The Post-Racial Forms of Vaisakhi Celebrations in Metro Vancouver

Friday, 20 July 2018: 17:30
Oral Presentation
Bonar BUFFAM, University of British Columbia Okanagan, Canada
Metro Vancouver has become the site of two annual Vaisakhi celebrations that are held on consecutive weekends in April to commemorate the Punjabi harvest season and the founding of the Sikh Khalsa. In recent years, these celebrations have drawn upwards of 600 000 participants to the streets of Surrey and South Vancouver where people can join the parade, receive free food and drinks from the vendors, and watch the dance performances staged around the parade route. In this paper I draw on fieldwork undertaken at recent Vaisakhi celebrations to conceptualize the social and spatial forms of post-racialism that structure the political circumstances of Sikh and South populations in Metro Vancouver. This paper pays particular attention to the unique forms of territorial stigmatization that have remade Surrey into a post-racial suburb. Using Henri Lefebvre's method of 'rhythmanalysis', this paper considers how this transformation of place is evident in the spatial practices that recur during Vaisakhi celebrations, offering unique insights into the multiple routines that condition the intersection of race and space in contemporary cities.