Professor Nirinjan Kaur Khalsa-Baker, Ph.D. has served as Clinical Professor of Jain and Sikh Studies (2015-2018) and Acting Director Graduate Yoga Studies (2019-2020).
Dr. Khalsa-Baker's research, teaching, and publications use a decolonial lens to explore diversity in Sikh pedagogy and praxis and the ways in which Sikh wisdom, its mystical and embodied nature, cultivate an ethic of care, service, and sustainability in daily life.
Dr. Khalsa-Baker currently serves as Faculty Advisor to LMU's Sikh Student Association and Interfaith Council, as Co-Chair of the Sikh Studies Unit at the American Academy of Religion as well as its Western Region, as co-editor of the Monsoon Journal for the South Asian Studies Association and on the editorial board of Sikh Formations: Religion, Culture, Theory.
For over twenty years, Nirinjan Khalsa-Baker has learned from 13th generation memory bearer of Sikh devotional music (Gurbani Kirtan) Bhai Baldeep Singh, who honored her as the first female exponent of the Sikh drumming tradition (Amritsari baaj). As a Fulbright Fellow she traveled throughout Northern India exploring both historic and modern Sikh devotional music with particular attention paid to the ideological debates and identity politics surrounding its pedagogy and history.
University of Michigan: Ph.D., Asian Language & Cultures 2014
Areas of Expertise (5)
Graduate Yoga Studies/ Graduate Theological Studies: Yoga Philosophy: Text and Practice. Comparative Mysticism Upper Division Theological Studies/Asian & Pacific Studies Sikhism: Warrior Saints Hinduism, Jainism, Yoga Upper Division Theological Studies: God and the Human Experience Major & Minor Seminar on Religious Thinker: Sikh Gurus Major & Minor Seminar on Religious Theme: Sacred Sound Lower Division: In Search of a Way: Spirituality, Faith, Culture Comparative Theology Study Abroad – Delhi & Amritsar, India Jainism and Sikhism (Graduate Yoga Studies & Uberoi Foundation)
PublicationsPeer-Review Journals, Book Chapters, Online, Open-Access
2022. Digital Book Chapter. “The Necessity of a Decolonial Frame: Undoing the Inscriptions of Colonial Modernity in the Study of Sikh Musical Traditions.” Dialogues on Decolonization. International Council for Traditional Music. 2021. “The Painful Process of Awakening: Harm and Healing in the Healthy Happy Holy Kundalini Yoga Community.” Sacred Matters: Religious Currents in Culture. 2021. “Letter 53.” American Values Religious Voices. 100 Days. 100 Letters to Biden administration. March 13. 2020. Co-Authored Book Chapter. “Brief History of Yoga & Philosophy.” The Aquarian Teacher: Kundalini Yoga International Teacher Training Manual. Kundalini Research Institute. 2019. Journal Editor “Music and Poetics of Devotion in the Jain and Sikh Traditions.” Sikh Formations: Religion, Culture, Theory. Vol. 15., Issue 1-2. Routledge. 2019. Journal Article: “Engendering the Female Voice in Sikh Devotional Music.” Sikh Formations: Religion, Culture, Theory. Vol. 15., Issue 1-2. Routledge. 2019. Journal Article: “Introduction: Music and poetics of devotion in the Jain and Sikh traditions.” Sikh Formations: Religion, Culture, Theory. Vol. 15., Issue 1-2. Routledge. 2019. Co-Authored Book Chapter with Francesca Cassio “Singing Dharam: Decolonizing the Sikh Sonic Path in the 21st Century.” Beacons of Dharma. Lexington Books. 2018. Journal Article: “The Ecology of Sikh Diasporic Feminisms: Interconnected Ethics of Seva and Sovereignty.” Sikh Formations: Religion, Culture, Theory. Routledge. 2018. Magazine Article: “Interconnected Ethics: Living as Warrior-Saints for the Freedom and Equality of All.” Nishaan Nagaara. 2017. Encyclopedia Article: “Music (Sikh Popular and Religious)” Encyclopedia of Indian Religions: Sikhism. Volume 8. Springer. 2017. Encyclopedia Article: “Ragis (in Sikh Kirtan Tradition).” Encyclopedia of Indian Religions: Sikhism. Volume 8. Springer. 2017. National Campaign: “Letter 85.” American Values Religious Voices. 100 Days. 100 Letters to President Trump, Vice President Pence, Members of the 115th Congress and select members of the Trump administration. April 14. Forthcoming: 2022. American Values Religious Voices. 100 Days. 100 Letters. “Letter 53” March 13 & “Embodying Religious Wisdom as a Daily Practice” 2022. Book Chapter. “Sikhs and Social Media.” Sikh World. Routledge. 2022. A Sikh Diasporic Feminist Intervention: Diasporicity and Decolonization.” Sikh Formations. Routledge.
2014. Journal Article: “Renegotiating Orthopraxy in the Presence of the Bani Guru.” Sikh Formations: Religion, Culture, Theory. Vol. 10., Issue 3. Routledge. 2012. Journal Article: “When Gurbani Sings a Healthy Happy Holy Song.” Sikh Formations: Religion, Culture, Theory. Vol 8., Issue 3. Routledge. 2012. Journal Article: “Gurbani Kirtan Renaissance: Reviving Musical Memory, Reforming Sikh Identity.” Sikh Formations: Religion, Culture, Theory. Vol 8., Issue 2. Routledge. 2009. Book Review: Inside the Guru’s Gate: Ritual uses of texts among the Sikhs in Varanasi by Kristina Myrvold 2007, Sikh Formations: Religion, Culture, Theory. Vol. 5., Issue 1. Routledge. 2009. Editor & Contributor. “Dagur Vani: The Mind and Art of Allabande Rahimuddin Khan.” World Music Heritage Series, Vocal: Dhrupad. Vol. 1.