Charles M. Townsend

Charles M TownsendLecturer in Religious Studies

Biography:

Charles M. Townsend is a Lecturer in the department of Religious Studies at UCR. His research interests include Asian religions at ‘home’ and ‘in diaspora’; Sikh Studies; religious diversity and religion, race, and ethnicity in America; lived religion; new religious movements; sacred sound; and religious ritual and performance. He is currently writing his first book, an ethnographic and historical study of transnational Sikhism, focused especially on the internationally mobile performers of Gurbani kirtan (musical performance of the hymns of the Guru Granth Sahib, the primary Sikh scripture) and the mass movement to teach young Sikhs outside of India how to perform Sikh sacred music.

Degrees:

Ph.D. Religious Studies, University of California, Riverside

M.A. Religious Studies, University of California, Riverside

B.A. (Summa Cum Laude) Religious Studies/Comparative Cultures (double major), Whittier College

Recent Publications:

Editor of a Special Issue of Sikh Formations: Religion, Culture, Theory on “Sikh Texts, Practices, and  Performances”, Vol. 10, No. 3 (December). Routledge Periodicals, Taylor and Francis Group, 2014.

“’Keeping the Faith Alive’: Teaching Sikh Kirtan in America” in Sikh Formations: Religion, Culture, Theory, Vol. 10, No. 3 (December), 355-354. Routledge Periodicals, Taylor and Francis Group, 2014.

“Introduction: Engaging Sikh Texts, Practices, and Performances” in Sikh Formations: Religion, Culture, Theory, Vol. 10, No. 3 (December), 285-298. Routledge Periodicals, Taylor and Francis Group, 2014.

“The Darbar Sahib” in The Oxford Handbook of Sikh Studies. Singh and Fenech, eds. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014.

“’Performance’ and ‘Lived Religion’ Approaches as New Ways of ‘Re-Imagining’ Sikh Studies”

in Re-Imagining South Asian Religions: Essays in Honour of Professors Harold G. Coward and Ronald W. Neufeldt. Numen Book Series: Studies in the History of Religions. Singh and Hawley, eds. Boston, MA and Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill Publications, 2013.

Gurbani Kirtan and the Performance of Sikh Identity in California” in Sikhism in Global Context. Edited by Pashaura Singh. New York, Oxford, and New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2011.

Classes taught at UCR:

Religious Myths and Rituals, Introduction to Asian Religions, World Religions in California, Religion and Human Rights

Contact: charles.townsend@ucr.edu