Thematic Research Areas
Regional Research Areas
Ph.D., Columbia University, 2005.
M.A., University of Washington, 1995.
B.A., Brown University, 1990.
On study leave January 1 – December 31, 2021.
Anne Murphy is an Associate Professor in the Department of History. She was founder (in 2019) and Founding Lead of the Interdisciplinary Histories Research Cluster at UBC from 2019-2021, and continues as Associate Lead with Dr. Hallie Marshall (UBC Department of Theatre and Film) in the 2021-22 academic year. (For more about the Cluster and its work, see: https://histories-cluster.ubc.ca/). She served as Director of the Centre for India and South Asia Research in the Institute of Asian Research/School for Public Policy and Global Affairs from 1 July 2019 to 31 August 2020, and Co-Director from 2017-2019, and Associate Dean in the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (2018-2020). She was elected to the UBC Senate, representing the Joint Faculties, from 2017-2020. She is a member of the Migration Cluster (now the Centre for Migration Studies).
Dr. Murphy is a cultural historian, with research interests in Punjab and within the Punjabi Diaspora, as well as more broadly in South Asia, with particular attention to the historical formation of religious communities and special but not exclusive attention to the Sikh tradition. Temporally, her work focuses on the early modern to the modern period, and modern literary production and memorial practices. Her monograph, The Materiality of the Past: History and Representation in Sikh Tradition (Oxford University Press, 2012), explored the construction of Sikh memory and historical consciousness in textual forms and in relation to material representations and religious sites from the eighteenth century to the present. She edited a thematically related volume entitled Time, History and the Religious Imaginary in South Asia (Routledge, 2011), and has pursued her continuing interests in commemoration and memorial practices in a volume entitled Partition and the Practice of Memory (Palgrave, 2018), co-edited with Churnjeet Mahn (Strathclyde University). Dr. Murphy has published articles in History and Theory, Studies in Canadian Literature, South Asian History and Culture, the Journal of the American Academy of Religion, the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, and other journals, and has been editor or co-editor of three special journal issues. She has engaged in numerous Public Humanities and Arts projects over the last five years that have furthered these interests (see below under “Current Research Projects”). As indicated on that list, Dr. Murphy is currently pursuing research on the history of the Punjabi language and the early modern and modern emergence of Punjabi literature, for which she has received major funding from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council from 2017-22.
Dr. Murphy has initiated an oral history program in the UBC Punjabi program, in partnership with her colleague Skuhwant Hundal, who retired from UBC in 2019 (see https://punjabi.arts.ubc.ca/research/ and http://blogs.ubc.ca/annemurphy/oral-history/intro/), and teaches classes in the Department of Asian Studies on the vernacular literary and religious traditions of South Asia, South Asian cultural history, and the Punjabi Diaspora. In History, she has taught “From Raj to Republic” (HIST 385) and will teach a two term series of courses on the history of the Sikh tradition. She served until June 30, 2019 as Chair (2016-18) and then co-Chair (2018-19) of the “Religion, Literature and the Arts” Interdisciplinary Program, and continues as a Faculty Advisor in the new Religious Studies program and the “Asian Candian and Asian Migration Studies” program.
Modern Punjabi language and literature across borders: This project documents and analyzes the advocacy movement for the Punjabi language and its literature across national boundaries since the 1940s, with a focus on its secular commitments and its relationship to religious mobilization. Dr. Murphy received SSHRC Insight Development grant support for initial research on this project from 2013-5 (extended to 2016) and major Insight Grant support to complete the research from 2017-22. As a part of this project, Dr. Murphy acted as Contributor, Lead for Punjabi literature, and member of Advisory Board for DELI, the Encyclopedic Dictionary of Indian Literatures, a project emerging out of four French institutional partners: the academic research teams THALIM (Theory and History of Arts of Literatures in Modernity), MII (Iranian and Indian Worlds) and CERC (Centre for Comparatist Research and Studies), and the laboratory Résurgences. Resulting volumes will be published in 2021 (delay due to Covid-19 is expected). During her 2021 study leave, Dr. Murphy will complete the manuscript for a monograph on Punjabi language advocacy and literary production in India and Pakistan, and is extending this to document the history of Punjabi in Canada with the support of funding from the UBC VPRI office’s Program for Undergraduate Research Experience (PURE), which is enabling UBC students to conduct oral history interviews among those involved in Punjabi language education and literary work in BC, from 2019-21.
Dr. Murphy delivered an online lecture on 2 June 2020 on the work of Indian Punjabi author Daleep Kaur Tiwana, as a part of the Lyallpur Young Historians Club online lecture series. An essay on this topic will be published in the forthcoming edited volume Punjabi Centuries, edited by Dr. Anshu Malhotra (University of California at Santa Barbara), and an extended and revised version in her forthcoming monograph. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HvPQDyJQymY
Punjabi in the (late) vernacular millennium: The historical formations of Punjabi language and literature: This project examines the historical emergence of the Punjabi language in relation to broader theories of vernacularization in north India, and particularly with reference to religious community articulation. This project emerges out of and alongside the research undertaken on modern Punjabi language and literature, to account for the historical formations of Punjabi and its manifestation in Sufi and Sikh contexts. As a visiting Fellow at Max-Weber-Kolleg, Universität Erfurt, Germany from May-July 2017 Dr. Murphy explored early Punjabi’s religious valences in relation to broader theories of vernacularization and religious individualization (the then-ongoing project at Max-Weber-Kolleg); she will continue work along these lines with the Max Weber Kolleg in 2021-2 as a part of the Kolleg’s new project on religion and urbanity.
Intersections with the Arts: Punjabi cultural production, the contemporary arts, and historical practice: Dr. Murphy has begun to develop a large-scale partnership project that will draw together a range of cultural historical work and contemporary creative practice across institutions and individual artists and scholars in Canada, the UK, Europe, India and Pakistan. The early developmental phase of this project, which has been underway since 2013, has included a number of initiatives, such as a theatrical production in Punjabi and English completed for the commemoration of the Komagata Maru incident in 2014 (for details, see: http://blogs.ubc.ca/punjabisikhstudies/research/km2014/) and a major project entitled “Trauma, Memory and the Story of Canada” completed in 2017 in association with her role in the South Asian Canadian Histories Association (https://www.sachacanada.ca/); both projects engaged the visual arts and performance in engagement with the past. Murphy organized an exploratory workshop, funded by the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies, in 2017 along such lines. To enhance related work at UBC and coordinate with pedagogical initiatives, in 2017-8 she co-organized with Professor Hallie Marshall (UBC Theatre and Film) a seminar series to promote collaboration across departments at UBC entitled “Enacting Culture/s: Theatre and Film Across Disciplines.” She was a project team member for a project called “Creative Interruptions,” funded by a grant held by Churnjeet Mahn (University of Strathclyde, UK) from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK), 2016-19 that, in its Punjabi component, explores the history and memorialization of a shared pre-Partition religious past today in the Indian Punjab through artists’ residencies in Fall 2018 and an exhibition in Amritsar and Preet Nagar, India, in February 2019, and in London in June 2019. That project was extended in 2019-21 with a set of artist residencies in Lahore, Pakistan in December 2019, it will culminate in an exhibition at The Reach Gallery Museum in Abbotsford BC planned for summer 2021 (delayed from summer 2020 due to Covid-19) that will bring together the work created in India and Pakistan to consider the ways the once-shared past of the whole of Punjab can or might be remembered in the present through creative practice. The exhibition at The Reach will enhance public discourse on the Public Humanities and their role in guiding and shaping our exchange with the past with the support of a SSHRC Partnership Engage grant.
Professor Murphy received her Ph.D. from Columbia University and her Master’s degree from the University of Washington. She previously taught in the Religious Studies and Historical Studies Concentrations at The New School in New York City, and has a professional background in pre-collegiate education and museums. She is from New York City.
For more on Dr. Murphy’s work, see http://blogs.ubc.ca/annemurphy/
Partition and the Practice of Memory. Edited with Churnjeet Mahn (University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland). Palgrave UK, 2018.
The Materiality of the Past: History and Representation in Sikh Tradition (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012).
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.
Forthcoming in 2021 (significantly delayed due to Covid-19):
Grieving for Pigeons: Stories of Lahore by Zubair Ahmed, translated by Anne Murphy. Book-length translation of the Punjabi language short stories of Lahore-based author Zubair Ahmed. Athabasca University Press (open access). Publication delayed due to Covid-19; expected in March 2022.
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: https://doi.org/10.1080/17448727.2019.1674513).
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).
Selected Journal Articles and Book Chapters:
“Sikhism.” In The Encyclopedia of Philosophy of Religion (eds C. Taliaferro and S. Goetz). Wiley, 2021. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781119009924.eopr0367
“The Territorialization of Sikh Pasts.” In Routledge Handbook of South Asian Religions, edited by Knut Jacobsen, 205-221. Routledge, 2021
“Ghair-Puṅjābaṇ” (“Non-Punjabi”), Bārāṅ Māṅ, Literary journal published in Lahore, Pakistan (Vol 2, 2020): 163-171. In Punjabi.
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: https://doi.org/10.1080/17448727.2019.1674513). Pre-publication, final full-text: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/74585
“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. https://www.degruyter.com/viewbooktoc/product/498381?rskey=qmtzPy&result=1 or ttps://doi.org/10.1515/9783110580853). (Or, through cIRcle: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/74586)
“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. https://crossasia-books.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/xasia/reader/download/387/387-43-84778-1-10-20190502.pdf
“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. http://hdl.handle.net/2429/74587
“Thinking beyond Aurangzeb and the Mughal State in a late 18th 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,” in 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.https://jisasr.org/current-issue-volume-4-2017/ (Or cIRcle: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/74588)
“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.
Dr. Murphy received the UBC Dean of Arts Research Award in W2017, and was a Wall Scholar at the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies at UBC in 2016-7; a Visiting Fellow at the Max-Weber-Kolleg Centre for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies at the Universität Erfurt, Germany from May to July 2017; and Directeur d’Études Associé (Associate Director) of L’École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris in June 2019. She was Visiting Faculty at Delhi University in February 2015 and at University of Punjab, Lahore in December 2019, and will return to the Max-Weber-Kolleg in 2021 and 2022 as a Visiting Fellow, if travel restrictions related to Covid-19 allow.