This weekend I had the honor of presenting a paper at Jakara’s Sikholars Conference at Stanford. It was a great experience. It was wonderful learning from the much wiser and hearing about the cutting edge research Sikhs in academia are perusing.
The paper I presented was, “Guru, Kaur, & Dastar: An exploration of breaking conventional gender norms by adopting religious icons as a form of agency.” It was a synthesis of the survey I conducted in January of 2013 on the perceptions of Kaurs in dastars.
You can read it here: Guru, Kaur, & Dastar. It’s only about 15 pages long. The rest is appendix.
Only a few Kaurs (Sikh women) wear dastars (Sikh turban) when compared to their male counterparts. This paper explores the reasons that compel some Kaurs to wear the dastar and the reasons others do not. It also investigates the perceptions of Sikhs and non-Sikhs in regards to Kaurs wearing the dastar and compares them to the reality experienced by these Kaurs. The analysis is based on a survey of 107 Kaurs who do not wear dastars, 41 Kaurs who do wear dastars, and 73 Singhs (Sikh men); a total of 221 Sikhs were surveyed. The results show that despite what previous studies indicate, upon adopting the dastar, Kaurs are treated in a positive fashion by Sikhs and non-Sikhs. Lastly, the findings suggest that greater dialogue regarding this subject, in addition to a more supportive environment, would be beneficial for Kaurs who adopt the dastar. The paper concludes with a discussion of opportunities to leverage the data for individual and sangat (Sikh community) growth.