History, and the Religious Imaginary in South Asia (Routledge, 2011). Includes work by: Aparna Balachandran (Delhi University), Varuni Bhatia (Michigan), Nicolas Dejenne (Sorbonne), Purnima Dhavan (University of Washington), James Hare (Columbia University), James Hegarty (Cardiff), Rajeev Kinra (Northwestern), Arvind-pal Singh Mandair (Michigan), Rastin Mehri (SOAS), Christian Novetzke (University of Washington), and Teena Purohit (Boston University), as well as my introductory essay.

Journal Special Issue Editor

Co-editor of a special issue of Sikh Formations: Religion, Culture, Theory with Anshu Malhotra (University of California, Santa Barbara) entitled Bhai Vir Singh (1872-1957): Rethinking Literary Modernity in Colonial Punjab, 16: 1-2 (DOI:

Co-editor of a special issue of the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 28, 3 (2018) with Heidi Pauwels (University of Washington) entitled “From Outside the Persianate Center: Vernacular Views on Ālamgīr.” Contributors: Emilia Bachrach (Oberlin College), Véronique Bouillier (EHESS, Paris), Allison Busch (Columbia), Monika Horstmann (Heidelberg), Samira Sheikh (Vanderbilt), Cynthia Talbot (UT Austin), and the editors.

Guest editor for issue of Sikh Formations: Religion, Culture, Theory 3, 2 (December 2007) 93-209 for issue, 93-109 for my introductory essay; topic: “Time and history in South Asian Pasts.” Contributors include: Purnima Dhavan (Washington), James Hare (Columbia University), Rajeev Kinra (Northwestern), Christian Novetzke (Washington), and Teena Purohit (Boston University). Essays from this issue were included, with the addition of others, in Time, History, and the Religious Imaginary in South Asia (see above).

Digital Humanities Projects:

Jīvan Bol, ਜੀਵਨ ਬੋਲ, جیون بول – words for living, in initial stages

Dr. Murphy has collaborated recently with colleagues on a project that brings together image, spoken text, and the mediated word. The project is entitled Jīvan Bol, ਜੀਵਨ ਬੋਲ, جیون بول – words for living – and is pursued in collaboration with filmmaker Nicholás Grandi (Argentina) and Dr. Asma Qadri and Dr. Naveeda Alam (Pakistan). The project consists of video-poems exploring the work of Punjabi writer and critic, Najm Hosain Syed: first experimentation along these lines is available at:  Dr. Murphy seeks to pursue further work along these lines, towards a multi-dimensional video/web project with these collaborators and Najm Hosain Syed’s family foundation to develop a Web interface for his printed works that will make them accessible across the scripts Punjabi is written in (Shahmukhi in Pakistan and Gurmukhi in India), and provide video and spoken word commentary to accompany these “printed” (on screen) texts, across the oral/written divide.

“Modern Punjabi Literature & Arts,” 2013-2023

Dr. Murphy has documented the development of modern Punjabi literature and its politics across national boundaries through oral history collection as well as traditional archival and textual inquiry, with interviews collected in India, Pakistan, the UK, and Canada; these are in part available at (more interviews will be added). Originally, Dr. Murphy sought to understand the articulation of the secular in modern Punjabi literary circles; this was the focus of the project “Transnational modern Punjabi literature and the pursuit of the secular,” for which she received Canadian federal funding (through the Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the premiere federal granting agency in Canada), from 2013-6. Dr. Murphy then received major grant funding from the same agency for the larger project on progressive elements in Punjabi literature in India and Pakistan: “Writing Punjabi across borders: The poetics and politics of a transnational language movement” (CAD$285,000 total over five years, extended to six, 2017-22/23). Her current book manuscript has emerged out of this research, and the “Punjabi in BC,” project represents its extension in the Canadian context.

Punjabi in BC,” 2019-2023.

This project has involved the documentation of the oral histories of K-12 teachers, language advocates and activists, and writers involved in promoting and using the Punjabi language in British Columbia, Canada. With a generous grant from the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation at UBC, Dr. Murphy pursued the project with Collaborators Sukhwant Hundal and Lovneet Aujla by hiring and training UBC undergraduates and recent graduates to undertake interviews and then edit them for release to the public. These interviews were released in 2020 and then over the course of the spring of 2023 over the Web, Facebook, and Instagram, and will be made available through UBC library and the South Asian Canadian Digital Archive, housed at the University of the Fraser Valley.

Caste in Canada,” 2020-2023.

Dr. Murphy has also worked with Dr. Suraj Yengde, a public intellectual and scholar in Dalit Studies, to record the histories of Dalit Canadians, and of those who are engaged in anti-caste work: the project was funded with a SSHRC Partnership Engagement grant. The official launch of the project, and release of videos to the public, will take place at an event in conjunction with the Chetna Association of Canada, in October 2023.

“Digital humanities approaches to the study of Sikh tradition,” 2017-8

This project involved graduate students in the analysis of the Sikh scripture utilizing digitial humanities-enabled data analysis. It has resulted in one book chapter, and is being furthered with additional research in 2023-2024.

Selected Journal Articles and Book Chapters:

“The Possibility of the Secular: Sikh Engagements with Modern Punjabi Literature,” in The Sikh World, edited by Arvind Mandair and Pashaura Singh, 287-299. July 2023.

“Waliullah Is Lost,” translation by Anne Murphy of a story of Zubair Ahmad, excerpted from Grieving for Pigeons (2022), listed above, reprinted on Vancouver-based Rungh online magazine, May 2023: [Accessed 23 May 2023].

“War Outside the State: Religious Communities, Martiality, and State Formation in Early Modern South Asia” in The Cambridge Companion on Religion and War, edited by Margo Kitts (Cambridge UK: Cambridge University Press).

“The emergence of the social in service of the Guru,” in Religious Authority in South Asia: Generating the Guru, edited by István Keul (University of Bergen) and Srilata Raman (Toronto), 84-106. London/New York: Routledge, 2022.

“Which urbanity? Secondary urban centres and their attendant religious formations,” Religion and Urbanity Online, Jörg Rüpke and Susanne Rau, eds. (Max Weber Kolleg, Universität Erfurt, Germany). De Gruyter, 2022. Open Access.

“Remembering Against Sentimentality: Partition’s Literary Shadows in the work of Najm Hosain Syed (b. 1936)” for special issue of the Journal of Commonwealth Literature, edited by Kamran Asdar Ali (University of Texas, Austin Texas, USA), Om Dwivedi (Auro University in Surat, India) and Tabish Khair (Aarhus University, Denmark). 57, 3 (2022): 501-519.

“Modern Punjabi literature and the Spectre of Sectarian Histories” for special issue of the Cracow Indological Studies journal, vol. 23: History and Other Engagements with the Past in Modern South Asian Writing/s, co-edited by Piotr Borek and Monika Browarczyk. Vol. XXIII, 2 (2021): 91–118. Open Access. 10.12797/CIS.23.2021.02.04

“Sikhism.” In The Encyclopedia of Philosophy of Religion (eds C. Taliaferro and S. Goetz). Wiley, 2021.

The Territorialization of Sikh Pasts.” In Routledge Handbook of South Asian Religions, edited by Knut Jacobsen, 205-221. Routledge, 2021.

Introduction, with Anshu Malhotra, to co-edited special journal issue of Sikh Formations: Religion, Culture, Theory entitled Bhai Vir Singh (1872-1957): Rethinking Literary Modernity in Colonial Punjab, , 16: 1-2, 1-13 (DOI: Pre-publication, final full-text:

“Relics in the Sikh Tradition.” In The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Material Religion, Vasudha Narayanan, ed., 356-371. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2020.

Ghair-Puṅjābaṇ” (“Non-Punjabi”), Bārāṅ Māṅ, Literary journal published in Lahore, Pakistan (Vol 2, 2020): 163-171. In Punjabi.

“Encountering Difference and Identity in South Asian Religions” in Encountering the Other, edited by Laura Duhan Kaplan and Harry Maier, 39-48. Eugene, Oregon: Wipf and Stock, 2020.

“Sufis, Jogis, and the question of religious difference: Individualization in early modern Punjab through Waris Shah’s Hīr” in Religious Individualisations: Historical and Comparative Perspectives, editors Martin Fuchs, Antje Linkenbach, Martin Mulsow, Bernd-Christian Otto, Rahul Parson and Jörg Rüpke, 289-314. Berlin: de Gruyter, 2020. Open Access. or ttps:// (Or, through cIRcle:

Co-author with Churnjeet Mahn, Raghavendra Rao, Samia Singh, Ratika Singh, and Poonam Singh. “Re-Curating a Literary Utopia: Creative Resistance in Preet Nagar,” in Creativity and Resistance in a Hostile World, Sarita Malik, Churnjeet Mahn, Michael Pierse, and Ben Rogaly, eds, 181-210. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2020.

“La remémoration d’une présence perdue : le spectre de la Partition dans les nouvelles de Zubair Ahmed, auteur lahori de langue panjabi” in Raconter La Partition: Litterature, Cinema, Arts Plastiques (Telling the Partition: Literature, Cinema, Arts) edited by Anne Castaing, 63-96. Bruxelles: Peter Lang, 2019. Translation of an expanded version of “Remembering a lost presence: The specter of Partition in the stories of Lahore-based Punjabi-language author Zubair Ahmed,” in Partition and the Practice of Memory (2018) (see below).

“Punjabi in the (late) Vernacular Millennium” in Early Modern India: literature and images, texts and languages, edited by Maya Burger & Nadia Cattoni, 305-328. Heidelberg, Berlin: CrossAsia-eBooks, 2019. Open Access.

“Configuring community in colonial and pre-colonial imaginaries: Insights from the Khalsa Darbar records,” in Religious Interactions in Modern India, Martin Fuchs and Vasudha Dalmia, eds, 165-187. Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2019.

“At a Sufi-Bhakti Crossroads: Gender and the politics of satire in early modern Punjabi Sufi literature,” in Archiv orientální (Journal of African and Asian Studies) 86 (2018): 243-268. Open Access.

Thinking Beyond Aurangzeb and the Mughal State in a Late Eighteenth-Century Punjabi Braj Source.” In the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, Series 28, 3 (2018): 537-554. (Part of special issue edited by myself and Heidi Pauwels.)

“From Outside the Persianate Centre: Vernacular Views on “Ālamgīr,” with Heidi Pauwels (University of Washington), introduction to special issue in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, Series 28, 3 (2018): 409-414.

“Writing Punjabi Across Borders” South Asian History and Culture 9, 1 (2018): 68-91.

“Remembering a lost presence: The specter of Partition in the stories of Lahore-based Punjabi-language author Zubair Ahmed.” In Partition and the Practice of Memory, 231-254. London: Palgrave, 2018.

(Co-author.) “A future from the past” by the South Asian Canadian Histories Association Founding Collective (Naveen Girn, Anne Murphy, Raghavendra Rao K.V., Milan Singh, Paneet Singh), in Reflections of Canada: Illuminating our Biggest Possibilities and Challenges at 150+ Years, edited by Phillip Tortell and Margot Young, 151-160. Vancouver: Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies, 2017.

“The Utility of ‘South Asia’” In South Asian Review 38, 3 (2017): 91-98.

“Placing Max Arthur Macauliffe in context(s): Sikh historiographical traditions and colonial forms of knowledge,” for special issue of the Journal of the Irish Society for the Academic Study of Religions, 4 (2017): 58-73.  (Or cIRcle:

“Bajwa has nothing more to say.” Translation of a short story by Lahore-based Punjabi writer Zubair Ahmed, with Mr. Ahmed. In Pakistani Literature (Journal of the Pakistan Academy of Letters). 18, 1 (2015): 86-93.

“A Millennial Sovereignty? Recent Works on Sikh Martial and Political Cultures in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries,” A review article of When Sparrows Became Hawks: The Making of the Sikh Warrior Tradition, 1699–1799 by Purnima Dhavan; The Sikh Zafar-namah of Guru Gobind Singh: A Discursive Blade in the Heart of the Mughal Empire by Louis Fenech; Debating the Dasam Granth by Robin Rinehart; Sikh Militancy in the Seventeenth Century: Religious Violence in Mughal and Early Modern India by Hardip Singh Syan. In History of Religions, 55, 1 (August 2015): 89-104.

“Performing the Komagata Maru: Theatre and the Work of Memory.” In Studies in Canadian Literature 40, 1 (2015): 45-73.

“Dead Man’s Float.” Translation of a short story by Lahore-based Punjabi writer Zubair Ahmed, with Mr. Ahmed. In South Asian Ensemble: A Canadian Quarterly of Literature, Arts & Culture 7, 1 & 2 (Winter/Spring 2015): 158-165.

“The formation of the ethical Sikh subject in the era of British colonial reform,” revised and expanded version of essay published in 2013 conference proceedings (below). In Sikh Formations: Religion, Culture, Theory 11, 1 (2015): 149-159.

“Sikh Museuming.” In Sacred Objects in Secular Spaces: Exhibiting Asian Religions in Museums, edited by Bruce Sullivan (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2015), 49-64, 157.

“The uses of the ‘folk’: Cultural Historical Practice and the Modernity of the Guga Tradition.” In South Asian History and Culture 6, 4 (July 2015): 441-461. Reprinted as “Uses of the Folk: cultural historical practice and the Guga tradition” in Cultural Studies in India edited by Rana Nayar, Pushpinder Syal and Akhsaya Kumar, 117-138. New York: Routledge, 2016.

“A Diasporic Temporality: New narrative writing from Punjabi-Canada.” In Towards a Diasporic Imagination of the Present: An eternal sense of homelessness, edited by Tapati Bharadwaja, 9-30. Bangalore: Lies and Big Feet Press, 2015.

“Dissent and Diversity in South Asia Religions.” In The Management of Intramural Dissent on Core Beliefs (Cambridge Univ. Press), edited by Simone Chambers & Peter Nosco, 158-185. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015.

“The formation of the ethical Sikh subject in the era of British colonial reform,” in Conference Proceedings for `The Making of Modern Punjab: Education, Science and Social Change in Punjab c. 1850-c. 2000’, Panjab University (Chandigarh), October 24-26, 2013, pgs. 69-81.

“Defining the Religious and the Political: The Administration of Sikh Religious Sites in Colonial India and the Making of a Public Sphere.” For special issue on “Sikhs in Public Space” in Sikh Formations: Religion, Culture, Theory. 9, 1 (2013): 51-62.

“The gurbilas literature and the idea of ‘religion’.” In Punjab Reconsidered: History, Culture, and Practice, edited by Anshu Malhotra and Farina Mir, 93-115. New York and New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2012.

“March 1849, Lahore.” Short essay commissioned for “Beyond Britain” Forum in The Victorian Review 36, 1 (2010): 21-26.

“Objects, ethics, and the gendering of Sikh memory.” In Early Modern Women: An Interdisciplinary Journal 4 (2009): 161-168. Part of an interdisciplinary forum on “Early Modern Women and Material Culture.”

“The Guru’s Weapons.” In The Journal of the American Academy of Religion 77, 2 (June 2009): 1-30.

“Modern Punjabi Literature in Vancouver: A Portrait.”  In Sikh Formations: Religion, Culture, Theory 4, 2 (December 2008): 157-175.

“History in the Sikh Past.” In History and Theory 46, 2 (October 2007): 345-365.

“Materializing Sikh Pasts.” In Sikh Formations: Religion, Culture, Theory 1, 2 (December 2005): 175-200.

“Mobilizing seva (Service): Modes of Sikh diasporic action.” In South Asians in the Diaspora: Histories and Religious Traditions, 337-372, edited by Knut Axel Jacobsen and Pratap Kumar, 367-402 in online version. Leiden: Brill, 2004.

Translations of selected poems of the 15th century saint Ravidas. In Untouchable Saints: An Indian Phenomenon, 197-200, edited by Eleanor Zelliot and Rohini Mokashi-Punekar. Delhi: Manohar, 2004.